Given the crazy times we find ourselves in, and my sincere desire to strongly champion local in every way possible, I knew that this month's feature for our Coffee Roaster of the Month needed to be very local...as in here in Calgary.
The coffee community in Canada only continues to get stronger, and I know I am biased to say that Calgary has some of the best coffee roasters in Canada! But even with all the well known coffee roasters in this city, there are more that continue to pop up to bring their unique perspective into the specialty coffee community.
And with all that, let me introduce Collective Coffee Roasters as our April "Coffee Roaster of the Month". Led by the husband & wife team of Ryan & Victoria Luttrell they have been established since 2017 but it was really just this past February that they launched into the specialty coffee space here in Calgary!
I had the chance back in early February right as they launched to sit down with Ryan and hear more of his story. I knew it was one that had to be shared, and I wanted to make sure that would happen. So let me do just that, and introduce you to Collective Coffee.
To eliminate any confusion with this article since Collective Coffee & Commonly Coffee share the same initials I'll be asking my questions as [CC] with Collective being answered by [Collective] or [Ryan].
[CC] Q: Help our readers better understand who is the team behind Collective Coffee?
[Collective] Ryan Luttrell is our Founder and Director of Coffee. All of the coffees you drink have been selected by him. Victoria Luttrell is the Creative Mastermind. Any of the branding, packaging or social media you see is all from her incredibly creative mind.
[Ryan] I spent most of my life in Charlottetown, PEI, but moved to Calgary in 2013. I originally came to Calgary for a three week vacation but while I was here, I fell in love with the city and decided to move here permanently.
[CC] So what's your backstory in specialty coffee?
[Ryan] My introduction to specialty coffee was on a road trip across with my two best friends. While driving across the country we would constantly make pitstops at different Tim Hortons to grab cups of hot water so that we could brew coffee using our aeropress or V60. Heading back to the east coast with a new passion for coffee, the owners of the restaurant group I worked for found out and invited me to help them open two cafes (Bar1911 in Charlottetown and Grounded Coffee Bar in Halifax).
Being given the privilege to design a coffee program from scratch taught me so much about the specialty coffee industry and further solidified my passion. I help open two of the first multi-roasters in Atlantic Canada. After moving to Calgary, I got a job at Rosso Coffee Roasters as a café manage.
[CC] So who were some of your early influences?
[CC] Q: Tell us a bit about the history of Collective Coffee Roasters? How did it all begin?
[Ryan] This all started by me wanting to combine all of the different things that I was passionate about. Entrepreneurship, doing something to help people in developing countries, and of course coffee. I quickly realized that the best way to help people in developing countries was to empower them to make positive change in their countries, rather than me just going in there and throwing money at a problem.
I thought that if I could purchase coffee at a fair price that would allow farmers to grow their business, hire more people, offer their employees education housing and health care, that could really cause change.
[CC] So why the name Collective Coffee Roasters?
[Collective] We believe that no one can do anything on their own, especially with coffee. From planting,
farming, sourcing, roasting, all the way to brewing, there are so many people involved with each cup. We think it's important to highlight the fact that each sip of coffee is produced through a collective effort.
[CC] Q: In your opinion, what's the specialty coffee community like in Calgary/Canada? What do you love?
[Ryan] Calgary is a city where people truly care about each other. It's an amazing community to be a part of because it feels far more like a shared passion rather than a competitive business. We’ve had the privilege of roasting with both Rosso, and now School House Roasting Collaborative where our coffee is roasted on a Loring S35 Kestrel, and we feel this continues to showcase this collaborative spirit.
[CC] Q: On your website you share that you are committed to donating 50% of your profits, as well as your time and energy to non-profits and charities. That's amazing! Can you tell us a little bit more about why you are so committed to this level of generosity.
[Collective] Ultimately, we want to be a part of something greater than ourselves. This also comes back to the story behind our name. We want to ensure that we are honouring the collective efforts of the mighty team behind our beans. The way that we do this is by ensuring not only that the farmers get paid fairly, but that they have access to healthcare and education.
[CC] Q: So speaking of coffee, what are you drinking/enjoying right now?
[Ryan] Personally, it's hard for me to answer. I’ve been into Kenyan coffees lately, but my wife will always choose a natural Ethiopian. We love getting out to Canmore as frequently as we can and always make a stop at Eclipse Coffee Roasters to pick up a couple of bags.
[CC] Q: Tell the readers of commonly coffee about some of your recent accomplishments. Or any upcoming announcements?
[Collective] We recently made the move to sourcing our coffee through Jeff at Apex Coffee Imports and roasting our coffee through School House Roasting Collaborative. This was a huge move for us as we’re now selecting our own coffees and roast profiles.
We’re also incredibly excited about a big announcement that’s going to be coming up in the next couple of months regarding our international growth as a company but your readers will have to stay tuned for that!
[CC] Q: Anything else you'd like to share with our readers? How do they get their hands on your coffee?
[Ryan] I want to make sure people know how important sustainability is for us. Not just with how we source and purchase our coffee but also with how we chose our packaging. It's made using 100% carbon neutral methods and any CO2 that is produced during production or shipping is offset through various methods. Right now, we'd just love to have your readers grab some of our beans and enjoy them as much as we do! Best place to find them right now is online... www.ourcollective.ca
Find their beans: If you’re looking to get your hands on some beans then definitely check out their web-store for what they’re currently roasting!
Thank you so much to Ryan & Victoria for sharing about Collective Coffee and for being such a huge contributor to the coffee culture in Calgary! Keep up the great work!