Q&A with Amanda Nicoletti, the co-owner of Foglifter Coffee Roasters

This family-run business is now nested in the corner of Main and 20th in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

The owners, Amanda and Wayne Nicoletti, have occupied this space for 16 years. First, with the company Bean Around the World, which was forced to shut its doors in 2017 when the building was demolished. When a new building went up in 2021, the owners of it asked the Nicolettis to come back and reopen the cafe that had been a neighbourhood staple.

Craving more autonomy with their coffee sourcing and roasting, the Nicolletis decided to branch out and develop their own brand. They spent 3 years perfecting their roasting style and crafting their new identity. When they reopened in 2020 it was under the name, Foglifter Coffee Roasters and it was completely their own. 

We caught up with Amanda Nicoletti to learn more about their new venture, the values they proudly steep into their business and the story behind the name Foglifter.

- What’s the story behind the name Foglifter?

We went through names for two years, trying to find something that encapsulated the imagery of where we roast from. We roast from our home, which overlooks Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island. There is a private school on the lake that has a robust rowing program so, the lake is often full of rowboats and regattas. When we were creating Foglifter, we wanted to evoke Shawnigan as a sense of place, and where we are rooted. One day, we arrived at Foglifter, which very much represented the lake, and also evokes coffee, and the morning. The image in the logo is basically the backdrop of our lives here and we wanted to share that. It was designed by an incredible local artist named Ben Didier

- How has it been since reopening?

It’s been great! When we were closed for those three years, I really missed having a cafe. I find it fulfilling to be part of a community and see the same people every day. I value sourcing coffee and the creativity of roasting—I love to share our coffee and get people excited about it. And, I like that this industry allows me to bring my values into my day-to-day work.

- What are the values you try to bring into your work?

Relationships are very important to us. We are the beneficiaries of people who value small businesses and local businesses. So in turn, we share that value and we like to work with, and source from, small family-owned businesses as
well. When we are sourcing anything, we try to start small. I try to find producers that people are really excited about, or ones that need support. I like to work with people we can ensure we can buy from year after year; I like when they are able to expect our returning business. I look for producers that are reinvesting in their community.

Ricardo Zelaya, a producer we work with in Guatemala, runs a program called The Santa Clara Scholarship Program. This program helps Finca Santa Clara employees send their children to school, by assisting them with buying books and uniforms and organizing transportation. The program now has over thirty recipients. Our family has been sponsoring five children in the program since 2017. One of them just became the first student in the program to graduate from university.

Coffees in Issue #10

In the Classic & Approachable Pack

Sumatra Takengon Mandheling Organic 

• The Indonesian coffee went through the traditional giling basah wet-hulling process. It has tasting notes of Medjool dates, whiskey and earth. 

In the Espresso Pack

Mayan Harvest Women's Group Espresso

• This Mexican coffee is a blend of bourbon, caturra and catimor varietals. It has tasting notes of pomelo, pecan and cream. 

In the Decaf Pack

Ricardo Zelaya Decaf

• This is a washed coffee from Guatemala. It has tasting notes of plum, tobacco and cocoa. 

September 23, 2022 — Zara Snitman

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