Serious Coffee started in Duncan, BC in 1994 and through several changes and a couple of moves over the years, our company has returned to Duncan where it once again calls home. The original roasting store was in Duncan and the first expansion outlet was in the Town & Country Mall in Victoria. We have now grown to include 16 locations on Vancouver Island and one in Powell River, all thanks to our wonderfully loyal customers.
We purchase our coffee beans from all over the world and accept only Arabica beans, which are the best quality available. We have expanded our selection to include organic, fairly-traded and Swiss Water Decaf options while ensuring that all our coffee choices are flavourful and roasted to perfection. Unlike some other coffee companies, we do not use flames to roast our coffee but rather use an air roaster, similar to a hot air popcorn popper. By choosing to air roast, we avoid the hazard of producing a bitter or burnt tasting coffee. Over and over again, dark coffee lovers tell us how much they appreciate being able to enjoy a dark roast without having to endure the bitter aftertaste that many coffees leave behind. To learn what bird-friendly and shade-grown means and the impact it has on our environment, click on About Us then Our Coffee.
Our claim of having the freshest coffee available is not simply a merchandising slogan but is the very philosophy by which we do business. We provide just-in-time roasting, which means we will only roast the coffee once one of our cafés has made an order with the coffee being delivered the very next day. We have two delivery trucks that bring our coffee and baked goods to our cafés, ensuring that there are no delays in the process from roasting plant to store.
We have also built our own bakery, located alongside our roasting plant in Duncan, which allows us to ensure the products being served at each of our stores, is fresh and made from the best ingredients.
The components creating our success is our dedication to always produce the best coffee possible, customer service that is second-to-none and remaining as we began, recognizing that without our customers, the rest would be pointless. This understanding has translated itself into our cafés being franchise-owned by people working and living in the same communities as they are located. Serious Coffee as a whole has made a deliberate effort to support those same communities in a variety of ways such as promotional products, fundraising opportunities, donations to various events, just to name a few. To learn more about our community involvement and how we can support your organization, click on Community Support.
Sourcing Our Beans
Serious Coffee buys beans from all over the world: Mexico, Kenya, Colombia, and Ecuador to name a few. The raw (green) beans are shipped to our roasting plant in Duncan. The beans are perfectly roasted and then taken directly to your local Serious Coffee just in time for you to get a great cup of coffee.
When judging coffee quality and taste, there are three basic components to consider: body, acidity, and flavour. 'Body' is the heavy thick feeling of the coffee as it is rolled on the tongue. Acidity is the brightness, sharpness, or tangy sensation on the tongue. Flavour is the full sensory explosion of aroma and taste. Dark Roasted coffee has lower levels of caffeine due to the roasting process. Remember, when brewing coffee, don't grind the beans too fine; water should not puddle in the coffee but have a smooth flow-through to avoid harsh and bitter tastes.
Shade-Grown and Bird-Friendly – What does this mean?
We also produce a full line of organic coffees, which are certified organic by the Organic Crop Improvement Association (O.C.I.A). These coffees come from such regions as Peru, Sumatra, Nicaragua, Timor, Mexico, and Guatemala. Besides offering organic coffee, all our beans are 100% Arabica and are shade-grown and bird-friendly.
Why is it important to use shade-grown, bird-friendly beans? There are many reasons to use these types of beans, even if they are more costly than other growing methods. The introduction of non-shade growing practices has moved the farmers from using their traditional (shade-growing) methods to “modern” ways of generating more beans. The problem is that this “modern” method causes farmers to rip down the rainforests disrupting not only the environment for humans but also destroys the habitat for a huge number of songbirds. The effect has been a steady reduction in the number of songbirds and that’s just the beginning.
The alternative is to continue to practice traditional shade-growing practices. By purchasing shade-grown coffee we encourage farmers to continue to farm in an environmentally responsible way while helping to ensure that they make a decent living.
Shade-Grown has many Positive Outcomes
Chemicals – Most often shade-grown coffee is grown organically. Non-shade grown coffee requires farmers to strip the rainforest destroying not only the habitat for hundreds of species but also uprooting the natural cycle for all, including the farmers themselves. To compensate, chemical sprays are heavily used with coffee and at levels only second to tobacco in the volume of chemical sprays used. These chemicals kill the soil and everything in it with the beans transporting those same chemicals into your pot of coffee.
