What happens when Shambhala Music Festival teams up with Oso Negro Coffee? Well…
“There are 21 grams of coffee in a double shot,” Anne says as she jots it down on a piece of paper. “450 grams in a pound, so 21 double shots per pound.”
I’m at the Oso Negro Roastery in Uphill Nelson with Jennifer St. Denis, Shambhala’s Beverage Director and Anne, who’s been helping us craft a unique blend of Oso Negro coffee, exclusive to Shambhala, for the past few months.
The blend is more or less down – now we’re trying to figure out the volume of beans we need to order. Which as we throw theoretical numbers back and forth at each other is proving to be a difficult task.
We’re opening our own coffee shop at Shambhala this year, you see – The Night Owl Hot Brews. The project has been brewing (forgive the pun) since early January, and now things are starting to come to fruition.
On May Long Weekend, we mapped out where the building will go. We’ve ordered a bunch of beautiful, locally made owl-themed coffee mugs (by Pixie at Shprixieland Studios just over the Kootenay Lake Ferry).
The cabinets and counters are being built here at our studio. We’ve purchased one of the (giant) machines we’ll be using to make the coffee at the festival (we’ll be renting 3 more just like it) and have been diligently testing it (we drink a lotta java).
Now we’re at the roastery doing “coffee math” (yes, I amused myself with that one. It’s like all those ridiculous equations you did in high school that involved calculating random things… except real life. And you thought they were completely useless).
The Night Owl Hot Brews is one of 3 new beverage projects for 2012, along with the Farm Phresh Smoothies and The Tea Tree and Apothecary (tea house) that we will be using as platforms to highlight locally sourced products.
We’ve got some pretty amazing stuff here in the Kootenays – wild crafted teas, locally made chai, beneficial cocoa (think extra healthy hot chocolate), locally sourced produce and (of course) locally roasted coffee.
We’re looking forward to filling your cups with these specialty brews, and giving you a real taste of what our local area has to offer.
And yeah – Jennifer is a busy gal.
Believe it or not, this is also part of our overall CODE GREEN sustainability strategy – because it doesn’t get much more sustainable than local. But we’ll be writing about that at length in another blog.
Another aspect of this transition is our vision for “Downtown Shambhala”. We have a vision of a beautiful, bustling downtown Shambhala, with comfortable spaces to hang out – a place where you can meet up with your friends and talk about the amazing time you had last night, or just to take it all in and people watch.
The café’s themselves will each have their own unique look and feel, and will be staffed with colourful, costumed, high-energy people who are hand-selected for their excellence in customer service. They’re there to make YOU smile while they prepare your bevvy. (Does this sound like YOU? We’re still hiring! Join our team!)
Eco-conscious behaviors like bringing your own coffee mug are encouraged and will be rewarded!
As with any new projects, we’re expecting there will be hiccups along the way. So if things aren’t perfect this year, please find it in your heart to forgive us while we work out the kinks! There will be surveys available at the festival for you to tell us how we did, and we’ll be using your feedback to improve upon our systems for 2013.
Want to learn more about why Oso is such a great fit for us? Read on…
Once upon a time, well over a decade ago, two small (now prominent) businesses in the magical mountain town of Nelson, British Columbia were in their infancy. Nelson was magical because despite its small size and its relative remoteness to the rest of the world, it was bursting with imagination, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.
These two businesses got their start on the dead end of Hall St, in a small, brick historical building, that is now home to Bibo and The Nelson Star (the parent paper of The Vurb, which SMF are now regular contributors to).
This little building, just off Baker St, was the perfect place for both of them to grow.
One of these businesses was an electronic music festival. The other, a coffee shop that roasted their own beans by hand.
And while they occupied this little building at different times, their seeds were planted there, and both businesses grew up to be iconic of Nelson.
The festival office was tiny and cramped, where 3 people worked together in close quarters, all at the same long desk. The festival was small, and electronic music wasn’t particularly popular at the time, but those involved shared a dream that one day it would attract 10,000 people, and put little Salmo, BC on the map to the world.
The coffee shop was unique – no other shops were roasting their own beans. The Nelson community had a penchant for locally sourced products before “Buy Local” was the new big sustainability slogan. Oso Negro café naturally appealed to that. Their customer base built, and eventually, they outgrew the little brick building on Hall St, moving to a larger location Vernon Street with a roastery on Latimer St., and eventually (outgrowing that space as well) moving the café to its current location on the corner of Vernon and Ward St.
Shambhala’s office moved to several different locations, before settling at Shambhala Studios on Lakeside Drive in early 2008. There were four employees at that time. It took a while to grow into the large building, but now we’ve almost outgrown it, with 18 full-time, year-round staff, and we’re beginning to interview for our summer hires. Shambhala achieved its once lofty dream of 10,000 attendees in 2008, has won 2 Breakspoll Awards for Best Large Event (2011 & 2012), was awarded Nelson Business of The Year by the Nelson Chamber of Commerce, and has been featured in many publications – putting Salmo, BC on the world map, just as they had always dreamed.
These two businesses have deep, intertwined roots. Oso Negro has always been the brew of choice at the Shambhala Offices.
And now, in 2012, a good 13+ years later, both parties are proud, in partnership, to present the “Shambhala Blend” of Oso Negro coffee.