It feels like this roaster needs no introduction. Unless you have been living under a rock for the last little while, then by now you should know about LüNA. And if you have been living under a rock, I suggest crawling out from under it and getting your hands on some of the best coffee being roasted right now!
And because of the amazing work they are doing, I am so excited to feature LüNA as the May Coffee Roaster of the Month. My first connection with LüNA was last summer while I was out in Vancouver on holidays. I had heard about this upstart coffee company that was putting out coffee with some really hilarious product names (Disco Marmalade, Jelly Donut etc). What I was told was to not let the silly names fool me because what was inside of those bags was some of the choicest coffee on the market.
I reached out to LüNA and placed my order for some of their coffee. And I was very fortunate that they day I was planning my final trip downtown was the day they’d be out doing their deliveries. So we arranged to meet up and I simply followed them around for the afternoon as they dropped off coffee. It was great to chat with them and to get to hear a bit more of their story. These two are some of the most humble, passionate, and knowledgeable people in the coffee community. We made our way over to Aubade and grabbed some of their Lemon-Tea Daydream and Eldrich who even suggested combining it with some of his coconut milk, it was like a Piña Colada! So tasty!
This was my first time ever having coffee from LüNA but I knew it wouldn’t be my last. So with my bag of Jelly Donut in hand, I said goodbye to this amazing duo but knew I would get the chance to connect again
Fast forward to today, and I am still fortunate to keep in touch with Nate & Laura. So much so that I reached out to them last month when I was in Vancouver again to grab their latest offering–their first ever–naturally processed coffee properly called Blueberry Milkshake from the Nemba washing station in the Kayanza province in Burundi. This coffee blew my mind. It truly did deliver on the sweet blueberry notes, with a malty-sweetness reminiscent of those old-school milkshakes.
So as I was beginning to think of who I might feature for May as Coffee Roaster of the Month it didn’t take long to realize that LüNA was the obvious choice. I reached out to them to learn about about this dynamic duo, and to learn more to be able to share with all of you!
So introduce yourselves to our readers!
Nate: Hi, I’m Nate. I’m originally from Hamilton, and moved to Vancouver in 2006 to study Art. Not long after moving to Vancouver I discovered there was a couple unique coffee shops doing things differently and serving some exceptional coffee – I was already an avid coffee drinker but this completely changed everything for me. I got a barista job and really dove into brewing. That obsession left me with more questions, which lead to roasting, and well, now, Lüna.
Laura: I’m from Ottawa originally – and I moved out to Vancouver back in 2013 to work with 49th Parallel as their Green Coffee Buyer. I very happily held that position up until last year. Through my coffee career, I’ve always been drawn to the green coffee quality side and once made and sold enough french macaron to fund my flight to my first Cup of Excellence jury trip back in 2011 to Guatemala when I was working as a barista. I’m also a proud nerd for web stuff and other problem solving activities, happily creating and maintaining Lüna’s website. I enjoy really old memes and have a decidedly strange sense of humour. @nathanwpylestrangeplanet is my favourite instagram account right now.
Tell us a little bit about the history of LüNA!
We were both craving something that seemed lacking in our own burgeoning coffee scene, and thought if we wanted to see this type of coffee, this type of company, in our own community than we should probably make that happen. At the time we were both happily bringing home coffees we roasted and sourced at our workplaces, but found we were still wanting something more and would seek out international roasters, particular ones roasting in the “scandinavian style”. We could see that it wasn’t only us interested in these coffees but that they were being imported to cafes in Vancouver, and were quick to sell out. Our hope was to be able to be a local option for people who also liked these types of coffees, and to do so with a more fun and playful manner than much of specialty coffee has been in the past.
We’re both big fans of Coffee Collective and Koppi for various reasons. We resonate with the approach of working with the same producers year on year, committing to each other and growing together. It makes for a more stable business relationship for everyone. We’re also a fan of a roast style that is unapologetically light and with a focus on brightness and sweetness in coffee. Lüna began with late-night dreaming and constant conversation about what we would do if we were to do something of our own. Dusty at Agro generously agreed to let us roast while Nate was working for him and he even gave him the final push to actually start. We’ve been fortunate to be able to start our company by sharing a roaster which was really the only way we could have. Now we’ve been able to grow this little thing to the point where we’re able to get a roaster and humble space of our own.
Speaking of your own space, tell us about your new roastery!
We’re the proud new roaster parents of a Diedrich IR12 complete with a 6 sensor probe package. It’s a dream. We’ll be beginning the dial in process at the end of this month (April), and we should be fully up and running sometime in May if all goes well.
