What We Do
We are a small-scale roaster located just outside of Ottawa in a little town called Almonte. That's where we roast all of our coffee; it's also where we have a cafe and our offices. In December 2014, we opened up cafe in Ottawa (Westboro Village) but the primary focus of our business is and has always been roasting and wholesaling coffee to cafes, restaurants and grocery stores in the Ottawa Valley and beyond. Our coffee is 100% organic specialty coffee. We source directly from small-scale producer cooperatives through our own roaster-member co-op, Cooperative Coffees. Co-op Coffees is a green coffee importing co-op made up of 23 like-minded roasters throughout North America. Through the co-op, we are privileged to have direct, transparent, and sustainable relationships with our trading partners.
How We Began
Equator Coffee Roasters was founded in 1998 by Craig and Amber Hall. Craig had just completed a degree in International Development from Trent University where he learned all about the exploitation of small-scale farmers in the coffee industry. He also saw the beginnings of a Fair Trade Movement hoping to make a difference in that industry. He wanted to take part in it. Craig realized that by providing high quality fair trade and organic coffee, we, the privileged North, could begin to help our neighbours in the South, thus “Equate”ing the benefit for all - inspiration for our name! Craig, Amber, and the Equator team continue to work directly with farmers and have visited cooperatives in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, Peru, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.
How We've Grown
Equator fired up its first roaster in a small house in Arnprior with a room for roasting, one for sales, and one for seating. Once the wholesale business started to grow, we moved our roasting operations to a small commercial location a couple of years later. In 2005, Equator relocated to Almonte and reopened the café part of the business with a production area in the back. Almonte has been very supportive of our business and with steady growth, we were able to move into a larger space on the "main drag" in 2011. Our new home has a large production and office area and with the café, we've included an area for art displays and a boardroom and quality control area we call the 'Cupping Lab'. It's always open for visits so come on by!