While a barista can brew you an exceptional espresso, their technique won’t mean java unless they start with well roasted beans.

That’s where Trevis Boyd, the owner and roast master behind Black Pearl, has maintained his focus through the years.

“Being able to find the sweet spot of a coffee, we’ll do two or three roasts of the same coffee,” said Boyd. “We don’t say it’s going to be light, it’s going to be dark. We look for the ideal spot where we are going to get the most desirable flavours out of that coffee.”

Boyd started his roasting and café business back in 2000, after moving his family to his wife’s home of Winnipeg.

In his past life he was a prosthetic technician in Olympia, Washington. The job kept him on the road too much, but the location opened his eyes to the beauty behind a good bean.

Black Pearl

Trevis Boyd looks for the ideal spot where he can get the most desirable flavours out of the coffee. (Mike Green )

“Olympia, Seattle, Portland, that’s coffee mecca. If you want to look at unique coffee culture, that’s the place to go,” said Boyd.

“So there was a gentleman about three miles from our house who had been a roaster, we bought coffee from him and he became a good friend. And when I was looking for a career change, this [moving to Winnipeg] was far removed from his business, so he became my mentor.”     

Under this guidance, along with a lot of trial and error, Boyd has developed a loyal clientele while being one of the first of two coffee roasters in Manitoba. (To date, there are only five other roasters in the Province).

Some of this has to do with his equipment – along with an engineer Boyd has modified his commercial roasters – while a thirst for more roasting knowledge often takes him across the continent.

 “We have a lot of proprietary things, so when I go to the US, or other parts of the country far enough removed, I’m willing to share some of it with someone who is willing to share information with me,” said Boyd. 

Unlike large distributors, Black Pearl only roasts to order for the numerous cafés and restaurants they supply. They also make custom blends, and he can guide you to a bag of beans that will suit your tastes, be it low acidity, or a smokier finish.

What gets me the most about Boyd though is he is a talker, and you get the feeling after having sipped espressos with him that what really perks his interest is talking shop.

“There have been opportunities to mainstream our stuff.... But then I'd be in an office,” said Boyd. “I like roasting. I like talking to clients up front.”

Black Pearl is located at 460 Dufferin Ave. in Winnipeg, Man.