Coffee connoisseur and a self-proclaimed perfectionist Pierre Richard built Happy Goat Coffee from the ground up (pun intended!!). He began roasting top-quality green coffee beans directly from small farms in very small, fiddly batches in his Mechanicsville garage a few years ago.
Coffee lovers flocked to the quirky address for some of the freshest, crisp and clean, utterly complex cups of coffee around. This is the kind of java that creates a cult following and gets people talking like drunken sommeliers — describing coffee’s floral aromas, hints of jasmine, and bittersweet dark chocolate notes.
Happy Goat devotees (including all three Ottawa Magazine food writers) are bucking the trend in home brewing towards single-serve pod coffee makers by embracing and celebrating the craft brewing experience. In large part, we can thank Richard, who has made our coffee addictions easy to feed; bags of freshly roasted beans are available in good food shops around town as well as offering online shopping with free home delivery and subscriptions.
I wasn’t too surprised to learn that the rising demand for Happy Goat beans meant change was coming; Richard was outgrowing his roasting capacity. A few months ago, he began having some of his coffee roasted off-site, at a place called Wake Cup Coffee Roaster that has been roasting beans for the wholesale market for the last 25 years. Each batch would produce 12 kilos of beans rather than the 2 kilos Richard was able to roast at home at one time.
After working together and seeing an opportunity for partnership, Wake Cup’s owner Henry Assad, a roastmaster in his own right, invited Richard to join his company. And that’s how Happy Goat got its new home, an impressive roasting facility in Hintonburg that shares its space with a 30-seat café (formerly Le Michel-Ange Café, which is now located in the lobby of the GCTC).
After some renovations to update the retail-warehouse space, the new Happy Goat Coffee Company opened its doors this week at 35 Laurel. Richard will remain the face of the company, and retains responsibility for the online sales and marketing of his coffees.
“These larger machines are still 100% manual, “ explains Richard standing next to a very old Turkish roaster that resembles the front of a steam engine train. “It still keeps an artisanal touch.”
Happy Goat Coffee Company, 35 Laurel St.