If you close your eyes for a small moment, and imagine yourself sitting over a steaming mug of freshly brewed coffee, you will have an idea of the fun we had with creator of Juggernaut Coffee, Katie Mitchell.
We didn’t get a chance to write down our interview with her, so this post is a little different from our others, a little more informal just for a change of pace…
We arrived at her small farm on a cold afternoon to a very friendly welcome, and a somewhat chaotic atmosphere (she has one pair of cute little two-year-old twins, and two dogs – need I say more?).
Katie was right in the middle of roasting us our very own fresh batch of beans, outside on her porch, and it was such a delight to experience her at work.
(No, this is not how she normally roasts her coffee – it was an experience reserved just for our pleasure, as her brand new coffee house and workshop is under construction at the moment.)
As she turned the handle on the big pot full of coffee beans, we chatted about how and why Katie chose coffee as her business.
Katie has a background as a chef, and this new venture into coffee roasting is just the kind of sensory experience you might expect a talented chef to excel at. Fragrant steam rose up in the air as we watched, and Katie paid close attention to the process even as we discussed her business with her.
She casually mentioned
- the weight of the pot, (it changes apparently)
- the changing smell, (from a grain smell to a coffee smell)
- the sound of the popping, (there’s different kinds of popping that happen during the transformation!)
- and the colour of the beans
– all things she pays close attention to as she roasts! It wasn’t long before our mouths were watering at the tantalizing aroma that wafted through the air.
One of the things Katie is most passionate about, is the fair-trade, ethically sourced business she does with small farms in Nicaragua, Ethiopia, and Honduras.
Her suppliers go directly to the farmers and ask them what they want to sell the coffee for. It means Katie pays more for her coffee, but the quality is better, and knowing where it’s coming from and that she’s being fair is what makes the whole thing worth it for her!
In her workshop huge bags of organic beans sit, ready to be roasted – and they’ve come all the way across the world, from little farms (some where she’s their only client!) that she knows, personally, get a competitive price for their product. She urges everyone to know where they’re getting their coffee from, and that the people who are producing the beans are getting paid what they should.
“Coffee is a commodity,” she said, “people are always trying to undercut the price of it.” Working with small farms, and a supplier who carries the same values as her is the only way she’ll do it.
When we asked Katie what inspired her to start Juggernaut Coffee, she chuckled. “I was buying so many green coffee beans that my supplier asked me if I was already running a business. I told him no. I just have twins. I’m that tired.”
But the conversation got her thinking, she said. She had wanted a business that allowed her to be home with her kids, that she might be able to do “out in the wild” as she put it, on her own turf, as she loves the solitude and freedom of rural life.
With a very handy husband, who knows the ins and outs of construction, and her own chef background, knowing how to navigate health codes and organic certification, it was the perfect opportunity. There is no other roaster in Grand Forks, and there’s always an appetite for great coffee.
“Coffee is appealing,” She said with a smile, “because it’s dynamic and always changing. Conditions are always changing globally, as well as in Grand Forks, we have the challenge of adapting and consistently getting a high quality product.”
When we asked Katie what advice she would give to coffee lovers – she said “Don’t keep your coffee in the freezer! Only buy what you need. Drink it within a week to get the best out of the beans!”
You can buy Juggernaut Coffee’s different blends (Dark and Espresso) from the Wooden Spoon, Jerseyland Organics, or contact Katie on her instagram account @juggernaut.coffee, or call her at (250)442-3430.
What a great way for you to spend your Christmas morning! Over a freshly brewed, freshly roasted cup of coffee!! Yum!
We highly recommend Juggernaut, what a great business to support – a local business concerned with ethics that support other far away local businesses!
Stay tuned this Thursday for our next entrepreneur!!