A year ago on April 10th I published a feature on this blog called “Small Town Coffee Roasters.” Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be one of my highest read articles!
But the coffee world is often full of surprises and there was so much positive feedback and comments like “hey did you hear about this roaster and that roaster…” that a couple of weeks later I released a follow-up article. Fast forward another year and here I am writing the third instalment. Alberta continues to see a surge in small-town coffee roasters, and I for one, am ecstatic to be able to share four more of them in this piece!
And given the times we are in, any opportunity to highlight these small, independent roasters is something I am fully on-board with. Over this past year I have had the privilege of connecting with a number of new coffee roasters across the province and here are four that I am excited to share!
NRG Coffee Co.
Nestled along the shores of Beaver Lake, the hamlet of Ferintosh, AB is home to NRG Coffee Co. Located 102km south-east of Edmonton, Ferintosh is home to just 200 people! I reached out to NRG Coffee Co. to hear more of their story. NRG has been up and running since January 2019. Spend a couple of minutes on their website and you can tell they have some amazing coffees they’re currently offering. Their Kenyan looks particularly tasty, along with a creative idea offering their “Try Me” sample box which contains 4 x 100g bags.
Their coffee is roasted on a Garanti 5kg roaster with a few special modifications. NRG tells me they’ve already roasted over 1000kg of coffee in their first year of operation! You can purchase their coffee in 5lb, 12oz, and 100g sample size, bulk coffee. This family run business is the brainchild of husband & wife team Jonathan & Carolee Thiessen along with their three boys!
When I reached out to the to share what they love so much about specialty coffee they said “one thing we’ve loved the most is the great friendships we’ve made . Great coffee brings people together.” I don’t think I can say it any better. Their dream is to provide their customers great coffee that brings positivity to their life…igniting brilliant ideas just waiting to give eNeRGy! Now you know where the name comes from.
Check out all their contact info below.
Illuminate Coffee Roasters
This next coffee roaster is the first of two of our features on this blog from Stettler, AB. Stettler is a town in east-central Alberta, located approximately 80 km east of Red Deer. It is home to just shy of 6,000 people! Illuminate Coffee Roasters has been up and running since 2012 when Travis Unruh started roasting coffee beans on a hot air popcorn popper he picked up at a garage sale. After about a year and a half he upgraded to a Behmor 1600 Plus and then in 2017 Illuminate seriously upped their roasting game, and bought an Artisan 6M fluid roaster!
Perhaps for some of my readers this might be a very different looking roaster than what you’re used to. Essentially a fluid roaster continuously levitates the beans by a fluid bed of hot air, thus ensuring the chaff is instantly whisked up and away by the exhaust fans as soon as it separates form the beans. This method is considered to be one of the cleanest ways to roast coffee.. #themoreyouknow!
Illuminate is a family run business, with Travis handling the roasting, his wife Pollyanna helps with the packaging and marketing. Their family is complete with a toddler who already begs for sips of coffee and a Welsh corgi who loves her (coffee-free) cappuccinos.
Illuminate tells me they are currently enjoying drinking their Colombia Santander, grown by the Wandurraga family and Vasquez Brothers farms as espresso. For pour-over brew their natural processed Ethiopia Guji is exceptionally fruity and exotic.
While they currently don’t have a website (they tell me its in the works) they are currently accepting orders through Instagram & Facebook. Connect with them below.
Transformed Coffee Co.
The second of our two coffee roasters from Stettler, AB. Stettler is Transformed Coffee Co. For a town of 6,000 it’s pretty amazing to see two specialty coffee roasters having popped up in the same town in last little while.
Transformed has been up and running since January 2020. Their first retail bags were roasted on February 29th, and their site went live in March. so this makes Transformed one of Alberta’s newest coffee roasters. I spoke with Keely Ennis (Founder & Roaster at Transformed) who admitted that launching a new business in March of 2020 certainly came with its own set of hurdles. Having left a successful 13 year career in the construction industry to pursue coffee this experience has been anything short of a challenge. But Keely says that the whole journey into coffee roasting is the result of a dream she had one night complete with a picture of the logo and everything. So she started researching roasting coffee, went out to Vancouver and took some training and then came back and waited and prayed. The rest they say, is history.
Their coffee is roasted on a hot-pink coloured 12kg Dongyi Yangshan roaster located in a 12×24 roasting shack on their acreage. As you can tell from the image above it’s quite the eye catching colour. Transformed Coffee is not only committed to roasting good coffee, they are committed to doing good in their community as well. 10% of the purchase price of their product goes directly to spread love in our community, our country and our world.
Keely says she’s currently enjoying drinking a honey-processed Honduran and I gotta agree with her that honey-processed coffees are certainly a great way to go. They’ve got a promo right now offering 10% off their coffee with promo-code BELOVED. To learn more about Transformed check out their info below.
High Seas Coffee Co.
Our final small-town coffee roaster may be familiar to some of you who have been reading this blog since its early days. High Seas Coffee Co. is located in the village of Linden, AB which is 28km south-west of Three Hills. Having a population of just shy of 1,000, High Seas Coffee Co. serves a lot of coffee to this small population…and it’s clear the people LOVE it.
I had the chance back in October 2018 and wrote a full-length piece about them here. But a lot has changed for them, and in the coffee landscape since my visit and I wanted to ensure they were featured in this article as well.
High Seas Coffee Co. is family owned and operated. Their coffee is roasted on their family farm just a half-mile from town on a Dietrich roaster. Travis, who married into the family I am told handles this side of the coffee operation. Their cafe opened in 2016 and strives to make specialty coffee approachable in a small town where words like “third-wave” and “cupping” might not be a part of the vernacular as they would in a more urban centre. Krista and her team manage and operate the cafe.
There is no question that High Seas Coffee Co. acts like the town hub, and the team has created an incredible space where everyone who walks through their doors is known and welcomed. This is a place you definitely want to visit when it works to do so again. I loved my visit there and can’t wait for the day when I can get back again.
So there you have it! Four more great small-town coffee roasters you should definitely check out whenever we’re allowed to explore this beautiful province again!
In the meantime, make sure to give these roasters some love by following them of social media, and I highly recommend checking out their sites to buy their coffee and learn more about them.