Kitchissippi’s seemingly insatiable appetite for coffee is about to receive a new fuelling station, with the arrival of Equator Coffee Roasters this fall. Taking over a former furniture store on Churchill Avenue near Richmond Road, the fifteen-year-old company is confident their success in Almonte will translate well to Ottawa.
Equator operates as a community-based, mission-driven bean roastery, wholesaler, and café, offering top quality organic specialty coffee, sourced directly from small-scale producer cooperatives, according to co-owner Craig Hall, who founded the business with his wife Amber. As members of a green coffee-importing co-op, they collaborate with other roasters across the continent to establish and maintain direct, sustainable relationships with trading partners.
In addition to freshly-roasted coffee, Equator also offers a full line of coffee-related products such as syrups, sauces and coffee equipment, including hard-to-find items, for both home and commercial use. In Westboro, the small firm is looking forward to being able to provide a few unique features such as training on coffee equipment as well as tasting sessions – which they call “coffee cupping.” They’ve partnered with Shanti Tea to complement their own products and will also be offering a delicious range of simple food options including gluten free options.
“Our goal is not to be a small restaurant – we are a coffee shop, first and foremost,” says Equator’s director of retail sales and training Chris Petrie, an affable Australian who brings years of coffee shop experience to Equator. “In Europe you see people heading to the coffee bar as part of their daily routine. They stop in, have their espresso and a conversation with the friendly barista whom they’ve gotten to know quite well, then off they go. We want to provide that same level of interaction and build a relationship with our customers.”
With its bright, open interior, touches of barnboard and range of seating options including stools, benches and a large communal table, Equator’s atmosphere is light and casual.
“There will be plenty of room for strollers, because we’ve heard that’s important in Westboro,” jokes Petrie, himself a parent of young children.
“While we already have a huge customer base in Ottawa, particularly among restaurants, our strategy is to expose a whole new audience to what we’ve been doing successfully for years,” says Hall. “When we open shortly before Christmas, we are looking forward to offering the best coffee shop experience in Ottawa.”