When I started roasting coffee beans I had no idea it would become my passion and my livelihood.
By Troy Kelly
Photo by Brandon Gray
The road to opening Outpost Coffee Roasters wasn’t even on the map for me growing up. I had seen my father working long hours as an entrepreneur; he had his own mechanic shop and also sold small engine machines. My mother left the banking industry and became a partner in the business.
I really liked coffee and I was spending a lot of money at coffee houses. After I graduated from university I bought myself a present – my first espresso machine, hoping to cut down on spending so much money at coffee shops but wanting the same flavour. The result wasn’t what I hoped for; the coffee just didn’t taste the same. So I got into roasting beans at home using a popcorn maker – it actually works quite well. But as I progressed I needed more equipment and it was getting expensive.
By then I was working on my MBA (I had been in the Navy before this) and I started thinking maybe I could use this coffee addiction as a stepping stone to get into business. I found a business partner, leased equipment, and started roasting coffee commercially. We were doing online sales, but it was hard to get a foothold in the market without brand recognition, so we started making plans for this business.
It was a long process, finding the location (Bloor Street West) and renovating. Unfortunately, my partner couldn’t continue so I went out on my own and opened this location August 11, 2014.
We’ve had great response. We roast all our own coffee and customers love that. They really like the specialty coffees with unique flavour notes. The location works very well – near the subway, fruit market, new condos and a banquet hall. I couldn‘t be happier because I’m passionate about what I do.
Caffe Shakerato: Italian iced coffee drink
45 to 60 ml espresso (double espresso)
Enough ice for a 355 ml (12 oz) cup
2 tbsp sugar
Combine in a high-speed blender
The result is a blended ice drink. The secret is that the sugar and oils in the coffee emulsify and create a foam, giving the impression of dairy. It’s very light. Customers love it, and you can put it on any menu.