Beachcomber Coffee: Local roaster wants to redefine the coffee experience

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Coffee enthusiast Martin DesRosiers is heating things up in the local coffee scene with the launch of his small-batch roasted bean business, Beachcomber Coffee.

DesRosiers says he’s noticed a gap in the local coffee bean market, based on what he’s seen on grocery store shelves. “I felt there was something missing,” explains DesRosiers. “The standard major brands use the same kind of roaster, but few do a good job of articulating where the beans came from, what type of beans they’re using, or how old those beans are.”

Armed with many years of soaking up Vancouver-area cafe and coffee drinking culture, reading volumes on the story of coffee, tasting different coffees, DeRosiers says he felt ready to start his coffee business venture.

Much like wine or beer drinkers quickly dismiss the oversimplified notions that all wines or beers, respectively, are on par, DesRosiers points out what he calls a disconnect among many coffee consumers. “People are taking coffee for granted,” elaborates DesRoisers. “All coffee is not created equal.”

This is where his North Vancouver-based Beachcomber Coffee comes in. DesRosiers perfected his sole product over several months: a blend of three organic shade-grown arabica beans from Guatemala, Brazil, and Costa Rica, air roasted using a revolutionary electric hybrid roaster. Perfectly suited the eco-conscious Vancouver consumer landscape, DesRosiers notes that this unique method and equipment nets 20 times less emissions versus traditional roasters. With the hot air surrounding the beans, DesRosiers says the end result is noticeably different from other coffees.

On the shelf, DesRosiers leaned on his professional marketing background to create visually attractive packaging that used an “infographic” style to tell the story of the beans and what flavours a brewed cup will yield.

DesRosiers grew up on the Sunshine Coast, where the television show “The Beachcombers” was set and filmed, which is from where he drew inspiration for the coffee’s name. “I wanted to tap into my roots,” remarks DesRosiers.

Those roots are why Beachcomber’s first foray into the market has happened on the Sunshine Coast, but is now radiating southward in both cafes and stores, making the coffee available by the bag or cup. DesRosiers says right now Beachcomber is in its first phase of availability, but he hopes to soon have it available at more Vancouver coffee houses whose focus is on craft coffee. He’s also selling it to offices and other businesses for employees to enjoy while on the job.

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A photo posted by Beachcomber Coffee Co. (@beachcombercoffee) on

Though Beachcomber is for sale at stores, DesRosiers emphasizes it’s not a “fast food coffee,” but a very local small-batch roaster. He roasts every batch by hand. “A lot of love goes into each bag,” DesRosiers says.

Though he only has the one kind of coffee available, DesRosiers says this is to both ensure his sole product is the best it can be in every bag and because the coffee is very versatile and can be brewed using a variety of methods, from espresso-style or in drip brew methods.

For DesRosiers, his longtime passion for coffee is shifting into the next phase of his career; he hopes to eventually open a coffee shop at some point. His passion for roasting, brewing, and drinking coffee is also something he hopes to pass on to his customers, who he urges to discover the difference between what Beachcomber offers versus other store brands.

“It’s about redefining the coffee experience,” says DesRosiers. “It’s about the smell…drinking that first cup of coffee in the morning. I challenge anyone to get a can of pre-ground coffee, then open a bag of Beachcomber beans and smell them both.” Beachcomber is a near-dark (“dusk”) roast, and has the flavour profiles of caramel apple, toasted almond, and smooth chocolate. (It scored a 91/100 on the site CoffeeReview.com.)

Ultimately, though, DesRosiers is focused on the enjoyment factor, not only for his customers, but also for himself. “I just want to have fun with it and create something that I want to drink.”

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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