NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

A fresh roast

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, February 27, 2012

A home-based Iqaluit business sells freshly-roasted medium brown and medium-dark brown coffee beans imported from places such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, Brazil and Indonesia.

Philippe Lavallee started Niam Coffee on June 1, 2010 as a way, he said, to stay out of a full-time office job. He gave the business a try and 18 months later, he said he's surviving.

"I figured there should be enough people drinking coffee, and wanting good coffee, to make it work," he said.

Lavallee said he receives 60-kg bags of green beans from an importer in Montreal once a year during the sealift season and roasts the beans on a weekly basis, depending on demand throughout the year. He added it takes 30 minutes to roast about 2.3 kg, or five pounds, of beans.

He sells the coffee through tradeshows, craft sales and directly to customers.

"It's the taste difference," he said. "It's a million times better when it's fresh compared to having everything already roasted and just sitting there for years. That's the main thing, which is the quality of having it freshly roasted and the fun of doing it yourself."

Lavallee, who has been living in Iqaluit since 1997, said getting the consistency when roasting the coffee beans takes years to achieve. Every coffee has its own particularities, he added.

"I like them all just for different reasons because they're good coffee, so they all have characteristics," he said.

Mayor Madeleine Redfern said having more businesses in town offers more choice and variety to citizens.

"We definitely benefit from having more businesses in our community," she said.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.