“We’ve done a lot to structurally support this mandate of demystifying specialty coffee and making it more accessible and democratic.” Explained lead roaster at Dispatch Coffee, Christopher Rodgers. “My philosophy is not to tell someone that something is good but rather why it’s good and then they can kind of make their own relationship to it from there.”
It all comes down to a few things they’re trying to do at Dispatch:
“I think we’re all just trying to be really nice and share our knowledge.”
Be nice and share knowledge. These two simple themes have definitely resonated with their customers.
“I think what we’re really having a lot of success with is to just be the most approachable, transparent, friendly and communicative coffee professionals that we can be.”
Despite the fact that coffee is this incredibly complicated process, they’re not letting that complexity result in it being inaccessible for their customers.
“I think what has been missing in Montreal in the world of specialty coffee for the most part – and there are some great cafes that are doing this – just presenting the coffee as if it’s not magic. I think there are a lot of cafes that try to mystify the product to make it more special and try and get a leg up on the competition. I think there’s value in presenting the knowledge and the thought that goes into a cup of coffee and also presenting it with as little pretense as possible to invite every into the conversation”
When it comes to their roasting they’re also very focused on knowledge. This time it’s attempting to demystify the process for themselves. As coffee roasting in the manner of detail that is being done by 3rd wave, specialty coffee roasters is a fairly new way of approaching the roasting process, the knowledge for the practice isn’t widely available, or let alone fully figured out.
Each varietal, processing, sugar density, region and more affects the roasting. Then how long the green coffee has been stored? What was the temperature that it has been stored and what was the humidity? How long has the roaster has been warming up? All of these details play a role in how the coffee should be roasted.
“It’s not really an exact science yet and really what you are as a roaster is a good taster and you can organize data collection systems because there aren’t really any rules yet. So all you can do is try and create your own and to do so you just have to collect a bunch of data – like a lot of it – over 6 months and then you figure out ‘oh that’s what the tiny little thing does to acidity or sweetness’”.
Experiment. Taste. Analyze the data. Repeat. And it’s never ending for the team at Dispatch.
“I have something new every week or at least every month. I’m never resting on my laurels. There’s always something going on in terms of a project in the back of my mind."
"I think it’s just trying to learn more.”
Knowledge is power.