Roaster Spotlight

Hatch Coffee - Markham, ON

Hatch Coffee Q&A with Alfonso Tupaz:

What led you to start Hatch Coffee? How’d you get into coffee?

So for me it started about seven years, roasting coffee by hand. The coffee start was from the passion and personal side.

I was based in West Africa and my background is in finance and manufacturing. In one of the factories that I lived in we had a machine shop and one day they ran out of coffee. Timmies! I was bringing Timmies with me every quarter, on my travels back and forth to Canada. I ran out of coffee - I didn’t time one of my returns to Canada properly. I ran out of coffee, I was like, "Okay, we have a machine shop, we have people that can build stuff why don't we just build a roaster." And we did.

So for me it started about seven years, roasting coffee by hand. The coffee start was from the passion and personal side.

We built small little hand crank roaster and started roasting green coffee by hand. And that first roast of coffee changed everything.

Getting into especially coffee is a one way ticket. I really jumped down that rabbit hole, within a month, I became a full blown coffee nerd, read all the books, bought all the books. Did everything from pourovers to whatever I would get my hands on. Then I decided this is what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

How was roasting that very first time? Where did you get that coffee from and that first batch of coffee… did it actually taste good?

I think it's one of those things when you first taste something that you're not familiar with, or you’re first trying, thinking it's bad it always turns out to be really good. And then your second batch is like, "Oh, what is this? This is terrible."

I think it's, maybe it's expectation, or just beginners luck, but that first batch is what really changed my mind on the coffee. It was super sweet. It was smooth. I had no idea what I was doing, but I roasted the coffee, for like 12 minutes to 13 minutes. I couldn't control the temperature, because I was using charcoal as the heat source.

I had gotten those first set of green coffees from Ethiopia. I was lucky because somebody was coming back from vacation, and I asked him to bring some green coffee from there to the factory in Africa.

Fast forward a few years, you’ve got a full operation here in Markham, always bringing in interesting single origin coffees and have a 15,000 square foot Cold Brew facility. What’s the main thing you’re striving for?

We're always operating with an open mentality and have an open door policy place. We like talking to people, they might be our competitors but we treat it more co-opetition, because we're all in this together, to help lift the specialty coffee community here in Toronto and Canada.

I think one thing to take into account is that it's possible to run an operation, be competitive, have unique offerings and at the same time be a good person and a good company.