July’s CoffeeCollective feature comes to us from Victoria, B.C. In late 2011, Drew Johnson and his wife, Leesha Sabine set themselves up a new roastery in the Burnside neighbourhood where they could explore the world of roasting coffee. Formally a baker, Drew wanted to learn the art of coffee and expanded his knowledge from barista to head of his own roastery, Bows & Arrows.
Today, Drew says he takes on every role at B&A. From janitor to green buyer, sales and even a milkman, being hands on is extremely important to the owner. Although the name Bows & Arrows came about from hitting shuffle on an iPod (an album name from the band “The Walkmen”) it still speaks true to the roastery’s attitude.
“We like the craft inference. The honed skill,” says Drew.
Not to mention, Bows & Arrows is quite a catchy title, and beyond the name comes great marketing. Both Drew and Leesha work on showcasing Bows & Arrows, and considering their packaging is a new CoffeeCollective favourite, we would argue that they are both quite skilled at branding and design.
Bows & Arrows roastery also holds a bar café where 2 or three daily espresso options are available for tasters.
“It’s growing as the word gets out,” he says. “It’s still incredible to me that people will seek us out and visit. I mean, that was always the goal and intention. But it is still a pleasant surprise.”
For those of you in Victoria, you can find Bows & Arrows at 483 Garbally Road. However, for others across the country, B&A has a long list of retailers that you can purchase their coffee from.
The majority of beans roasted at B&A are sourced from farms in Central and South America, as well as East Africa. While they are not part of a coop, Drew says that they source beans by mostly returning to the same trusted importer year after year. This has not only built relationships with specific producers, but also given them some piece of mind.
Drew Johnson (left). Photo by Deanna Ladret
“We want to develop the type of relationship where we are investing in the producers and collaborating to make not only their coffees better, and therefore, their incomes more predictable and stable, but also where we are learning the complexities facing each producer from where they are situated,” Drew wrote to us.
Some B&A beans are certified organic, while others are grown organically without certification. Drew however, does look for specific qualities when sourcing such as clean water and washing practices, ethical farm worker practices and investment for improvement. He suggests that all CoffeeCollective members really look into their roastery, their practices and how they conduct themselves.
The two roasts we selected for this month’s packages include the Ethiopia Worka and Hathaway Espresso.
Kochere, Etiopia is a coffee region next to the well-known coffee-growing region of Yirgacheffe in Southern Ethiopia. These particular beans are sourced from Worka Sakero, a grower’s association with 750 farmers each cultivating roughly 2 hectares. The Ethiopia Kochere Worka is a medium roast, filled with floral notes of cassis, kefir lime and honeysuckle.
With different beans sourced from Mexico, Ethiopia, Bolivia, the Hathaway Espresso brings together flavours of different lands and soils all into one cup. As a tribute to Tony Hathaway, B&A says this espresso blend is perfect on its own, or in milk-based drinks. Try the candied sweetness, stone fruit and Neapolitan ice-cream flavours of the coffee with a latte.
Check out Bows and Arrows Coffee Roasters today through their website and social media pages! If you enjoyed their roasts, you can find more not only across the country and on their site, but also on the CoffeeCollective store which is open to all members and non-members!