James Heavey, owner of The Beanpod cafe in British Columbia was featured in the local BC free press paper.
“It’s been amazing how word of mouth has got around,” said Beanpod’s owner James Heavey. “A guy came in and told me he’d heard about us from people in line at the base of Timber chair!”
Now Beanpod is fully open for business and has already had regular customers come from Sparwood, Elkford, Calgary and Cranbrook to try out the handmade chocolates and espresso coffees. They are proving so popular, James is struggling to keep up with demand and the shop regularly sells out.
James and his wife, Mary, came to Fernie from Ireland, a few years ago with their four children and decided they wanted to open a shop to cater to their own passions. For James, it was coffee and for Mary, chocolate.
“Coffee and chocolate are not new to the Valley, but what makes us different is that we make the chocolate here in the shop, from scratch, and we roast the coffee beans we use in our espresso based drinks in-house.”
James travelled to Ecuador to a cacao bean farm and got to know all the people involved in growing the beans, from the machete-wielding pickers to the woman who makes the sacks that the beans are stored and shipped in.
A lot of chocolate is made from beans that are not fermented in the sun, but the ones James buys are left out to ripen before being shipped to him in Fernie, and are consequently the highest grade of bean available.
James and Mary, are the owners of the only business in Canada that make chocolate from beans, the old fashioned way. There are only about 85 companies that make chocolate in the world and most other chocolate shops buy pre-made chocolate in block form and then re-melt it to make individual chocolates.
“The problem with buying chocolate like that is you have no control over it,” said James. “You can’t control the taste, the texture, and you don’t know what the process was of getting it to that stage.”