After establishing a devoted following at its first retail bar in the heart of Vancouver’s historic Gastown district a little over three years ago, Timbertrain Coffee Roasters has followed the rails two miles straight east to open its second location, the Depot.
At the corner of McLean Drive and Frances Street, the Depot facility offered the young roasting company an opportunity to relocate from its off-site roastery in Langley and develop a new production headquarters, while taking visitors to the new bar along for the ride with clear views throughout the space.
“We are really proud of what we are doing and wanted it to be something we opened up to the public,” Timbertrain Wholesale Director Kevin McConnell told Daily Coffee News. “It also allows us to have a space where our wholesale accounts and anyone considering using our coffee can come learn about us. The back space for us is a welcoming meeting and coffee tasting area for those conversations.”
That back space — which is visually connected to the front of the house through stricking black-and-white-striped walls juxtaposed with exposed concrete — includes a Loring S15 Falcon that is new to the company.
“We were looking for greater control and clarity in the roast process and decided to go with a roaster that would challenge us to really be precise and calculated with every roast,” McConnell said of the Loring’s capabilities. “Its an awesome learning process and we continue to be proud of the coffee we are putting forward.”
With a range of existing wholesale accounts and some more exacting and experimental offerings for sale in the Timbertrain cafés and through other multiroaster shops, the company is currently sourcing coffees from Cafe Imports, along with Ethiopia specialist Keffa Coffee, and B.C.-based companies Mountain Coffee and Swiss Water.
While the Gastown location predominantly features a slow bar, the Depot’s bar is centered around a Slayer Steam espresso machine complemented by a Mahlkonig Peak grinder, while a Fetco machine allows for batch brew throughout the day. An even wider range of equipment exists in the shop’s back bar, where a Black Eagle espresso machine and no fewer than four grinders are used for training and education purposes.
“It is really a production space with a retail front area and mixed used back area,” McConnell said. “I would say it’s a 50/50 split because we are here welcoming customers into the space for coffee and pastries and they see the roasting happening.”
In approaching design, Timbertrain wanted customers to fully perceive the space’s multiple uses, to draw them into the production elements. Said McConnell, “We were wanting to have a warehouse type space that didn’t feel like anything else in the city as a cafe or a production space.”
The Timbertrain Coffee Roasters Depot is now open at 551 McLean Drive in Vancouver, B.C.