Early days of my coffee journey
Hi! My name is Abe Chen.
I am the owner and head roaster for Pop Coffee Works.
My journey with coffee started in Vancouver, BC.
I worked as a barista at big chain coffee shops and in my spare time I would roast coffee at my home garage with my little Huky 500 drum roaster.
I would read every roasting book I could find. Testing and experimenting on these theories myself.
I tried to learn as much as possible on this subject by myself but that wasn’t enough.
So in the following 2 years, I finished all the Specialty Coffee Association educational pathways (barista, green buyer, roaster, golden cup technician).
In 2015, I got my CQI Q grader license and went on my first coffee farm visit to Thailand with my Q grader instructor Mane Alves.
In early 2017, prior to eventually starting Pop Coffee Works, I went on a 1 on 1 training with roast master Mike Perry from Klatch Coffee in California. And insights I got have been a priceless part of my “coffee education.”
Our Small Wins!
We were the runner up at the Roast Master competition at the 2019 New York Coffee Festival! We competed against 29 other worthy roasters from different parts of North America.
Our Kenya blend received 94 points from Coffee Review and is the second highest score in their 2020 October issue!
But there’s more…
Before I started my career in coffee, I was an event organizer.
My partner and I have hosted one of the biggest street dance events - Last One Stands - in Canada for five years.
I have always enjoyed competing in events as a street dancer and will continue to do so as a coffee roaster.
I believe these competitions bring out the best in me while I learn from the best in the industry.
In roasting and in dancing.
My Roast Style & Our Root Name
You know that feeling when you watch someone drives a car, they can go slow or they can go really fast and suddenly take a sharp drift when they want to…
That’s how I'd like to think of roasting.
The whole roast curve feels very much like a “sensory map.”
You have the departure point, final destination, and how fast you want to get there.
When you are the driver you control everything!
You decide how fast you want to get to every point.
And that should be a “sensory” experience.
Every coffee is roasted differently.
Whether it is classic espresso or fruity filter coffee, you can always find something that suits your taste from our wide range of selections.
Even the name “Pop Coffee Works” comes from the sweet sound of coffee being roasted!
We work with amazing independent artists from Toronto for our bag design and there’s a story behind each bag design.
Astronaut bag – Coffee grown in the wild forest of Ethiopia and home to the arabica coffee. The “taste message” is that the coffee is out of this world.
Dancer bag – The back of the bag showcases different elements of our café from the Modbar and Mythos grinders to the floor tiles and fortune cat décor. We want customers to have a mental picture of how our café looks.
Girl drinking coffee bag – A lot of people may not know this but coffee can taste like fruits, nuts, and herbs! And a flavour wheel is often used by industry professionals to describe tasting notes of a coffee. On the front, we showcase a coffee flavour wheel and on the back, you see an illustration of the coffee cupping process. The message is to educate customers on how buying and roasting coffees involve so many other steps than some may imagine.