Disclosure: This was a complimentary sampling provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation.
Where does your coffee come from? For most people, they’ll guess “somewhere between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn” or they’ll look up the brand they just bought. It’s harder to pinpoint which family specifically has grown your beans, and that’s where a company like Companion Whole Foods comes in. These folks themselves travel to Nariño Department, Colombia to visit friends and farmers involved in the process of bean-to-bar, fair-trade, naturally-grown, and all the other buzzwords associated with what’s considered a “good” bean. I had the opportunity to try their coffee and cacao so read past the jump to hear all about what makes these guys geographically superior to the competition.
I had the chance to try the following:
- Companion Co. Medium Roast Coffee Beans ($20/500g bag)
- A handful of Whole Bean Cacao (reg. $22/500g bag)
The Companion Co. coffee beans come in a rather unassuming package but has a bold logo and a very tight seal. Breaking this open and getting my first whiff I tasted notes of fresh chocolatey coffee bean. Looking inside the bag, I was pleased to see the beans were all intact. That is, no bean in sight was previously cracked in shipping so potency was retained during the trip from near the Andes into my hands.
As I only had basic coffee equipment at home, I had my friend Angus over for coffee and we brewed a batch using an AeroPress. This method led to a pretty quick brew and produced an opaque coffee as we adhered to regular brewing directions.
Taking our first sips of the coffee, I noticed there was zero grainy residue in the glass nor was there any oily film greasing the top of the coffee. In the past few months, I noticed the Starbucks brew we use at the office tends to have a filmy top even after the pipes were serviced, so this was a welcome sight.
The coffee had, as previously whiffed, a chocolatey taste and a slight sweetness. We believe with the AeroPress that the coffee may have tasted less acidic compared to other brewing methods but a low-acidity cup is actually my preferred method.
At $20, this 500g bag does not compete with entry-level brands like Kicking Horse (found at Loblaws). Rather, it is meant to be the geographically-best coffee in the world sourced from optimal climate, elevation, and skilled farmers in Colombia. It’s an exquisite fair-trade, organic, single-origin bean, no doubt, but is likely worth splurging on while these folks are still growing with their partnered farmers. You’ll be able to find these beans at places like Ten Thousand Villages in Langley.
I also got a taste of Companion Whole Foods’ Whole Bean Cacao. These full-sized nibs similarly had a potent cacao aroma to them and were very edible. I took my one cup sample of cacao, grinded it up, blended it with some avocado, agave, and almond milk to create a raw vegan cacao mousse in less than 12 minutes. I sliced up an apple and used the wedges as dippers for the mousse. Delicious!
Overall, Companion Whole Foods is a small operation but has a strong farm-to-family mission that I believe is a relevant topic in today’s grocery world. For environementally-partial coffee drinkers who enjoy a chocolatey medium roast served dark, the Companion Co Medium Roast is worth trying and the 500g bag is a great value given its pedigree and number of designations. If you are a persistent surveyor of entry-level brand coffee, this may not be the coffee for you. Nontheless, I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next from Companion Whole Foods! Check them out at the following:
- Ten Thousand Villages (Langley)
- Unity Yoga (Commercial and 12th Ave, Vancouver)
- Rustic Roots Health Foods (Brookswood, Langley)
- Food Hub (Yew and York in Kitsilano, Vancouver)
- Kitchen Therapy (White Rock)
- Through their website