Our Story


It all started in 2005 when Blake Hanacek co-founded AGRODEV, a non-governmental organization aiming to develop Kenya’s agriculture industry at the community level by promoting grassroots organic and sustainable practices.

Inspired by AGRODEV, in October 2006 Blake founded Agro Roasters, with the goal to fulfill the increasing demand of specialty and sustainable coffee in Vancouver. In a matter of months they had opened cafés on Granville Island and Yaletown.

With increasing demand from the wholesale side of the business, Blake and his partner, Lee, decided to scale down and sell the other two coffee shops, keeping only the East Vancouver location, which is also home of our roasting facility.

Dusty and his wife, Marina, moved to the neighbourhood in 2014 and that's when they stumbled across Agro Roasters for the first time.

Dusty had been working for Salt Spring Coffee since 2010, but had always dreamed of opening his own business. Throughout his time at Salt Spring Coffee, he held different positions in Operations, Facilities, Production and Supply Chain. 

In 2014 Dusty became the Director of Coffee, responsible for all aspects of production and procurement of green beans. Dusty travelled throughout Central and South America, visiting coffee farms and Co-ops to select the best coffee available, and to get to know and understand the needs of the farmers.

Dusty is a licensed Q-Grader, the equivalent for coffee as a sommelier for wine.

When Dusty heard that Blake and Lee were planning on making a career change, he and Marina talked and realized it was their turn to venture out on their own, and bought Agro Roasters.

They live East Van, just around the corner from Agro, with their dog Taco. 

  

Approach 

Quality: Our number one priority is sourcing the best, most unique beans in the world. We roast them to perfection, and cup every 12 kilo batch that comes out of our roaster to ensure that our highest standards are met in each cup.

Education: As the name implies, our approach is grounded in the importance of education. We take great pride in acting as a resource organization and liaison for farmers and consumers to learn about each-others needs. Agro started from the ground up as an international NGO. Acting as a resource and facilitator for coffee farmers in Kenya. Later the cafe was born due to lack of interest among already established roasters in supporting this kind of relationship with farmers. Our retail locations now provide a platform from which we enjoy sharing our knowledge with consumers who want to learn more.

Sustainability: From crop to cup we operate sustainably. When buying our coffees, consumers can rest assured that their coffee was produced sustainably, regardless of certification. The farmers that we work with are using ever evolving technologies to ensure that their product is grown sustainably and we facilitate these changes whenever possible. Our locations also operate sustainably in energy use, waste disposal, transportation and everything we do.

As Agro Roasters continually strives to achieve sustainability, we in turn improve economic, social and environmental conditions in the coffee industry. We recognize just how important sustainability is for current and future generations, and we would like to share our commitments with coffee lovers of all walks of life around the world.

Accessibility: This is perhaps the most vital component of our approach. All other efforts on our part are trivial unless our product and perspective is accessible to anyone and everyone who wishes to share in it. We realize just how powerful the consumer dollar can be and we want you to be able to vote with it. You do not have to be a specialty coffee drinker to connect with us--we will bring it to you.

 

Press

Industry experts: Vancouver coffee writers Mike and Shirley Wong recommend city's top cups of joe
Review of Agro Roasters: Our Search for Vancouver's Best Coffee
Vancouver Foodster 
Vancity Buzz-A Guide to Coffee Roasters in Vancouver
Noms-Made in Strathcona Tour
Hello Vancity-Public Tours of the Revitalized Strathcona Neighbourhood
Good Eat-Made in Strathcona Tour
604 Foodography-Made in Strathcona
Vancity Buzz-Hidden Gems
Novus TV