It's an honour each year to invite the winner of the World Barista Championship to visit our decaffeination facility in Burnaby, British Columbia, just outside of Vancouver. This month we were thrilled to host 2017 WBC champ Dale Harris from the United Kingdom for a day of coffee tasting and knowledge-sharing as well as some sustainability-focused Earth Month activities.
After giving Dale a "Decaf Origin Tour" of our plant and the unique process we use to decaffeinate coffee without added chemicals, we were excited to taste coffees together and talk about the growth and potential of decaf in today's coffee landscape, and about Dale's own goals in and for coffee.
As much as we like to show off our decaf, it was our next two activities we were the most excited to share with Dale. First, we headed to our sister company Seaforth, our Supply Chain arm in the shipping and transport of green coffee. At the Seaforth warehouse we met up with our friends from Pacific Foods, a company well known to Canadian and US baristas and coffee people for their tasty and versatile alternative milks. The company is also known for its sustainability measures and quality organic food offerings—both of which fuel their Nourish Every Body initiative, which helps supply hungry schoolkids with meal boxes. At Seaforth, our combined teams including Dale packed up more than 320 meal boxes with foods donated by Pacific, the majority of which were sent off to Britannia Secondary School in Vancouver. Though we didn't send any coffee, the feeling of sustainability + community + coffee people teaming up together to provide for those in need was uplifting enough!
From Seaforth we moved on to the actual sea coast—Vancouver's CRAB Park, a beautiful bit of urban coastline wth a view out onto the Port of Vancouver (where coffee, among myriad other goods, arrives each day!) Together with our group we cleaned up more than nine big bags of trash—mostly made up of plastic food packaging and personal care items.) The twilight cleanup was a great way to feel connected to the international waters that connect us with the coffee that defines our work and passions, as well as drive home the importance of stewardship over our local waterways as the first and simplest way to make a global contribution.
After all that, it was of course time again to bring the focus back to coffee! Our friends at Revolver welcomed us for a coffee chat open to the public, where Dale drove home the importance of improving coffee quality through relationship building at all levels of the supply chain.
By the end, we'd had a whirlwind day with Dale, strengthening our own relationships with the international coffee world, our sustainability goals, and community building right in our own back yard.