Blake Hanacek – founder/owner
I have been a fan of their coffee for quite some time ever since frequenting their Yaletown café. Blake Hanacek founded the roastery in October 2006 first establishing the Yaletown café, eventually he grew his company with a café on Granville Island and more recently opening a roastery and café in Strathcona.
Blake Hanacek roasting coffee beans
With AGRODEV as a springboard and partner A.G.R.O. Roasters has fulfilled the increasing demands of coffee lovers who are continuously looking for high quality coffee that upholds–but is not compromised by–an ecologically and socially conscious approach. They service this demand by religiously practicing their Crop2Cup approach and utilizing our partnership with AGRODEV.
We met up at his Annex Cafe & Roastery, a refurbished industrial space in an East Van that houses their 12KG roaster, the Annex Cafe, and Cupping Lab.
Blake guided me thru a tour of his roasting operation and we enjoyed a few coffees together starting off with my favourite coffee beverage which is an Espresso Macchiato.
This Espresso Macchiato was made with an espresso blend that featured Sumatra (semi washed), natural Ethiopia, washed Gautamala and a washed Peru.
From crop to cup they operate sustainably. When buying their coffees, consumers can rest assured that their coffee was produced sustainably, regardless of certification. The farmers that they work with are using ever evolving technologies to ensure that their product is grown sustainably and we facilitate these changes whenever possible. Our locations also operate sustainably in energy use, waste disposal, transportation and everything we do.
Guatemala Villaure Pacamara
Blake then brewed an Aero presse with his Guatemala Villaure Pacamara.
He then made us a pour over of the Ka’u Coffee (semi washed).
Roasting coffee is as much science as it is art. Focusing on the science when first profiling a new coffee, the art then comes out in the cup. Rigorous profile notes mean nothing if the unique origin characteristics of the coffee are not highlighted. Cupping every batch provides a framework and reference, as we feel you are only as good as your last batch. Relying on sight, smell, and manual controls allows the coffee to show where and how it wants to be roasted. As their name implies (Agricultural Growers Resource Organization), their approach is founded on the importance of education and learning. Grounded in science and global in scope, starting as an international NGO, Blake told me they want the farmer to be the primary topic of conversation–the roaster secondary. Sustainability and accessibility are perhaps the most vital components of their approach. All other efforts on our part are trivial unless our coffee and philosophy is accessible to anyone and everyone who wishes to share in our passion.
A.G.R.O. Roasters is located at 550 Clark Drive in Vancouver. You can follow them on twitter @agro_roasters
By: Richard Wolak