It’s time to know more about Pop Coffee Works. Pop Coffee is an award-winning Toronto based micro-roaster. The beautifully roasted beans are packed in super funky bags with UFOs, astronauts, butterflies and popping dance (of course with a cuppa in hand!).
Let us find out how Abe and Lana started their specialty coffee journey, their first farm visit, recommendations and more.
How did you start your specialty coffee journey?
I first got interested in food and beverage during my college years. I was fascinated by Chinese tea art and took a couple of tea classes from a tea master in Richmond, BC. I can see a lot of similarities in terms of pouring technique and theories between coffee pour over and Chinese tea ceremony.
I then started to work in a local coffee shop chain called Take Five Cafe in Vancouver. It was my first time working with an espresso machine, La Marzocco Linea. Vancouver is very close to Seattle and Portland and Seattle and Portland are like the pioneers of specialty coffee at the time. I attended some barista classes and events in Portland and got really interested in specialty coffee.
I then purchased some coffee gears like the Londinium L1 espresso machine and other coffee brew wares and started to learn about them. I purchased a small roaster from Taiwan, called Huky 500 in 2013 and started roasting in my garage.
I took several SCA classes, got my Q-Grader license and trained with Mike Perry, Roast Master from Klatch Coffee before I started roasting for my business.
From which region did you first source your coffee?
The first coffee I ever sourced was a natural Ethiopian coffee. Ethiopia is the motherland of arabica coffee and always has a special place in my heart.
Can you share a little about the experience when you first visited a coffee farm?
My first farm visit was with my Q-Grader instructor Mane Alves. We visited some coffee farms in Thailand. The visit really opened my eyes and Mane was great at explaining coffee farming and the science behind it during the visit. We also got to visit many amazing coffee shops. It was a lot of fun exploring the city with a group of coffee enthusiasts.
Which is your favorite method to brew your cup of joe?
I would literally use anything.
For all the coffee enthusiasts, which one will be the most adventurous Pop coffee?
We have a new La Esperanza Laurina coming next week. It was sourced through Forward coffee from Calgary. Laurina is a coffee variety that is naturally low in caffeine, which means it will be sweeter than the other varieties. La Esperanza is an award-winning farm and we are so excited to be able to share this coffee with you.
What will be your advice for someone starting their specialty coffee journey? Any coffee recommendation to begin this journey?
As a starting point, you could explore more to get to know what your favorite is. Brazil Fazenda Rainha is a good classic Brazil coffee with chocolate and nutty flavors.
Your favorite snack/dish to pair with coffee?
I love to pair my coffee with a good Canelé.
Any proud Pop Coffee moment that you would like to share with the coffee lovers?
There are two proudest moments for Pop.
The first one is when we first received a wholesale order from Revolver coffee from Vancouver. Revolver has been an inspiration to me before I started my business and I was so proud to see our coffee on their shelf.
The second proudest moment is when we competed at the 2019 Roast Master competition in New York. We got the highest score in the blind cupping first round and the highest score for espresso and milk beverage presentation.
Thank you Lana and Abe for sharing your coffee journey with us. Keep popping those brewsome beans!