Qualicum Beach-based French Press Coffee Roasters earned a silver medal at the world’s largest coffee roasters competition.
The Golden Bean competition, held this year in Portland in September, aims to find North America’s best coffee roasting business with coffees being judged in categories such as espresso, milk-based and filter beverages.
French Press Coffee Roasters submitted their Home blend roast which took silver in the milk-based category.
Owner Jeremy Perkins said this was the first coffee roasting competition he’s entered and that it was a sort of last-minute decision to submit. He only entered one coffee in one category but said sometimes roasters will enter up to 10 coffees.
“We just entered one category so we were super pleased,” he said. “There were over 1,000 entrants (in the milk-based category).”
Perkins’s winning coffee is a blend of Ethiopian and Brazilian single estate coffees that he describes as having hints of stone fruit, walnut and chocolate.
“Floral and fruity are quite often flavours you get from natural Ethiopian coffees and then I also wanted a good base. The biggest (coffee) producer in the world is Brazil so with a Brazilian coffee we get some nuts and chocolate, so I put the two together. It works well because it’s a bolder coffee.”
Perkins said judges at the Golden Bean competition blind taste test the coffees entered in the various categories and score the blends on a variety of brewing methods like acidity, sweetness, flavour balance and mouth feel.
Although Perkins didn’t attend the competition, he said he watched it unfold on his phone.
“I was going out for dinner that night and I was getting ready in the bathroom with my phone propped up watching it online being announced,” he said. “They went through the bronze medals for the (milk-based) category and I thought ‘well that’s that then, there’s no way’. Then they went ‘silver medals… French Press Coffee Roasters’. I was quite pleased.”
Perkins, who is from the United Kingdom, first began his journey with coffee after taking a break from his professional career as a violist. His contract with the Phantom of the Opera was coming to an end and he wanted to settle down from a busy touring schedule.
“I bought a house in Yorkshire which is where I was originally from. I always wanted to open a business and coffee was getting big there,” he said. “I thought I like coffee, I’ve always been interested in coffee, I’ll open a coffee shop.”
With his new business being more demanding than he anticipated, Perkins didn’t end up going back to his violist gig and remained devoted to all things coffee.
He eventually opened a second coffee shop and a roasting company with his brother called Beans Brothers Coffee Company.
In September 2017, Perkins moved to Parksville with his wife Hannah and their children and bought French Press cafe in Qualicum Beach. He quickly ordered a coffee roaster and the business expanded to a roasting company with a second location in Coombs (2340 Alberni Highway) that opened as a store front a couple of weeks ago.