Salt Spring Coffee and kids…gotta have the hot chocolate

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Here on Salt Spring we love our kids.  Not just our own kids, but everybody’s kids.   If a child falls in the park, several grownups will come to his/her aid…not just the parents.  So is it any wonder that our stores and business have, in general, a very kid-friendly atmosphere?
 
Salt Spring Coffee (aka Roasters which is how I refer to it) is absolutely no different.  I’ve lived on Salt Spring for almost 5 and a half years now, and Roasters has always had a little kids table with books and toys–thus letting the parents enjoy their coffee and sweets in, relative, peace.  Then there are the kid drinks.  All the kid drinks are $2.  That’s it, $2.  The best one by far is Blog Ads by Chitikathe hot chocolate.  This isn’t like the powdered stuff from the can, or even Hershey’s syrup, it’s really good, creamy, chocolatety hot chocolate.  The picture at the left says a lot, but doesn’t tell the whole story by far.
 
First, there is a high stool where the baristas are so the kids can watch their cocoa being made.  Then it’s topped with chocolate whipped cream,–real whipped cream–rainbow sprinkles, and best of all a gummi worm.
 
15178142_fda7c07636.jpg?v=0My son was offered the chance to put his gummi worm on his cocoa himself, but he ate it.  So the barista put another on top.  That’s cool.  This still isn’t the best part.  The best part is that the cocoa is served at kid drinkable temperature.  My kids–ages 3 and 7 and a half–could start sipping right away.  No burned tongues, lips, or mouths.  I mentioned this to Mickey McLeod this morning while getting the second tour of the roasting facility.  He said, “Well, we have a daughter…”  Exactly.  Parents neither want to see their kids getting scalded, nor is it fun having to say, no wait you can’t drink that yet.
 
So the next time you’re visiting Salt Spring Island, swing down McPhillips Ave and stop into Roasters for a cup–I’m now getting addicted to the Canadiano myself–and yes, grownups can get the cocoa too even with the gummi worm.
 
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Tris Hussey is a professional blogger, the Chief Blogging Officer for Qumana Software, and Managing Director of Qumana Services.  He can be reached at tris AT qumana DOT com or tris AT trishussey DOT com.
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Salt Spring Coffee crew

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Mickey and Robbyn from Salt Spring Coffee, during the cupping:

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Salt Spring Coffee – the story

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So, we had a great opportunity, as previously noted, to speak with the owners of Salt Spring Coffee Co. Now, here’s their story.

Both Robbyn and Mickey have been coffee lovers for a long time. Their paths crossed in the early 70s, and they’ve been together since. Both share the dedication to organic and fair trade, in coffee and beyond. They were privileged to enjoy many great local roasters in San Francisco and in Oregon, but found the transition to BC rather difficult – where was all the quality coffee? So, when they made the transition to Salt Spring Island, they decided to take the leap. Salt Spring Island had two coffee shops with regular customers, but there wasn’t a local roaster. The quality and freshness was just not there.

So, Robbyn and Mickey came together to create a place where quality, freshness, and a consciousness of fair trade, organic coffee could be preserved. This is how Salt Spring Coffee evolved. And, to this day, they stand to these same commitments.

They began their cafe as a retail/roast establishment (it has since been separated). They started with good branding, which has since evolved quite substantially to what it is today. They chose the name as a way to represent the Island to others, and to effectively brand the coffee and its great roots. It has since included in the logo the all-important “Organic” marker. The community has embraced the company – as an establishment in the community, a local business, and an ethical one to boot.

They use one trader from California for all their coffee purchases. They roast 5 days per week and ship out to grocery and retail establishments five days per week (with their own Bio Diesel truck once per week). As a note, they were the first to pave the way in Vancouver as the only fair trade certified coffee available in grocery stores.

So, congratulations to both Mickey and Robbyn for creating a great establishment, for leading the way in organic free trade coffee, and for effectively marketing it abroad. Cheers!

Salt Spring Coffee branding

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Store FrontCoffee Origin Mural
Signage from the street.
Great interior mural for coffee regions.

Nice message
Delivery truck.

Good business planning, yes?

We had great conversations with the owners. Will be blogging them tomorrow. It will become clear why they brand their trucks with the Social Change copy.

Good news is, we’ll be going back to witness the roasting on Monday. I didn’t click in and realize to schedule the entire thing on Monday, but it means we can absorb and be ready for roasting without being overwhelmed by the whole cupping experience as well.

Thanks to both Robbyn and Mickey for a great tour!

Salt Spring Coffee Selection – what great marketing!

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Salt Spring Coffee

This is the perfect (and I really mean it) way to showcase your coffee varieties. No confusion. No limits to just light, medium or dark. Just perfect.

Salt Spring Coffee
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