Roaster Spotlight

Seth Taylor Coffee by Design - Oakville, ON

Q&A with Seth Taylor

Starting a coffee roastery is no easy feat, but if you’re filled with knowledge, talent and passion it certainly helps make the long days of a new adventure a little easier. We wanted to hear more about the Seth Taylor story - how he got into coffee, what it’s like to start a new company and what he’s excited for in 2019!

Listen to our interview with Seth on our podcast Brewing it Over:

What’s your origin story? How’d you get into specialty coffee?

My career began in 2008, out west in Victoria, B.C. I was working a lot of odd jobs, and I also had a furniture-making company. My wife, Cara, was actually working in a little café that had a roaster. The café got sold, and the new owners played around with the roaster and started selling a few bags. Cara suggested that I go help them roast, and I was fascinated by the whole process. The company was sold once more and rented out the facility to what became Fernwood Coffee. I was their first and only employee in the roastery. I did everything: sales, deliveries, invoices.

We were bringing in all sorts of new coffees, and this is when I first came across a natural. It was all strawberries, and I couldn’t believe that these flavours and aromas came from a coffee. I slowly stopped with sugar and milk, and I started really tasting coffee. I was there for about three years, and we brought in another employee - who ended up winning the Canadian Barista Championship. I was one of his coaches/helpers when he did that.

That was my beginning. It was a competition, and I kind of just fell into it - and fell in love with coffee.

How has it been starting a coffee roastery? What has surprised you the most?

One thing I didn’t realize is how lonely it would be - meaning that everything is on me, from roasting, to having my name on the bags. Making the decisions is good too, and it can be freeing to pick the style of coffee you get to work with and develop real relationships with farmers and importers. It’s like a double-sided coin.

I have some coffee friends that I throw ideas to. My wife talks a lot about my coffee and business too. She’s my best friend, and I feel that her information is very valuable to me.

What are you most excited about for 2019?

I’m just really excited - and super scared - about getting out there. I need to push hard to get out there, and I need to push for some sales to not just put back into the company, but for myself as well. I’m stoked to get my coffee out there and see the reaction it can get.