We wanted to say a big Thank you to everyone who came out to support Double Decker Coffee Roasting during our March 23 Soft Open Weekend. The weekend gave us the opportunity to see how people move through the bus, test run some of our equipment, learn about our customer’s needs and wants and gave the public a sneak peek at what will be available at the bus in the future. We will continue to work towards providing the best product for our customers and look forward to unveiling the full Double Decker Coffee Roasting experience next winter.
If you would like to purchase coffee by the pound or are interested in sporting some of our branded merchandise, we have a point of sale set up at Callaghan Country Wilderness Adventure’s Front Desk. Stay tuned with updates to the bus by reading our Build Blog, following us on Instagram, and monitoring our Facebook page.
We look forward to seeing you all at the start of next ski season!
We are pleased to announce Double Decker Coffee Roasting will be opening its doors for a ‘sneak peak’ this weekend March 23-24, 2019. While we are still streamlining water logistics, Double Decker Coffee Roasting will be operating in a temporary capacity, offering a limited menu, as well as an initial opportunity for the public to take a tour of our beautifully transformed Daimler Double Decker Bus! We’re letting our patient customers know that the bus is fully converted to a welcoming cafe, the coffee roaster is fired up, and we are ready to start serving coffee!
Available items for purchase will include:
o French Press Coffee by the cup
o Coffee by the Pound (whole bean or ground)
o Baked Goods
o Mugs and T-Shirts (While supply lasts!)
Our coffee this weekend is a Dark Roast Blend made up of beans from Mexico, Cuba, and Ethiopia featuring flavours of milk chocolate, hazelnut, shortbread, with a mild acidity.
This weekend we will also be surveying customers to more accurately represent what they are looking for in their coffee. The survey will cover everything from flavour preference, to where and how beans are sourced as well as what you are looking for in the roast itself. Don’t miss this opportunity to support our endeavours as well as shape the future flavours of Double Decker Coffee Roasting!
Remember, Double Decker Coffee Roasting is located behind the first Ski Callaghan ticket booth at the Alexander Falls Ski Touring Center. So, bring your skis, snowshoes, dog, and the whole family to enjoy some fresh roasted coffee in our unique café surrounded by the beautiful sights of the Callaghan Valley!
What about that budget?
If you have been following along, you will remember I originally budgeted just $20k for all my café and roastery equipment. Initially, I was looking to split the 20 down the middle, half for café, and half for a coffee roaster. This ended up being much more difficult than I thought, and some rearranging in the budget became necessary fairly early on. Throughout the summer I kept an eye out for a used La Marzocco espresso machines and in doing so gained a good idea of their value. It seemed that the available machines cost anywhere between $4-7k depending on the model, number of group heads, and condition. Now, there are plenty of espresso machines by other brands available, but I was committed to spending the extra cash on a reputable machine, as well as one with alittle bit of character. In addition to the espresso machine, I needed a bulk grinder, espresso grinder, fridge, and Point of Sale terminal, as well as a whole bunch of little things no one wants to read in a list. Luckily, a few weeks after returning home from the summer I found a local bakery/café that was upgrading all of their equipment and wanted to sell everything I needed for a nice little bundle. So after some negotiation I was able to obtain a La Marzocco 3 group FB80, two Mazzer espresso grinders, and 2 bulk Bunn grinders for exactly $10k, perfectly within budget.
The coffee roaster on the other hand did not come so easily. During the summer I had read up on several small batch profile roasters, and in the end felt Mill City Roasters was the best option due to their strong customer service, helpful video content, and price point. So I put my down payment on a 2 kg roaster sometime in June hoping it would ship early that fall. However, at the time, Mill City, was undergoing their CSA approval process which would allow the sale of their products in Canada. Although they warned me it may be a lengthy process, I figured I had enough lead time that it would be a none issue. After several updates during the summer it was beginning to look like the roaster would not be ready in time for fall, or even Christmas. In hind sight a later roaster arrival would have been totally fine as the entire project ended up falling off any form of planned timeline. But at the time, I was very concerned about the late arrival and felt the CSA approval process could drag out for months . When I voiced my concerns with Mill City they understood and suggested a refund on the down payment as it was hard to guarantee a day the CSA approval would complete. I was very happy to deal with such reasonable people. and really appreciated their respect for my timetable. If any one from Mill City is reading this, thanks again!
