Kicking Horse Coffee kicking goals

(From the January 2014 issue of Global Coffee Review.)

Kicking Horse Coffee blazed a trail to become Canada’s largest roaster of Fairtrade organic coffee. But, as Tom Hoyne, the company’s Vice President of Coffee Quality Assurance says, they’re not done yet.

When Kicking Horse Coffee founders Leo Johnson and Elana Rosenfeld made the decision to only sell coffee that was certified as being both Fairtrade and Organic, they were met with skepticism on both sides of their business. “There was a lot of scepticism from importers and from the customer-base at that time,” says Tom Hoyne.

That cynicism was fuelled by doubt, on the one side that a growing coffee roaster would be unable to find a consistent supply of coffee with both certifications, while on the other side there remained doubt as to whether consumers would be willing to pay the inevitable premium that such coffee would demand.

But having started out roasting coffee in their garage in the small Rocky Mountain town of Invermere more than a decade before, neither Johnson nor Rosenfeld were afraid of challenging conventional wisdom.