Q&A Session 4: Groundswell Roasters

Q&A Session 4: Groundswell Roasters

Q&A Session 4: Groundswell Roasters

We’re really excited to bring you Q&A Session 4: Groundswell Roasters! I first got hold of a bag of their espresso roast in October of 2016 at a time that I’d just been inundated with freebie sample bags. The perks of being a snob I guess! Even with the selection of about 20 different coffee’s in my cupboard, I found myself going back to their beans over and over, brewing them all in a week. So it’s no surprise that I consider them to be one of the most interesting local roasters to enter the Vancouver coffee scene last year.

We decided to catch up with them for a Q&A to talk Colombia, home roasting and crepes!

Who are you and where are you from?

We’re Attie and Will, a husband/wife team from Australia. We moved to Vancouver in 2014 in search of adventure.

Tell us about Groundswell Roasters

Groundswell Roasters are a Vancouver based small batch coffee roaster. We are passionate about sourcing great beans from interesting regions and engage youth in the process. Proceeds from our business help fund programs to help youth to become their own social entrepreneur.

Tell us about the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had

Perhaps testament to our passion for coffee, travel and new experiences, we’ve been privileged to enjoy plenty of incredible coffees across Australia, Colombia, America, Canada and New Zealand. You never forget an amazing coffee but to choose one would be close to impossible. Perhaps the highlight would be a personal one when we were perfecting our espresso. After testing well over 40 combinations into the wee morning hours we were about to call it quits when we took a punt and hit jackpot. We both instantly knew we had found something we loved. When couples agree it’s always a big moment.

You just got back from Colombia, how was your trip?

<Attie> Wow, I’m surprised everyone isn’t sick of hearing about it? Put briefly, Colombia blew our mind.

<Will> It was more developed than we imagined, really very sophisticated in the coffee scene. We were lucky to meet some experts who were pioneering coffee farming and roasting techniques. It’s easy to forget that these countries have been doing this a long time. We also learned a lot about farming and milling first hand and how this impacts what we as roasters do further down the supply chain. There are plenty of risks as a roaster, but the risk to the farmer is so much greater. It’s always a humbling experience.

<Attie> On the dining front, it was so delightfully unpretentious. Every restaurant had an espresso machine and could produce a great espresso. The expectation was that every meal should come with great espresso – as it should!

Take us back any day.

Tell us about the social outreach programs you’re involved with at Groundswell

Proceeds from the sales of our coffee go towards Groundswell, a not-for-profit school that is pioneering how youth think about business. Their core program is to support start-up ventures that carry a social purpose, particularly with youth.

Our vision is that we’ll also be inspiring young people into careers in coffee. This is something we saw really work in Australia where coffee is considered a great career choice.

What’s your favorite coffee shop right now?

We’re both always chasing new experiences so are rarely at the same place twice! Our most visited in Vancouver would be Moving Coffee and Pallet.

Our latest find was 1914 – we discovered this gem in Squamish and he’s carrying Australian beans which is a nice (and rare) taste of home.

For those that are thinking of getting into home roasting, what are your beginner’s tips?

<Attie> Don’t stop reading and ask LOTS of questions! There are so many resources available. In fact, we almost found the amount on offer overwhelming and plenty of differing opinions and techniques. The best way to learn is to try these techniques yourself and judge for yourself. Don’t be put off by other differing perspectives.

<Will> We started roasting on a Huky 500, a great beginner roaster that offers a really authentic roasting experience. The only thing with a tiny machine is it’s hard to master. We were told if you could roast well and consistently on the Huky, roasting on a real machine would be fun, and it sure was.

<Attie> We’re so grateful for all the help we received when we started our roasting journey. We, like many roasters we know, would only be thrilled to reciprocate and offer any guidance we can to anyone starting out.

<Will> We’re always easily bribed with a beer.

What would you like to see improved in the Vancouver coffee scene?

<Attie> This one is a topic we talk about every time we’re out; warmer service! I like to see energy at the bar. Perhaps it’s the heavy espresso culture we’re used to in Australia where the pace is intense but the level of energy to me comes as much from passion and engagement.

<Will> More interaction. I want to know what the barista honestly feels about the beans. Like anyone, we could easily brew a good coffee at home, we’re out for the experience.

<Attie> Love what you do!

Groundswell Coffee

What is your favorite sweet snack to eat with coffee?

<Will> Croissant, especially dark chocolate.

<Attie> He’s also obsessed with crepes… The mess in the kitchen that follows is intense. For me, a chocolate brownie with an espresso, a warm blueberry muffin with my late morning macchiato.

If you could pick one person dead or alive, real or fictional, to have coffee with, who would it be and why?

<Will> The shepherd who discovered his dancing goats. Can you imagine talking him through the cup in front of you. From the sheer amount of mouths that coffee feeds to the billion dollar industry that those beans are today.

<Attie> Poor fella, he’d probably be rather overwhelmed! I shouldn’t also forget my Grandma, at 98 her biggest gripe is since being in a nursing home she can no longer have an espresso. She’d be smiling for a week.


Thanks to Groundswell Roasters for taking the time to talk to us, you can find them at www.groundswellroasters.com or at their Instagram page. Their beans are available to buy direct, or at several grocery stores and cafes around the city.