The satisfying taste of Bridgehead coffee is the result of a year-round collaboration with farmers and traders to bring you exceptional coffees. Our coffee team is always working on the next season of coffees, anticipating the results of upcoming harvests and coordinating with our partners to make sure our green coffees are both distinguished and delicious.
This March our coffee team spent over a month in Central America working directly with producers, building almost all of the coffees that we will be drinking when these coffees are fresh in season, between July and January. The result of this work is greatly improved quality well above and beyond what is ordinarily imported into Canada. Through this process we also achieve full traceability in our sourcing - right down to the two hectare family farm where the coffee is grown.
Our Peruvian coffees for 2017 are the result of similar work. In September 2016 our Director of Coffee, Ian Clark, spent two weeks in Northern Peru developing new relationships and collaborating with farmers and traders to ensure that we are getting something exceptional back here in Ottawa.
Peru is an important coffee origin for us because of the very large number of small-scale, organic farmers living in microclimates suitable for the production of great coffee. We buy our coffee in the northern highlands of Peru from producers living in many small mountain villages between the cities of Jaén and San Ignacio.
To learn more about these exceptional coffees and to learn the story of how they found there way from small mountain-top villages like Chirinos, El Corazon de Jesus and El Milagro to our roastery in Ottawa, check out our two YouTube series on Peru 2017!
Peru Fresh Crop 2017 (Playlist - 4 videos)
Peru Origin Trip 2016 (Playlist - 5 videos)
Kombucha is a sweetened, fermented tea that has been produced in Asia for more than 2,000 years. It was originally known as the “Tea of Immortality” dating back to the third century BC in China. In recent years, health stores in the West began to carry it because of its impressive probiotitc benefits from detoxifying and improved digestion to improved energy. This year it became a break through beverage with wider appeal.
Why do we love it?
Kombucha has a notable fizzy, carbonated taste that makes it a great alternative to sodas and alcoholic beverages. Want to feel festive without the alcohol - try kombucha. Craving a crisp refresher after a ski, spin, or cycle - grab a kombucha. Looking for a new twist in your mixology - reach for kombucha!
Seriously, it’s a renaissance drink.
We start with our fairly traded and organic tea. We sourced them directly from gardens in China, India, and Sri Lanka. The tea is brewed, sweetened and fermented using a symbiotic colony of both yeast and bacteria called a ‘scoby’. This scoby, or ‘mother’, slowly converts sugar in the tea into CO2 to give it a lightly fizzy, carbonated texture, and ethanol which results in a negligible alcohol content of less than 1%. This process is controlled by time – the longer the kombucha is left to ferment, the more sugar is consumed. Given the complexity of kombucha, we’ve taken the time to make sure we’re getting the recipes right.
Once the tea is fermented it’s ready to enjoy or blend with fresh juice. Our Iron Goddess Oolong kombucha has nothing added. It’s simply beautiful oolong tea that has the colour and consistency of champagne in the glass. Our Raspberry Green is green tea kombucha with macerated raspberries for a light berry blush. Our Jasmine Green Ginger starts with our delicate Jasmine Scented Green with fresh pressed ginger juice.
Enjoy our kombucha by the bottle at all Bridgehead shops and on tap at many locations. One litre growlers of Raspberry Green are available at our Roastery and will roll out to all shops soon.
Visit our shop listings to see which ones have kombucha taps. We are looking forward to new kombucha creations in the coming year.
We love being an Ottawa home-grown business with so many local farms nearby to partner with. One such partnership is with Rideau Pines Farm over in North Gower. The Vandenbergs took over an abandoned dairy farm in 1980 and revamped the poorly drained spot into a great place for growing a mix of berries and vegetables.
Have you had a chance to enjoy one of our new summer salads? If so, you’ve already had the chance to taste some of these great ingredients grown just by your doorstep! We’re so excited to be buying kale, broccoli, cabbage, and other vegetables from Rideau Pines at the moment and simply can’t wait until we can taste some upcoming treats beets and strawberries. We are trying to incorporate as many locally produced fruits and vegetables in our food as we can to support our neighbours, maximize freshness and curtail the carbon footprint normally left by shipping produce over longer distances.
Rideau Pines, like a great many other farms, is often limited in the type of produce it’s able to put on the market. Farms and grocery shops alike can have a hard time selling ‘ugly’ produce that’s perfectly fresh and delicious, but not shaped similarly to the ‘perfect’ shape we normally expect. It may be surprising, but, up to 30% of perfectly good produce in Canada and United States can end up being tossed at some point in the supply chain due to cosmetics alone. Farms like Rideau Pines usually absorb the cost of this imperfectly shaped produce.
We’ve formed a partnership with Rideau Pines in which we’ll purchase much of their perfectly good food for use in products where the flavour of the produce is what counts rather then the look. In this way our soups, salads, and sandwiches will all benefit from having a much higher proportion of fresh ingredients from local farms. We will buy much of this typically unsellable produce when it’s in season and flash-freeze it in our kitchen to lock in as much of the freshness and nutrition as possible for use in soups during those cold winter months.
This partnership is a win/win for everyone involved. We’re able to keep more of the produce that goes into things like our soups local which means things like a smaller carbon footprint to produce the food, better, fresher flavours, and it benefits Rideau Pines Farm since they’re able to sell produce that they would otherwise not have been able to. If you’re curious to see the source of so much of the produce we use here in our food, you can even check out the farm for yourself! They’re open for produce sales, tractor rides, and you can even go and pick your own produce at the farm. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check them out by visiting their website.