"In early 1999, JJ Bean “blended” with Torrefazione Coloiera House of Coffee, to add some Italian flair to our Vancouver roots. TC, as we affectionately called it, was started in 1971 by Giuseppe Coloiera and his wife Teresa as a small shop in the famed Commercial Drive neighbourhood. Torrefazione Coloiera was one of Vancouver’s first specialty coffee roasters and was instrumental in bringing true Italian coffee to Vancouver. Once we merged with Torrefazione Coloiera, we changed our operating name to “JJ Bean, House of Coffee.” At the time we merged, our method of blending coffee was to “blend after roast” but Coloiera was doing “blend before roast”. We followed their practice and now all of our coffees are blended prior to roasting.
Mary Ranieri was Giuseppe and Teresa’s daughter. We renovated the café on Commercial Drive, and after this most of the staff didn’t want to come back. However, Mary did stay, conditional on her being able to wear her purple smock. This was a small price to pay for us to keep someone that had exceptional customer service skills, especially in helping some members of the Italian community who had been loyal to her parents adjust to the merger and name change.
We then merged the Torrefazione Coloiera roastery in Richmond with our Powell Street roastery and we got the wonderful Manjit Biring, who had been working with TC since 1993. Manjit still works with us full time at Powell and she is our longest-serving employee. She has been a ‘mother’ to many generations of workers at Powell.” - John Neate Jr.
Read part 1 here