Q&A with Counterpart Coffee
Hailing from Squamish, British Columbia is Counterpart Coffee. Run by Emily Lehnen and Tim Knutton, this two-person roastery is a staple in the Canadian specialty coffee scene. We caught up with Lehnen to learn more about how they started and their new roaster!
- What is the origin story of Counterpart Coffee?
When we moved to Squamish, we were both working for ourselves. I was a woodworker, and Tim was doing safety consulting. Tim was just roasting coffee from home, but we were both passionate about coffee and wanted to find something we could do based out of Squamish. So we decided to start a little business of it. There wasn’t anyone else roasting out of Squamish proper at the time, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to give local businesses the option to buy locally roasted coffee.
- What is the specialty coffee scene like in Squamish?
Squamish has a great specialty coffee scene, especially considering the town’s size. Traditionally, with small towns that used to be more industry-based, you would expect fewer coffee nerds, but Squamish has a lot of coffee nerds. We have a following of people who are really stoked to have a roaster roasting light roasts and unique coffees and having different options. You have been involved in the Mataquescuintla project for a long time. How does that align with your green-sourcing ethos?
That is a really important project for us and part of our menu. We have been buying from them for five years. Generally, we source as much as we can through direct relationships with our imports. We try to work with Canadian importers and make commitments with them that once we start buying from a producer, we will do our best to continue buying from them year after year. That way, the importers have that security and can pass that on to producers as well.
- What are your plans for the future?
We just upgraded our roaster this summer. We are roasting on a Loring now, and we are loving that. Dialing it all in has been fun, and getting to know it as a machine. It has improved our roasting quite a bit. We want to grow the company at a reasonable and steady rate so we can continue to share the coffees we love with everyone.