Although I was bummed out that I wasn’t going to get a Mill City roaster, my tight timeline allowed me to mentally justify an increase in the roaster budget. I decided to look at Diedrich Roasters, which are considerably more expensive, but have an extensive history, a great industry name, and are based out of Idaho, just a hop skip and a jump away from me in BC. Diedrich's close proximity would allow me to easily attend one of their Coffee Roasting Profile courses as well as pickup the roaster myself and save on the shipping costs. When I contacted Diedrich, they happen to have a IR 2.5 Roaster coming off a trade show circuit for sale, allowing me to skip the 13 week production line lead time. I will be the first to admit that perhaps I was abit hasty changing coffee roasters, but it really seemed like everything was lining up perfectly so I decided to go where the momentum took me. In the end, the Diedrich IR 2.5 would cost me around $20k, which is almost double what the Mill City roaster would have cost. In addition, there would be some extra costs associated with the border, tariffs, and importers that we will get into later.
Salvage and Sand
One main feature I wanted the bus to highlight was the use visible wood throughout the interior, primarily in thick wood countertops. With todays lumber prices I simply could not afford such a thing, so my initial plan was to mill up some yellow cedar with my Alaskan mill and chainsaw. However, a much better opportunity presented itself through my Brother, Nicholas, who works for a company that specializes in engineered wood panels. These panels are called Cross Laminated Timber, or CLT and are very strong and as such are used in applications traditionally reserved for steel and concrete. The Plant that makes these panels is located in Penticton, and they were willing to allow me to look through their cutoff pile and salvage what I could. So some time in November I drove out there with my chainsaw and a book of measurements to see what I could find. Once out there I realized finding the panels would be no problem, but cutting them down to a manageable size to move into my truck would be a formidable task. Luckily Nicholas joined me for the day to help find the wood, measure it out, and safely move it to my truck.
Since the panels are cross laminated, cutting them was unlike bucking a natural tree in that the panel would not flex or pinch but would then suddenly release at the end of the cut, sliding the huge panel down the pile. The whole time we were there I was worried one of us would get pinched between sliding panels, and either be horribly injured or simply just kicked out for being reckless without any wood! This did not happen of course and I was able to get all the wood I needed for the counters, tables and more. So with my truck riding the line of a legal load I headed home to fine tune the rough chainsaw cuts, and start sanding!
Now as per any new-age home renovation blog, show, ect, this is the part where I am supposed to brag about how the salvaged wood cost nothing but alittle elbow grease. Although the sentiment is true, a little elbow grease becomes quite expensive when you have a short timeline and it comes at the cost of other tasks. In addition, moving these huge chunks of wood around to cut and sand them was extremely taxing. After a few times moving them by hand in and out of the bus, I eventually started using the backhoe to lift them up and into the bus's rear window on the second story.
My vision for these countertops was to have that thick glossy glass like epoxy you see in old timey Pubs perfectly encapsulating the wood. To achieve this look I decided to order in a new acrylic epoxy product from Benjamin Moore, knowing they have an excellent line of thick paints. Unfortunately, not only did this product costs a lot, it ended up not working at all, and added weeks to the overall build. The two part epoxy was mixed and applied within spec, and left to dry in a stable room temperature of around 18 degrees (contested by Benjamin Moore). When I returned in the morning, I found the epoxy had crystallized and left a rough sandpaper like finish across all applications. I applied a second coat hoping it would smooth out, but it too crystallized. I now needed to sand this coating off and go with a new product. In fear of a repeat epoxy issue, I decided to go with a product I knew and trusted, Varathane. Varathane is a great as it is very predictable, and offers the same benefits of epoxy as long as you have the patients to apply enough coats. In my case I was able to get six coats on before my patients ran out, but it felt good to finally close the countertop chapter of the build. After weeks of sanding, coating ,sanding and re-coating, they were finally finished sometime near the end of January, allowing the rest of the interior work to begin.
Patrick Sills is the owner and creator of Double Decker Coffee Roasting. The purpose of the Build Blog is to share the story of the physical build, its components, Patrick's growing education in the coffee industry, and the overall creation of the business. Warning: if run on sentences, poor sentence structure, or simple spelling mistakes bother you to the core stop reading! The Build Blog has a very loose format, I am a builder not a writer, just thought some people might be interested in the story. Enjoy!