Anchored Coffee - The Interview

Honestly, I build a relationship with all the coffees we bring in. There is so much time spent with each coffee, they almost become a part of our family for a bit.

Anchored Coffee comes from the quiet but beautiful Canadian east coast. Their packaging (I'm a sucker for anchors) and the great taste of an espresso served with their beans piqued my curiosity.

As much as I love coffee, I've never had the chance to chat with someone who actually roasts beans. Thankfully, they weren't too hard to get a hold of. 

Hey guys! Thanks for doing this. How did you guys start out? 

No worries man. We started from a lot of hard work and from fearlessly sampling people and honing in the craft of roasting. My business partner (Zane Kelsall) has been in the coffee game forever, both operating and owning cafes. For him, it was all about gaining ultimate control from the beginning of the process all the way through to the end. That was the road if we wanted in order to get the quality of coffee we aspired to make.

Personally, I (Dean) came from a craft beer sales background. Today, I love connecting with people and getting people fired up on Anchored.

We have a really great balance of technicality and fun. We want to be approachable, roast the best ethically sourced coffees and have fun throughout the entire process

What is the best music for drinking coffee? 

That depends on who you are I reckon. And maybe what time of day you're having your cuppa. We listen to a lot of rap at the roastery. I think each cup of coffee is pretty situational in terms of enjoyment. Sometimes it might be rap, sometimes it might be metal. Maybe some smooth Jazz with a sweet Cappucino!  

What’s the best thing about Nova Scotia?

It’s a relatively small province with a small population, which leads to a really strong sense of community and pride in where we live. That, and the accessibility to some of the most beautiful natural surroundings I have ever seen! And the houses are affordable. Ha!

Anchored Coffee

How long did it take for you to get from roasting personally to roasting as a business?

We jumped right in! There was no home roasting. We got funded, we did the research and we hit the ground running.

What’s the biggest challenge faced when roasting beans all year long?

Sourcing directly and in season has it challenges. We always want to have a diverse menu with a variety of coffee for everyone’s wants and desires, from big juice bombs to very mellow chocolate forward coffees. There is a time and a place for so many different coffees in the spectrum!

What is your preferred brewing method?

We love our straight up black filter coffee around these parts. We use Fetco brewers in our cafes and love the coffee they produce. So consistent. So delicious.

If im alone I do a V60 pour over and if I have a crew around I have a little 4 cup Bonavita brewer. The thing is deadly!

Anchored Coffee we're proud of

Your website declares: “We roast coffee we’re proud off.” Can you elaborate?

It’s just that. We go through great lengths to source amazing coffee, set roast profiles that highlight the intricacies of each coffee and get it to our people with a positive vibe. We’re proud of that.

Can you explain, briefly, how the direct trade model works? 

We purchase all of our coffee as transparently and directly as possible. We buy our coffee through a farm-gate structure. Buying our coffee this way takes hard work, diligence and committing to visiting producers at origin to build and foster lasting relationships.

The price/lb we pay for our coffee is directly linked to the quality of the coffee.

The purchasing process goes like this: individual samples are taken from pre-harvest lots. These samples are scored at origin and shipped to us to score at home. The combined scores dictate the price of the green coffee. This method of pricing and purchasing green coffee not only creates incentives for farmers to grow quality coffee, but also encourages the relationship between roasters and farmers.

Visiting the farms that we work with not only gives us an idea of the land an individual lot is grown on, but it also allows us to see the infrastructure used to wash and process the coffee. We also get to observe the farmer's vibe; good energy goes along way! All of these factors are extremely important in producing the highest quality coffee possible.

two if by sea

Has there been a coffee that you've preferred in the past six months?

Honestly, I build a relationship with all the coffees we bring in. There is so much time spent with each coffee, they almost become a part of our family for a bit. I would have the say our Ethiopian Guji always lingers with my palette as a favourite.

What roasting equipment do you use?

We roast on a 12Kilo Probat. It’s a time tested, no bells and whistles roaster. Its a work horse and does an amazing job. Sometimes less is more when it comes to this stuff. We do roast using cropster (roast software) this allows us to better set profiles and execute them during the production process. Each bag has a batch number and roast date. For us, being accountable for our product is super important. And having a history of each roast done gives us just this. Accountability and confidence when selling our coffee.

Robin the roaster anchored coffee

What is the biggest challenge faced by coffee roasters?

Educating people on what it takes to do quality coffee is a fair way. There is so much bullshit ourtthere. If a coffee is cheap, it's cheap for a reason. That means someone is either getting screwed or its just a terrible product to begin with.

What resource would you recommend to some who would like to learn about coffee?

There are lots of great books out there. I recommend Scott Rao’s books. Easy to digest and super informative. Also just pop into your local roaster and start firing off questions!

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. Where can people learn more about you?

Check us on Instagram. @anchoredcoffee

Picture attribution from first to last: @jaybird99, @ponyboybrosnan, @twoifbyseacafe


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