"The words I use to describe it are sweet, berry, rich & full. The berry is like a dark cherry strawberry. It's a bizzare berry."
35 minutes north west of Whitehorse, sits Bean North Coffee Roasting on a 5km plot of agricultural property. They have a natural hot springs bordering on the left and behind is a wildlife reserve that elk, bears and foxes call their home. This independent roaster is owned by Michael King & his wife, Helen Voogd, whom both didn’t grow up in the Yukon but were sucked into the paradise of endless forests, canoeing and mountains (Michael expressed his serious disappointment with the balmy weather they’re getting this winter which is killing the skiing season). They live next to the roaster and consider it their life’s work, describing their roaster as a challenge and an oddity in the coffee roasting industry.
Oddity may be an understatement because of their location, but their coffee and roasting knowledge is far from peculiar. Michael is an engineer by trade, and before starting this coffee roaster in 1997, he was a soil expert with his engineering company. Now his fascination with plants and the way they grow benefits not only the exotic plants he has on the land surrounding the roaster (which have no business being in Yukon), but benefits the farmers he buys coffee from. He visits their growing partners quite regularly, and they swap tips with each other. Some of his DIY greenhouse buildings have helped Peruvian farmers dry the coffee easier and helped save their finances as well, which he describes as one of the most exciting parts of his venture. This one example is not an anomaly; Michael is very committed to creating relationships that help reduce the struggle that coffee farmers experience.
Roasting the coffee is something he takes incredibly seriously. He even stated that he’s perfected the ability to create a consistent roast – the aim of all roasters. The reason he’s so adamant about roasting correctly is the desire to put the farmers’ beans best foot forward. He knows the effort required to grow these beans and wants the beverage to shine for whoever drinks it.