Q&A With Rabbit Hole Roasters
Rabbit Hole Roasters was crowned 2023 Micro Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine. We caught up with David Lalonde, co-owner of Rabbit Hole Roasters to learn how the whirlwind of the last few months has been for them.
- Congratulations on winning! Can you tell us a bit about how it's been the last few months?
It has felt really good, to be honest. The competition isn’t just about taste; the first category is all about your values, how you buy your green coffee and what you stand for as a business. That's why we were drawn to the competition. They investigate your business, they look at your website, how you talk about coffee on social media and your sustainability practices. Then they narrow it down to 3 roasters and those roasters send in samples of their coffee. That's when they taste the coffee and crown a winner. From a business standpoint, it has brought a bunch of eyes on us which has been completely wild the last few months. It’s really nice to be able to share with the world what we are all about. Yes, we think we roast tasty coffee, but we want to go beyond that and talk about different aspects of the coffee industry.
- What are the aspects you’re looking to focus on in the future?
We throw the word sustainability around in the coffee industry pretty loosely without meaning what it really means. We want to try and really address sustainability. I have become very interested in coffee economics and how that relates to the sustainability of our industry. One thing I think is important is for us, as roasters, is to stop thinking about coffee from the perspective of what makes the most sense for us. We need to focus on what makes sense for people working at origin. Rather than think of ourselves first we need to find out what works best for them; we need to flip the script.
- What are your green sourcing ethos?
We want to buy the same coffee harvest after harvest. Committing to a farmer in advance that you are going to buy their coffee is the thing that brings farmers the most stability. This is what we base all of our buying on and we really really want to double down on that. We want to partner with importing companies that focus on the local market.
- How have you evolved as a roaster since you began and what are your plans for the future?
We started in a co-roasting space 4 years ago. Then two and a half years ago we moved into our own space. We’ve started roasting on a Loring which has been a game changer for us. It uses convection rather than conduction and this has allowed us to explore different aspects of roasting coffee. About 6 months after we started using it, people told us that they could pick out our coffees on a cupping table; that they could taste our unique style.
In the future, we want to double down on sharing coffee information. We want to dive deeper into the topics we are interested in and maybe take more of a journalistic approach to talking about coffee. We are considering a newsletter or a podcast; there are lots of different possibilities.