The fascinating and terrifying truth about bootstrapping a roastery

(from our time capsule – originally posted in our newsletter in 2018 as we were just getting started with Luna)

Greetings from LÜNA! If you’re just joining us, we’re a tiny (but mighty) company that’s all about delightful coffee and the weird and wonderful world of those who love drinking it. 

You’ve been approved

This morning, I did what I shouldn’t be doing (checking my phone with a squinty, sleepy pirate eye) and opened my email to find the most excellent news – LÜNA is officially ready to rock, financially speaking – And not a moment too soon.  

With SCA Expo next week, and coffees to launch (not to mention a website!) Nate and I needed this whole month to be like clockwork. So far, so good. 

 Fascinating, terrifying, and so worth it. 

This week, our faces were buried in document after document, as we move through the process of learning how to export to the US properly so the FDA likes us, and all the accounting fun. This stuff is part and parcel of starting a coffee company, and of course we have to get it done. It all has us dreaming of the summer, when we can simply roast and write to you guys, dream big and find even more ways to make buying light, bright, delightful coffee an easy process. It should be easy, right? 

I’d say to be honest, it isn’t always a no brainer when you’re trying to find a coffee to buy that is exactly what you’re looking for. There has never been so many roasters getting their start, and it’s only adding to the cacophony of marketing speak, the newest dogma on extraction %, roasting theory, and all kinds of content to wade through. We’ve all been there at some point – grab a bag of something off the shelf that says it’s going to taste like (usually 3) specific things, only to brew it at home, and never find its sweet spot. Well, at the very least, it should taste good, and certainly it should deliver on flavour profile. 

For Nate and I, we want to buy traceable coffees that are the best raw ingredient we can find, and roast them to highlight those traits. That’s it. That sort of means we’ve restrained ourselves to a limited menu (when we ramp up, we envision around 4 coffees to choose from at any given time), and we’re proud of it. To be giving our full attention to what the coffee is tasting like, and relate that to the entire design and writing on each coffee, is something we’ve envisioned our future coffee company would excel at (um, spoiler alert: That’s LÜNA). 

So if you were wondering how we’re feeling right now, as LÜNA is launched into the world over the next few weeks with the launch of the website, I’d say this:

We’re fascinated by the process of starting a bootstrapped roasting company with nothing but the experience and passion we both have. 

We’re terrified by what we don’t yet know (we’ll find out I suppose).

But it’s so worth it to nurture the vision – Bring you guys only the coffees that make us smile.

Where to find LÜNA this week 

Ratio Coffee in Vernon, BC – LÜNA is Ratio’s guest roaster all April! Ask for Electric Lime (I think they are pulling it as espresso right now), or Disco Marmalade on pour over. Also bags for home.

Birds and the Beets in gastown  – Retail bags of Disco Marmalade and Electric Lime as well as Electric Lime on drip (ask for it!)

Kafkas in Mount Pleasant is serving Disco Marmalade on pourover and there may be a few retail bags for home. Check it out! 

Small Victory in Yaletown is on the tail end of  Disco Marmalade. If you’re around, say hi, and grab a pour over or a bag for home. 

Hey Happy on Lower Johnson In Victoria, BC – They are carrying retail bags of both Disco Marmalade and Electric Lime. Likely brewing one of the two as well on espresso or drip  – Be curious and go say hey 🙂 

Aubade Has both Electic Lime and Disco Marmalade. If you haven’t been to Aubade yet, you should. 

So far, LÜNA has been the conduit of our vision: Bring beautiful, bright coffees, with a focus on light roasting – coffees that highlight articulation with clean and clear flavour, to people who want to have a delightful coffee in the morning. That’s it. Simple as that. 

Keep it light bright!
 Laura & Nate


On rotation👇🎉

The back story…

This story starts in the early 2000’s, in the Santa Barbara region of Honduras. Here, with winding dirt roads, and steep mountain-slopes are tight-knit communities, who (at that time) had a terrible reputation for producing the lowest quality coffee in the country.

The closest dry mill (Beneficio San Vicente) regularly received wet parchment coffee from these families, and due to the state it was received in, not picked ripe or processed well, its fate was to be sold in the local market all blended together.

Then one day everything completely changed. In 2005, when a young Benjamin Paz began working more closely with his family at the dry mill, they decided together to try working with one of the producers up the mountain range, entering a specially prepared lot into the Cup of Excellence competition.

The day when that lot took an astonishing first place (!!), it was a paradigm shift for the people of Santa Barbara -That moment was the start of a new reputation as high-quality coffee producers.

Fast forward years later – Routinely, Santa Barbara coffees place in the top 10 and often win. In fact, Ovidio Gomez (who grows this coffee) placed in the international auction for COE in 2011.Ovidio Gomez is part of a lineage of 4 generations all producing coffee. He’s got 4.4 hectares cultivating Pacas, Catuai and San Ramon (we have the San Ramon, a Typica strain). Ovidio began producing coffee in 1995 and has seen with his own eyes the complete shift, allowing Santa Barbara to not only shed its reputation for bad coffee but to attain the well-earned reputation as the most respected and award-winning regions in Honduras.

This coffee from Ovidio Gomez has a lovely lime acidity. cardamom-like spice, and a honeyed sweetness. As a selection of 100% San Ramon cultivar, this coffee is a lovely example of the Santa Barbara region and is shared here as Electric Lime.


DISCO MARMALADE

This coffee from the Bishan Fugu community, assisted by Hambela estate, has flavours of bright bergamot and is intensely sweet (think white grapes). These heirloom varieties are a stellar example of the Guji region and is shared here as Disco Marmalade.

The back story…

In 1934 Ethiopia, a young woman named Muluemebet, with equal parts fierceness and confidence overcame the odds and became Africa’s first female pilot. She flew an aircraft called the Tiger Moth a number of times a week over Addis Ababa and was determined to complete her pilot training and start a career. Her efforts were almost unbelievable at a time
when it was nearly impossible as a woman to get your drivers license.

In a twist of fate, Italian troops invaded Ethiopia in 1936, forcing Muluemebet into hiding (she was on their hit list). Trading in your dream for the domestic life seems a bit anti-climactic, but what happens next involves moving forward to today, this coffee and a continued legacy.

Ethiopian government awarded Muluemebet land as recognition for her efforts during the war and decades later Aman Adinew, her grandson, is entrusted with this same land – Hambela Estate.

The Adinew family manages Hambela Estate with the same drive that Muluemebet showed as she learned to fly all those years ago. They not only employ the local community complete with healthcare but also provide agronomy assistance for smallholders. The quality of the lots produced under the guidance of Aman and his team are consistently gorgeous and vibrant.

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