Paying your dues – coffee style – 2011

Geir Oglend - creator of Drumroaster Coffee and lots of things coffee culture.Andrea and I spent an early Saturday sitting in my all time favorite rural cafe – The Drumroaster – Just off the Island Highway at the Cowichan Bay turn-off.

We eschewed sleep, this 1st whole weekend back from a month in Hawaii, to hang out with foodie Don Genova and his lovely wife Ramona. We have been corresponding for some time now – and considering we are taking some cooking classes with Don – well, we thought it was a good idea to meet up and catch up.

Photo right – Don’t diss the gurus. Geir Oglend (and company) at Drumroaster Coffee knows his stuff. So, sit, listen and learn newbies…

So over a pot of Bunn Trifecta brewed Ethiopian coffee (the Trifecta was a completely new experience for me…) Andrea, Ramona, Don and I compared pleasant stories about our recent time in Hawaii – Like, what is more fun or almost as fun as going somewhere? Answer: Spending an hour talking about the highlights – and talking about future trips.

Let me say this about Drumroaster Coffee – one place on the Island that has that special edge. Like several other Victoria area cafes and bakeries, The DR has that rare quality of making every customer feel like family. It could be the intense attention to detail, greeting every familiar face, the owners and staff table surfing and taking that extra moment to find out what happening with folks.

It took me a long time to figure this out. Guess I was looking in the wrong direction. Owners Geir and Pat Oglend (and their coffee active family members – Courtney and Carsen) have played critical roles in shaping the Island coffee scene; co-creators of Serious Coffee, Broadwalk Coffee, and the first espresso carts ever added to Victoria.

My point is: When the Drumroaster people talk, listen… Listen if you want to learn something about coffee culture. Same applies to Habit Culture and Discovery Coffee… even Cafe Fantastico. When folks like Mark Engels talk about food and coffee culture at Bubby Roses Bakery, it is the straight goods. These people have been doing it right for a long time.

And the other thing I learned is – there is no “pecking order” in food and drink knowledge locally. We all know who has the most knowledge (named above) and that is not going to change. There is always going to be the elder statespersons in the local scene. Their knowledge is never going to be irrelevant.

This little rule (for me) applies here… in Vancouver, Seattle and beyond.

So shut up and learn.
That, folks, is my thinking today.