Victoria Summer 2011 About Victoria – Kicking it old school with Yoka

I am a big advocate for buying your coffee whole bean – recently roasted and ideally direct from the roaster.
That way you know what you are getting, you are supporting local business and getting a product that is fresh and ideal for immediate consumption.

Photo left – Yoka keeps it old school at #5- 1046 Mason Street in the historic North Park neighborhood – High Cook near Wellburns Grocery

Here is the thing about coffee. It is a food product and like many others, has a freshness sweet spot. And to put this into perspective, whole bean or ground coffee is not like a bowl of rice or lentils or flour that can sit in a fairly air tight container indefinitely.

It is more like a bowl of fruit or a head of lettuce. And we all know that these food items are fairly fragile and only consumable for X number of days.

So how long is freshly roasted coffee good for? Opinions vary but it generally accepted that whole bean coffee is most ideal between 3 and 11 days off the roast day. Some folks extend this a bit but here is the thing. The moment coffee is roasted, it starts to give off carbon dioxide and this degassing process protects the coffee from the inevitable incursion of oxygen (the oxidizer) which stales coffee. Coffees degas at different rates but it is a given that whole bean coffee has the best and freshest flavor to offer between 3 and 7 days off roast. Between 7 to 12 days, the beans are running out of CO2 to release – and after that, the oxygen makes swift work of robbing the coffee of its great taste.

Yoka and her partner Tristan have been running a coffee roaster and shop since 1983 in Vancouver and recently moved their operation to Victoria for a change of pace. In addition to a wide selection of darker roast old origin coffees, they offer whole Belgian chocolate and local honey. There is a seating area for sipping on of their brews and they have a single group Rancilio for an espresso, latte or cappuccino.

Yoka runs a neat operation in that it is somewhat old school – fresh roast coffee in glass bins, old style weighing scales and a roaster in the main room. They event won a Hallmark heritage nod on the update and redesigns to the building on Mason.

Their roast profiles tend to roll towards the darker of the spectrum and get this, they have 3 different roast profiles on the Swiss Water organic decaf – the best decaf in the World… that is produced in Burnaby of all places.

Yoka’s shop is open Tuesday to Saturday 9AM til late in the afternoon – come on by and make sure you tell them that Colin sent you!