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Q & A with Elysian Coffee Roasters

Posted by Kateland Clarke on

"Elysian has always been about wow moments, where you were treated magically, or had the best coffee of the week (or both)!"

I have to own up to something, and I feel like a bit a fraud writing this profile... but I don't actually like coffee! It's one of those things I feel like you either love or hate, and as much as I hate to say it, I am of the latter opinion. I have tried. In the same way that several friends of mine have tried to make themselves like olives through pursed lips, but it has an effect on me like a double shot of adrenaline would to a mouse. Plus the taste, it just not something I have ever found appealing, often bitter and tart. However since we partnered with Elysian Coffee Roasters, and I have spent some time with Christopher Rodgers, Elysian Coffee Nerd Extraordinaire, he has begun showing me what real, proper coffee should taste like, and he will be pleased to know that I am slowly but surely being converted!

Elysian Coffee Roasters, started as a little café that imported all their coffee from a few select importers, but over time the urge to take control, showcase and educate, they started their very own roastery, where they work with farmer's and a few select bean importers, to roast their very own coffee. Having spent an afternoon watching the whole process and talking with Christopher about the whole process before the beans even get to the roastery, I couldn't believe that a cup of coffee doesn't cost $100! There is so much work, and so much science that goes into the whole process, it really is fascinating, even to someone that has never really paid any attention to the coffee world prior.

Our partnership with Elysian, was formed over a shared passion and a shared vision for what's important and what really matters to us. Transparency, education, creating fond memories and experiences with those that you treasure, and supporting independents and locals. We're really excited to be offering you some of the best coffee in Vancouver in our Vancouver and North Vancouver stores, as well as building our coffee product line and staff knowledge to be the best on offer. Keep an eye out for our video series with Christopher at Elysian, where we will be teaching you how to make the perfect cup of coffee right at home, as well as the science behind it all so you can understand what is going on to make it taste so great!


How did Elysian come to be?
Elysian was born when Alistair purchased the tiny cafe at 5th avenue and Burrard in 2000. Eventually naming it The Elysian Room, this space was one of Vancouver's very first specialty shops as we recognize them in the city today.
Years (and a shop or two) later, Elysian began roasting coffee in an effort to solve many of the problems the company experienced in its years buying coffee from other roasteries. Build a space where everyone can get closer to the coffee. See the roasting, taste coffee, and feel more a part of the process.
Tell us a little about the farmers you work with?
Last year we were visited by Raul Perez, who we've directly traded with for years. He's young, and really plugged into what we're doing with his coffee. He is also coffee roaster, and a very skilled taster. Raul is from Guatemala where he runs Finca La Soledad with his family.
Every country, and every region is so diverse and complex, it's hard to distill information on "the farmers". Whether we're buying direct as with Raul, or through an importer we equally trust, or even selling coffee to the end consumer... the goal is always to build relationships, and get closer.
What does coffee mean to Elysian?
This is very personal to us at Elysian. We have a wide variety of team members who would have differing specifics, but I think what we can all agree on is that coffee is something that brings great joy. Doesn't matter if you're geeking out with your fancy grinder and scale in the lab, serving someone great coffee and making them smile, or building fond memories with people you love over a cup of coffee... All these things bring joy.
You may be surprised to know that at Elysian, it's really not about the coffee, it's about the joy, the happiness, the warm fuzzies. This is why we have to have the best coffee, because it just makes you that much happier!
If you had to pick just one particular coffee, which would it be and why?
I would choose La Soledad for sure. It's rich, chocolatey, and nutty. This is a coffee I know I can share with almost anyone and get them excited about what we're doing.
Favourite café anywhere in the world?
For me, there is no better coffee anywhere than in your own backyard. Trust me.
My answer would have to be Alistair's kitchen. We have had breakfast meetings in the past when we're working on something big... There's good coffee, there's big ideas, and the guy makes a pretty mean french omelette.
I think more people should treat their own kitchens as their favourite cafe in the world. Get a good pan, buy some cute mugs... Whatever you need to do. It's something that can really make you happy all day when you take the time in the morning to make yourself some breakfast and coffee.
What’s on the horizon for Elysian?
Elysian has always been about wow moments, where you were treated magically, or had the best coffee of the week (or both)! Our "why" is to create that wow moment for as many people every day as we possibly can.
The future is bright where we get better, and better, and better than this every day and affect more and more people positively.

To find out more about what Elysian are up to, give them a follow on Instagram, check out their products here, or if you're in the neighbourhood visit their roastery.
Photography and interview by Kateland Clarke.

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