We have been featuring Detour Coffee Roasters since the early days of The Roasters Pack, but we never had a chance to really chat with them about how they got started. We chatted with Ryan McCabe, the Co-Director of Coffee, to learn more about Detour and what they are excited about in the specialty coffee world.

- How did Detour begin?

Detour started in 2009 in Dundas, Ontario. The founder, Kaelin McCowan, just fell in love with coffee, and it became his passion. For many people, coffee can be a side job or something you don't necessarily think you'll fall full into, but it becomes your passion, and Detour is about following that passion, following the good vibe and the fun aspects of coffee. 

I got involved in 2015; I was friends with the founder and had been going to barista competitions. I had been working at a roastery previously, but they were very focused on Fair Trade and organic. I just really loved Detour's model, and I wanted to source as directly as possible, so I joined the team in 2015 and have been here ever since.

For many of us, it's been a detour from our lives–hence our branding. However you find coffee you fall in love with because of the people and the industry itself. We love those vibes and try to keep them rolling. 

- How would you describe Detour’s model and green sourcing ethos?

We believe the best coffee is your favourite coffee. There is no right or wrong. For us, it's all about the people, the process and the relationships, the traceability and the quality of the coffee. Honestly, we do everything based on relationships. We buy based on people we have worked with before. If it's new people, we always try to be flexible. But relationships and traceability are our primary focus. 

- What's the story behind your coffee 'Bottle Neck'? How did it get its name?

This coffee is named, quite literally, after a raccoon who was stuck in a bottle. Detour had just opened its cafe in Dundas, Ontario, and one day the founder found a baby raccoon with its head stuck in a bottle. Of course, the whole cafe
stopped, and the owner rescued it. This was when Detour was starting and looking for names for coffees, and decided Bottle Neck worked because it sort of related to coffee rescuing you. A lot of us see coffee as a sort of escape throughout the day.

- What are you excited about in the specialty coffee industry right now?

I am most excited about how open the future feels. In the past, specialty coffee has felt really linear. But I feel like the community has a new breath and a new passion. People are more open to doing things differently or making it more consumer-friendly. I am very excited about that. That's where my passion lies, in thinking, 'How can we get more people interested in or excited by specialty coffee?' Rather than just catering to everyone who is already in it. The openness is exciting to me.

For us, it's a lot about trying different origins and marketing our coffees in different ways. We recently asked our customers to name our coffee and come up with the artwork. We want to do fun things like that that involve customer feedbackit's exciting.  


April 26, 2023 — Zara Snitman

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