Staying grounded: New coffee business bringing owner closer to home

There's something in the air around Bonne Bay Pond - the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans wafting from David Mosher's shed.

Gros Morne Coffee Roasters started selling beans in June

David Mosher and Laurel McMichael have turned their love of coffee into a small business. (Submitted by David Mosher)

There's something in the air around Bonne Bay Pond near the south entrance to Gros Morne National Park — the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans wafting from David Mosher's shed.

The coffee lover invested in a small commercial roaster about three years ago, and he and his wife Laurel McMichael have been honing the craft since then, using family and friends as guinea pigs and fine tuning flavour profiles.

Mosher grew up in Corner Brook and has been working as an I-T consultant all over Canada, the U.S. and Asia for the past 30 years.

Mosher has been roasting beans from Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Nicaragua, Sumatra and Ethiopia this summer, but never blends different varieties. (Submitted by David Mosher)

The first bags of Gros Morne Coffee beans went on sale at the end of June, and Mosher hopes the business will allow them to spend a lot more time on the west coast.

"We always joke that the more we see of the world, the more we appreciate western Newfoundland and all that it has to offer," he said.

"We saw a real opportunity to jump on. There's a bit of a renaissance in western Newfoundland with small artisanal businesses right now." 

Burnt doesn't mean strong 

Mosher is following what he calls a current trend in the industry to roast beans to a medium level.

"Strength of coffee has nothing to do with the degree to which its roasted ... dialing back the roasting also brings out the unique characteristics of each different type,"  he explained.

The beans are sold at an art gallery, pharmacy, visitor's centre and KOA Campground in Rocky Harbour, the Discovery Centre in Norris Point, the Cormack Farmer's Market and George's Mountain Village in Steady Brook. (Submitted by David Mosher)

Beans are often combined and blended to produce a consistent product time and time again, but Mosher said he prefers to stick to one variety per bag.

Nutty characteristics and floral notes

"We're more focused on looking at it like the wine industry, where people are aware of the differences between beans from different parts of the world," said Mosher.

"If you get a Sumatra coffee from us all the coffee beans in that bag are from Sumatra, and we really try by roasting it to medium to bring out those nutty characteristics, that sort of almond flavour that Sumatran coffees are known for.  Whereas let's say a Guatemala coffee, it's going to be a little bit more silky with sort of floral notes."

Mosher worked in San Francisco much of last year, and used the opportunity 'to learn from some of the most well-known coffee aficionados in the world.' (Submitted by David Mosher)

Mosher has concentrated on six different varieties of beans this summer, roasting about 30 pounds a couple of times a week.

For now the half-pound bags are on sale at six locations — in Rocky Harbour, Norris Point and Steady Brook — and they'll look at expanding once they've nailed down the supply and demand.

Mosher also takes orders via his Facebook page, and will deliver to customers in the area or send beans out by mail.

"We're happy to get coffee to anyone that's interested in trying some really great coffee."

Mosher wanted a look that would appeal to tourists as well as locals, and he says the Gros Morne fjord was the perfect choice for packaging and promotional material. (Facebook)

With files from the Corner Brook Morning Show