Where can I buy your coffee?
Our coffee can be purchased at every major grocery store across Canada, including Sobey’s, Safeway, Save on Foods, IGA, Loblaws, Nesters Markets, Great Canadian Superstore, Avril, Metro, Les Marches Tau and Avril. You can also find us at many natural food stores including Choices, Whole Foods, Ambrosia, Big Carrot and Noah’s. For more details on where to buy our coffee, please visit the where to buy section in our website.
Are your bags compostable/recyclable?
Yes! But only in BC for now. Recycle BC has launched a pilot program to begin recycling other flexible plastic packaging, which includes coffee bags—finally!
Learn more about it at Recycle BC.
Over the years we’ve experimented with a number upcycling projects, and are always on the lookout for creative ways to use our high barrier coffee bags. We’re always on the hunt for suitable, sustainable coffee packaging.
Sourcing sustainable packaging is tricky. Oxygen speeds up coffee degradation, so it’s important to properly store coffee beans once they are freshly roasted. We and countless other roasters use high barrier bags to package coffee that currently cannot be recycled. High barrier bags include a valve that lets off-gas nitrogen out and keeps oxygen from getting in. The coffee bean is the seed of a fruit – and, as is the case with fruit – it can spoil quickly unless it’s preserved and stored properly.
We’ve continued to research cellulose-based bags that biodegrade after use. This technology is becoming more widely available and we are optimistic that this might be an area where we find a viable solution. Our testing has shown that the product does not break down effectively unless it’s put through an intensive industrial composting process. And in many municipalities industrial composting is not easy to access, or even available.
Our team keeps close tabs on developments in the field of sustainable packaging with the intent to adopt suitable, sustainable coffee packaging as soon as packaging technology improves and it’s commercially available.
What certifications do you have?
Certified Organic by PACS (Pacific Agricultural Community Society)
All beans are 100% organic and meet the COR (Canada Organic Regime). Organic certification ensures that generally accepted organic management systems are practiced not only by growers, but by all the people and enterprises that handle and process organic food on its journey to the final consumer. To facilitate this, PACS provides a system that combines strict production standards, verifiable third party inspections, and legally binding contracts protecting producers and buyers of organic products.
Certified Fair Trade: Fair for Life
Fair for Life goes beyond traditional fair trade by applying fair trade principles also to relevant domestic or regional trade and by requiring ethical working conditions along the entire trade chain. Certified products are only handled by companies that demonstrate decent working conditions for all their staff. Fair for Life brand holder companies commit to fair sourcing practices and responsibilities towards their primary producers down the commodity chain. Traceability from production to sales is also confirmed.
● We have one coffee supplier who is not fair trade certified - Byron Corrales - but we still pay fair trade premium and we have a direct relationship with them
Fair to Farmer
SSC works directly with small certified organic farmers and co-ops through a program we pioneered - Fair to Farmer. This program combines Fair for Life certification and direct relationships to relevant domestic or regional trade in addition to requiring ethical working conditions along the entire trade chain. We pay above the fair trade price to secure high quality organic coffee, and as part of our 1% for the Planet program we fund coffee origin projects and farming projects within Canada.
● Our Metta Espresso is not Fair for Life certified because one of the components comes from a farmer in Nicaragua (Byron Corrales) who we have a long-standing relationship with them
With the help of Climate Smart we measure our carbon footprint, work to reduce emissions, and complete projects that help reduce carbon in the communities in which we work.
B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. By voluntarily meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance a certified B Corp
distinguishes itself in a cluttered marketplace by offering a positive vision of a better way to do business. It is the goal of B Corps to create higher quality jobs, improve the quality of life in communities, and be agents of change. Over 2000 companies have become B Corps and Salt Spring Coffee received the “Best for Environment Overall” in 2017 for the effectiveness of our sustainability programs and our commitment to the environment.
Is your coffee shade grown or bird friendly?
It is not a requirement that our suppliers be bird friendly certified, but the farmers and co-ops we partner with use shade within their organic growing programs.
