A begginers guide into coffee roastears. Toronto's Hale Coffee.
Hi y'all! Welcome back to this little read on coffee matters. Ever since I've started my coffee research various coffee roasters have come to my attention. Most of the shops I've visited use blends from Canadian roasters. Among these, a couple names are more common than others. I spent this week exploring one of them: Hale coffee Roasters.
Hale boasts just 5 years of coffee roasting experience but has quickly become one of the favourites around Toronto. They originally opened at Queen and Spadina but moved to their current Junction location about a year ago. (They are throwing a big party for their one year anniversary!) They now reside at 300 Campbell avenue, otherwise known as the Clock Factory, and are surrounded by galleries, studios and all sorts of artsy businesses. The building is also home to Station Cold Brew coffee, very fitting.
I had the pleasure of talking to barista William. As I am still a newbie on this whole coffee scene I have many silly questions to ask and William was kind enough to answer all of them. Based on his answers plus some of my own research I have concluded the following:
What is a coffee roastery?
A coffee roastery is a business, enterprise or group of friends that take the green coffee beans and roast them. The early origins of this process date back to the 15th century.
What is coffee roasting?
Coffee roasting is the process of transforming the chemical and physical properties of the coffee beans. The "degree" of the roast determines the flavour profile of the coffee. William described this as "cooking" the beans. Essentially turning them from green to dark brown.
At hale it is believed that coffee roasting is equal parts art and science. It takes years of trial and error to develop the ability to "read" the beans.
What kinda of roast are there?
I'm sure you've heard of dark, medium and light roast. Many factors play a role in determining the outcome of a roast. For example: batch size, temperature, air flow and of course the human factor (experience of the roaster)
William explained that medium roast is usually the most balanced and that Hale coffee beans are medium roast.
Which profile contains the most caffeine?
I bet you thought dark roast right? Au contraire! Lighter roasts actually have a slightly higher caffeine content.
What is a "coffee profile"?
The "profile" of a coffee is influenced by many factors. It begins with the area of origin of the beans. Everything from altitude to humidity of the region in which the beans are grown play a part in its end flavour. Of course the way the beans are roasted plays a large part in their profile as well. There is no "best" flavour profile for coffee. Like you might find in different wines, each coffee has its own unique flavours and aromas. As each human being has their own tastebuds, what might be delicious to me might not be the same for you and vice versa.
How many different varieties of coffee does Hale make?
Hale has direct trade relationships with coffee farms all over the world but mainly roast South American and Ethiopian beans.
Funnily enough I forgot to ask where the beans that made my cup of coffee had come from. However I did discover that my barista's favourites were from Ethiopia and Peru. Hale prides themselves on their espressos but also distributes filter coffee.
Does Hale coffee sell cold drinks?
Yes, in fact the have partnered with Station Cold Brew coffee next door (I'm already brewing a new post on this amazing company)
Which coffee is the best to make at home?
Pretty much any of Hale's coffees will be a success at home. Depending on how you prefer to brew your coffee you can grind your beans finer or coarser.
In addition to coffee, Hale sells a wide range of brewing equipment for the home.
- Manual grinders and paper filters
- Different kinda of V60s and goose neck kettles for making pour-over coffee
-Chemex coffee makers if you prefer drip coffee
- French presses and the Aeropress maker (which I already have my eye on, wedding present anyone ?)
If by any chance you can't go all the way there, Hale has two other locations. Cafe Moi (1200 Bay St) and crosstown Coffee Bar (187 Highbourne road). But, like I mentioned before, there are also many independent coffee shops that carry their beans. The independent and bob coffee are just a few that I've encountered.
Hale coffee actually provides free barista training to whoever purchases their beans in wholesale. They offer this training to the general public in a two part course (at $120 CAD). Coffee cuppings are held at their Queen and Spadina locations. If you want to visit Hale their 1st anniversary party will be held on June 3rd. They would love it if you would stop by to wish them the best and many more happy years in the coffee industry. Stay tuned for next week's post featuring Station Cold Brew. Until then!