Flavour – Shade-grown coffee takes longer to mature because of it’s placement under shade trees. This slow growth process allows more of the natural sugars to impart themselves into the bean enhancing the flavour of the coffee. Coffee contains over 400 chemicals important to the taste and aroma of the final drink.
Environment – Due to the shade trees above the coffee plants helping to retain soil moisture, provide protection from the scorching sun, and reduce soil erosion, little to no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides are used. In fact, as previously stated, most shade-grown coffee is grown organically.
Biodiversity – By using the natural canopy to help with all aspects of production, songbirds (over 150 bird species have been identified on shade coffee farms) and other animals are able to remain in their habitat. This facilitates biodiversity and sustainability not only for the wildlife but also for the people who require the sustenance found in the forest to live a healthy, happy life.
Habitat – The rainforest provides habitat for the songbirds which in turn work as insect control helping farms to reduce their costs by not having to use a chemical alternative.
The growers make a good living, have control over how much they sell their beans for, and you get great coffee. Now that’s a fair trade!
Everything involved in the growing process is according to the strict standards of The Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA International). The application of chemicals or artificial enhancements is not permitted at any time in the growing process with tracking systems in place to ensure that the beans remain organic right up to your cup.
What is Swiss Water Process® and why should I care?
All our decaffeinated coffee is decaffeinated using the Swiss Water Process®, which is approved for organic coffee and uses only water in the decaffeination method. It is an ecology-friendly water decaffeination process that uses simple science to remove caffeine from green coffee beans.
In North America, in order to label a product as decaffeinated, it must be 97% decaffeinated but we attain 99.9%. If you are sensitive to caffeine or simply don’t want it in your coffee, the Swiss Water Process® is the closest you can get to a 100% caffeine-free cup of joe.
Every decaffeination process uses water however, the only company that uses only water as their process is Swiss Water®. Swiss Water® uses water from the coastal mountains of British Columbia so unless you see Swiss Water Decaf, do not assume that only water is being used, they may also incorporate chemicals in their process.
The best part is that the health benefits, such as antioxidants, liver, and cardiovascular protection, just to name a couple, are still in the coffee! Because there aren’t any chemicals used the flavour isn’t altered. You still get the tantalizing aroma that you love with the rich, full-bodied cup of coffee you’ve come to expect.
By purchasing your coffee from Serious Coffee, not only will you experience the freshest and best quality coffee available, but along with it, you’ll have the satisfaction that comes with knowing that you are supporting the coffee farmer and other Islanders within your community.
How To Spot Freshly-Roasted Beans
It is easy to spot truly fresh beans; just look for a glossy appearance due to their oils still escaping from the beans. Contrary to most other products, seeing oil residue on your hands or in the bag is a good thing.
There are a couple of exceptions to the glossy bean rule:
Another indicator of fresh roasting is in the packaging. Freshly roasted beans emit gases if the bag in which whole beans are stored is heat sealed and does not have a valve it means that the beans have stopped off-gassing. If you receive a heat-sealed bag of Serious Coffee beans you’ll always see a valve, they’re that fresh. Look at your package of coffee, is it heat sealed requiring you to cut it open? Does it have a valve? If not, how long has it been since it was roasted and left to sit on the shelf?
How To Keep Your Beans At Their Peak
The fridge is not the place to store coffee in any form, ground or whole bean even if in an airtight container. It isn’t cold enough to keep your coffee fresh, and because coffee works as a deodorizer, it will absorb all the aromas in your fridge. This will definitely have a negative impact on the final taste of your cup of coffee.
It is always best not to store ground coffee.
Ideally, in order to ensure the freshest cup of coffee possible, do not store more than one week’s worth of beans at a time. This isn’t always practical, so if you know you will have beans for longer than that, you can store them in your freezer.
Here are a few things you need to do to keep your beans from becoming freezer-burned.
Most importantly, buy the best quality and freshest beans possible to ensure that you have a café-like experience at home. By purchasing the freshest beans you will have delectable scents, rich crema, and bright flavors waiting for you to enjoy … Seriously!