Coffee Talk

Elana Rosenfeld, CEO of Kicking Horse Coffee, discusses the marketplace

Coffee prices are at record highs, particularly for the “green” bean. Historically, we absorbed rising costs by narrowing our margins, to protect our customers from market fluctuations, but the current environment has made it impossible for our business to move forward without an increase. Recently, we raised prices for the first time in 15 years. It was tough from a personal standpoint, but business hasn’t declined, since cost-conscious shoppers tend to buy more in bulk when we run promotions.

In general, rising costs are due to increasing demand coupled with supply and logistics issues. There are shortages in Indonesia and certain other regions. There has been speculation in the coffee commodities market. And gas prices have been up. All of these factors have caused a ripple effect.

People are drinking more coffee than ever—and they’re getting savvier about good coffee. They expect better quality; they know the difference. Some are grinding their coffee fresh each day. They’re investing in fair trade and organic, too.

We’ve spent years pressuring the Canadian coffee [industry] to go green. Fortunately, today, organic coffee is more readily available. When we started, we could find maybe one or two bean sources. Now the whole industry is moving in that direction—farmers, brokers, cooperatives.

We have lobbied for green packaging as well, which is another consumer desire. We have talked with companies about recyclable solutions for packaging, but unfortunately the science isn’t quite there yet. A typical coffee bag is not recyclable, so we brainstormed alternative materials and came up with a tin can. Our cans for the Kick Ass line have turned into a collector’s item. Any way you sip it, coffee has become a part of daily life.

Top Blends: The best of the company’s brews, straight from the Horse’s mouth

 

Kick Ass [Dark] Sweet, Smoky, Audacious

This cup of attitude mixes both Indonesian and Central American roasts to create a dark, flavourful creation guaranteed to kick some sense into you. Kicking Horse’s top blend.

 

Three Sisters [Medium] Smooth, Savoury, Seductive

A triple punch of light, medium, and dark flavours comes together in this medley of Indonesian, Central, and South American roasts. The name plays homage to the trio of peaks just outside of Banff National Park, near Canmore, AB.

 

454 Horse Power [Dark] Velvety, Earthy, Spirited

Easily the most powerful concoction Kicking Horse has created, this Indonesian, heavy-bodied coffee is rich with earthy and cocoa tones. The company’s lone female roaster took it upon herself to give the blend its now-infamous name, because this blend gets fired up to 454 degrees.