Our Roasting Philosophy
Coffee roasting is like alchemy. The inherent qualities of coffee remain locked and hidden in the little green seeds until they are released by fire, to shine in all their resplendent origin-expressing glory. Once the coffee is lovingly and carefully roasted, it starts to de-gas, emitting CO2 for a period of about 10 days. When the coffee stops degassing, it is no longer fresh.
Many roasters try to extend the lifespan of their coffee using methods like vacuum sealing and nitro-flushing, but preserved coffee never tastes quite as good as freshly roasted coffee. Our strategy is to roast our coffee in small batches, five days a week, so that all of the coffee we sell is within a few days of roasting. We also mark the roast date on all of our coffee bags, so you'll know exactly how fresh the coffee is.
We are very attached to our East Van micro-roastery. The darlings of the warehouse (other than Manjit, of course) are a couple of old school cast-iron Probat drum roasters. Even as our volume increases we prefer to use smaller roasters, since it forces us to roast more frequently. The two Powell Street roasters have a 90 kg and 22 kg capacity, and we roast our samples on a vintage Jabez-Burns four-barrel roaster in the middle of our Commercial Drive café.
Honouring the Journey
Relatively few people in North America have any knowledge about where or how coffee is made. It is easy to think of coffee as simply a tasty drink made from ground "beans". However, there is much more to coffee than that, and we wouldn't even have those beans (which are actually the seeds of coffee cherries) if it were not for the hard work of farmers and workers on coffee farms around the world, as well as the tasters, roasters, and baristas who transform the green beans into the drink we know as coffee. At JJ Bean, we wish to honour the entire "journey of coffee", from crop to cup, as well as the many people who work tirelessly to bring us that coffee.
The coffee farm photos in the following video were taken in early 2011, when members of the JJ Bean team travelled to Guatemala to visit several of the farms that produce our coffee.