The certification industry is challenging to navigate, especially for small-scale farming operations, and with many certifications being expensive, bureaucratic and operationally-complex it is difficult for smaller farmers and co-ops to afford the administrative and time and costs required to be certified.
What is the best before date? How do I know when your coffee is roasted?
The best before date is widely considered within the food and beverage industry as a health and safety management tool. While very old coffee won’t make you sick, it will also not taste its best. We use the Best Before date as an inventory management tool to ensure that our coffee on the grocery shelves is removed once it is past this date as the final taste will not be at its best.
We do have a roast date, otherwise known as the Julian Date, which appears on the base of the bag as a 3-5 digit number (sometimes followed by an X) which indicates the date of the year that the coffee was roasted on ie. 015X = January 15th
What process do you use to decaffeinate your coffee? What is the caffeine content?
We are happy to work with our partners Swiss Water in Burnaby who use a method that does not use chemicals at any stage. The process begins by immersing green coffee beans in hot water which will dissolve and extract the caffeine. The water is
then drawn off and passed through an activated charcoal filter, the porosity of the filter is sized to capture larger caffeine molecules while allowing the smaller oil and flavour molecules to pass through. This entire process typically removes 99.9% of the caffeine.
The common belief is that the majority of decaf coffee does contain some levels of caffeine, and regulations put forth by the FDA specify that 97% of the original caffeine must be removed from the beans.
I have an allergy, does your coffee contain nuts/dairy/chocolate/gluten?
There are no dairy, gluten, nut, or chocolate products added to our coffee and our production facility does not use these types of materials in any way.
The use of food-related tasting notes as descriptors on packaging is to connect known foods/tastes with the final coffee product, there are no additives in our coffee. These descriptors are pulled from the green bean (farm/season/harvest/region) and our roasting process (time/temperature/1st and 2nd crack)
Does your coffee contain mycotoxins?
No coffee can be guaranteed mycotoxin free. However, there are a number of processes along the coffee production pipeline which significantly lower the possibility of the occurrence of these fungus by-products. The most effective post-harvest method of preventing mould formation and ochratoxin formation in coffee is to ensure a safe moisture content level as quickly as possible and prevent re-wetting. The current recommendation for moisture content in green bean coffee is a maximum of 12.5% which is consistent with the prevention of growth of mycotoxin producers. As part of SSC’s food safety plan we have identified the receiving and approval of a new lot as a critical control point. All new lots received have their moisture levels checked and samples are sent to an accredited lab for testing.
Which coffee has the lowest acidity?
Acidity levels are affected by the region the coffee is grown and the roast level. Our Sumatra is a single-origin coffee with a naturally lower acidity and darker roast profile.
I would love to try your coffee, do you have any coupons?
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The Metta Espresso beans have a lighter look than what I was expecting, is this normal?
Typically espresso roasts are dark roasts with low acidity, but SSC has roasted its Metta Espresso so that it does not reach second crack, this results in more oil remaining within the bean thus causing it to be lighter and less oilier than darker roasts. As a result, our Metta Espresso is closer to a medium-dark roast and has a brighter, chocolate and citrus flavour.
Where do you source your coffee beans?
We source our coffee from Latin America, Africa, and Sumatra. We have two single-origin coffees, our Peru and Sumatra, and the rest are blends. The components of the blends can vary with the seasonality of the coffee crop.
Do you ship overseas?
At this time we only ship to Canada and the continental United States. Please see our shipping policy on our website
Does your coffee contain acrylamide? How much acrylamide is in your coffee?
Yes, all coffee contains trace amounts of acrylamide. However, these levels are almost undetectable in brewed coffee. The FDA has made the following claims:
- Robusta has higher acrylamide than Arabica
- Darker roasts typically have lower levels because the acrylamide
formed during the early stage of Maillard Reaction break down
For more information check out this Daily Coffee News article and the FDA guide for acrylamide in food