Seven Summits Coffee Co.
Thomas Barrie is passionate about a good cup of coffee. But that doesn’t start, or even end, with the brew. It starts with the farmer who harvests the beans. It continues with the roasting of those beans. But that perfect cup of coffee is finally achieved when you can enjoy it in the landscape we are so lucky to have here in our Kootenay backyard.
First of all, what do you make?
At Seven Summits Coffee Company we source and roast organic, fair trade, premium Arabica coffee beans. We sell our small-batch, locally- and freshly-roasted coffee in whole bean format. Additionally, we use our beans to create a smooth and refreshing cold-brew coffee which is seasonally available on tap in the cafe at the Kootenay Co-op. Our portfolio also includes kooTEnAy (Kootenay Tea), premium organic teas available loose or bagged.
How would you describe your operation?
We take pride in producing a high-quality, ethically-sourced product that is always freshly roasted and always packaged immediately after roasting. Our top-of-the-line packaging is fitted with a de-gassing valve and is heat sealed to ensure the best possible coffee experience for our customers. We source from coffee importers who focus on fostering long-term sustainable partnerships with producers and co-ops. As a local business, we love hearing from our customers. And as a responsible business, we are dedicated to following sustainable business practices.
How long have you been in business?
We started our company in 2010 when we fulfilled a longtime dream by purchasing a 5 kg roaster and began experimenting with different roasts, blends and beans originating from around the world.
What motivated you to start roasting coffee?
We just wanted to share our passion for great coffee with the Kootenays. Our greatest joy is interacting with our customers on demo days, seeing the joy on their faces from tasting a simple cup of good coffee.
What are some of your greatest joys?
Our greatest joy is interacting with our customers on demo days, seeing the joy on their faces from tasting a simple cup of good coffee and hearing their feedback about our product. When it comes to the coffee itself, our satisfaction comes largely from recognizing those who came before us in the coffee chain. A lot of hard work has been put into each sack of beans that we receive, and we take great pride in turning those beans into a quality coffee for the people of the Kootenays.
What is your vision for your local coffee company?
Our next vision is to increase quantity to a point where we can visit and have direct partnerships with our growers. We have recently, however, taken steps toward achieving a more immediate goal. We have acquired and are currently outfitting a building in Rossland, where we will soon be opening a coffee roastery and tasting bar! The space will be akin to a boutique cellar door experience, where customers can tour the roastery, observe the coffee roasting process, interact with the roaster in a cupping session, and sample coffees and teas of varied origin and brew methods.
Why is local food important to you?
At Seven Summits, we believe it’s important to contribute to the local economy. We have such a wonderful little slice of heaven here in the Kootenays… We truly enjoy seeing the area thriving with organic farms, craft breweries and all kinds of specialty food products. The more we support each other, the more our region benefits.
If you could deliver a message directly to Co-op members/customers, what would it be?
Seven Summits values the Kootenay Co-op because it’s filled with people who care about where their food comes from. We feel lucky to have a local outlet to sell our coffee, especially one that places the same importance on local, organic and fairly traded foods as we do. When we visit the Co-op, we feel welcomed as part of a special community of people who share our concern for a healthy lifestyle and sustainable business practices. We appreciate the Co-op’s commitment to supporting local suppliers and we are proud to be on the shelves of such a unique member-run establishment.