The roastery itself is a tiny yet mighty efficient 600 sqf space. To us, this is a palace lol. We’ve got high ceilings and room to spread our wings and grow into the next phase of our business. This space is going to be a production space first and foremost, without a customer facing component. That being said, the intention here is to make it our own and eventually host classes and workshops for our wholesale partners and for people who are keen to visit us. It’s a bit of a destination, but it’s a 25min drive from our home in East Van, so it’s a surprisingly lovely commute.
So speaking of coffee…what are you enjoying/drinking right now?
We’re just starting to dig into more of our arrivals from Huila, Colombia – Specifically a lot from a small producer named Drigelio Becerra. When we cupped this lot in Colombia back in November, we thought it was a strange yet highly enjoyable profile that reminded us of cola herbs and licorice – So we’re calling that one Candy Cola when it launches in about a week from us writing this. Apart from that Disco Marmalade is still vibrant as ever, and Jelly Donut is now the Oct/Nov harvest. It’s sweet and a staple in our house.
Tell the readers of thebloom.coffee about some of your recent accomplishments.
Building a roastery is our most game changing news obviously!
We’re getting 2019 Crop Ethiopia (Nano Challa) arriving to our roastery in a week! We’re launching that for May subscribers, then to everyone.
Relatively recently (end of 2018), we made it as a finalist in the Sprudgie Awards for best design/ packaging – Nate’s Art Degree from Emily Carr coming in for the assist
Your bag design is out of this world. Who’s the mastermind behind them? How do you come up with the hilarious names of each of your roasts?
They’re fun hey?
Laura and I work on them together. I have an arts background and have always admired movie posters, album art, and beer labelling. We thought it would be a great creative outlet and a unique approach to give each of our coffees a unique brand identity. It’s definitely a big under-taking, but has also been one of our main identifiers so it’s been worth the additional work.
The feeling of the label and the naming is always inspired by the taste of the coffee. We think that the most important aspect when choosing to buy a particular coffee over another is, “how does it taste?”, so we try to communicate that through visuals, naming, and lastly a description which includes tasting notes, origin and variety information that is more expected on coffee packaging.
Coming up with good names can be challenging, the idea is to be equal parts flavour and feeling and I think the most successful names do this well, and are more abstract than saying definitively, “it will taste exactly like this specific thing.“
Your site mentions your desire for full transparency with the coffee you buy, and its disruptive nature to the industry. Why is this so critical to you?
Our entire industry is in crisis. It’s decidedly uncomfortable to acknowledge the fact that heavy spikes in migration are the direct result of the coffee industry turning a blind eye to the plummeting commodity price of coffee – but that’s exactly what’s happening .
We’re well aware that we [Lüna] make up an imperceptible percentage of the coffee market – However, it’s also important to remind ourselves that it has to start somewhere. The only way we can see a sustainable change is by pressuring large corporations to spend more money on coffee. That means policy change and legislation.
That change must firstly be led by consumers, and the only way they can begin to demand things is by knowing what kinds of questions to ask. So when we publish information about the coffees we buy, it’s always respectfully and with consent, and with the intention to start building a framework where people can understand where their dollars go. It’s meant as a jumping off point for conversation.
It’s a huge topic and something we’re always happy to discuss with anyone who’s interested.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
We’ve said a lot! lol. How about we end with: If you’re reading this, make sure you have a delightful coffee ok? It’s important.
Vancouver Coffee Snob: Q&A session #17
Find their beans:*
Nemesis: 302 W Hastings Street, Vancouver
Birds and the Beets: 55 Powell Street, Vancouver
Aubade: 230 E Pender Street, Vancouver
* some of these cafe’s carry their beans on a rotating basis.
If you’re lucky to live in Saskatoon, you can get your LüNA fix from my buddy Daryl who runs Vector Coffee & at City Perks!
LüNA also has a number of other cafe’s across Canada & the USA that carry their beans. Check out their Instagram story for updated lists.
Wow. I cannot thank Laura & Nate enough for taking the time to chat with me and for sharing s much about LüNA and everything that is going on with them. It’s been a crazy busy past few weeks and It’s not hard to tell that great things are on the horizon for these two.
The only thing I wish, was that someone in Calgary carried their coffee for retail! But, if you want to get your hands on some of their delightful coffee, make sure to check out their web-store, and while you’re at it buy all the coffee!
Enjoy Delightful Coffee,