Co-Roasting at CRS
The Canadian roasting society came about when my buddy Andy, who has also had the bright idea to open Tunnel espresso (In the walking tunnel between Place Ville Marie & Eaton Centre), decided it was time to team up with coffee guru Scott Rao & do something big. Really big.
During the summer & fall of 2018 I was back and forth to the “soon-to-be” roastery...even when I had walked into the space without a real floor, with nothing in it but a ladder and a shop-vac...I knew. Andy says, “Whaddya think?”
I am blessed & cursed with too much vision. It can greatly hurt your focus & ultimately stunt your success, if not, make you an assured lifetime failure, but in that moment, I saw what would come to be. “Dude, it’s gonna be crazy good”, I said.
I had no idea.
We had been driving back and forth between Quebec & Montreal every single week. It was a disaster. So much time wasted by travel to work out of a tiny space that had no temperature stability & roasting on a diedrich which I can’t even tell you how much aggravation that entailed. All in all, to start this tiny company, there were so many obstacles, much like my first real business, that I honestly thought it may end up succumbing to the same fate.
Thankfully things had fallen into place so serendipitously with my bumping into Andy & moving to Saint Henri, all within a year, it was the stone skipping across the water that we all need from time to time.
Before roasting anything at CRS, Scott was diligent enough to be like, “You all don’t know what you’re doing so let me enlighten your green AF asses so you don’t burn this place to the ground”. Which was pretty fair when I look back on it. These were new Probats & we weren’t as sharp as we could have been to start roasting on those things. Essentially, we will never know enough & we can always get better, but that’s another post.
To be frank, at first, knowing all of Scotts material, I was anticipating so much information to take in that I would become too overwhelmed to retain anything. Even if you read the Roasters Companion, having “hands on” training with Scott is definitely a game changer. It made me think about how much I was missing in my roasting repertoire, how much was still out there to discover & learn. It definitely lit a fire in me I hadn’t felt in a long time.
I’ll talk more about roasting but I’m going to try & focus on the story at hand.
That day it was cool & sunny outside. I feel like everyone was packing into CRS & the place was starting to feel like a little...well, society. By everyone, I mean all the roasters that I share the space with on a daily basis. There are now a dozen of us all working out of the warehouse. In the beginning, it was weird I think for some of us to be all within a space like that but, slowly we shared resources, the bagger, the jigger, the ladder, etc. We planned our weeks & started cupping all together or sometimes just asking people to jump into a cupping we were doing. We started understanding how powerful being all together was. Sharing opinions, having objectivity around your product on a daily basis & seeing each other progress & inch closer & closer to being outstanding roasters. It’s all inspiring & all of it would have been impossible without CRS. Thank God someone put it all together & thank God there was insurance that time the power went out & we almost had a fire inside one of the roasters.
We’ll get to that another time. Maybe a fire safety post.