Town & Country

March 2018

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• 2 kms of walkable boutique shopping downtown. • Internationally recognized fossil museum boasting a World-Record-sized specimen. • Annual Corn and Apple street festival. • Only 1 hour drive from the Perimeter. 204-822-4434 / City of Discovery BY WENDY KING D iscovering a quality coffee roaster in Winkler might seem counter- intuitive. It's far away from coffee bean production and it's a small rural city. But Erin Plett, a stay-at-home mom looking to keep a presence in the business world, saw an under-served market and created Other Brother Roasters, a small- batch coffee roasting company that moved to a retail space on Kimberly Road last fall. The idea presented itself when her husband, Sam Plett, started roasting coffee beans as a hobby, after his brother, Jon Plett, a founding member of Jonny's Java, let him taste some really good coffee. "We started sharing the coffee with family and friends and when I realized that this was a product that was lacking availability in our local area, I suggested that we try to retail the coffee," says Erin. Things percolated until the business opened five years ago and by 2017, Erin became the sole propri- etor of Other Brother Roasters (OBR). The confusion around having two brothers involved in the coffee business led to the name: No, not that brother — the other brother. At first, they rented space from her father-in-law's business, and Plett managed the company from home. "We started with a small, 10-pound roaster," she says. The move to a dedicated retail space has allowed Plett to expand and invite customers to check out equipment for coffee and tea, pick up a coffee to-go or take home fresh roasted coffee and loose-leaf tea. "In the heart of the Pembina Valley, it can be dif- ficult to have access to speciality coffee without high shipping costs," she says. "There were so many coffee shops and restaurants looking for a different option and we wanted to pro- vide Winkler and the surrounding areas with fresh- roasted specialty coffee." With growth, they've acquired a 30-pound roaster, but Plett wants to maintain a scale that allows them to provide flexible, custom roasting. "We love being able to custom roast a coffee profile for a customer based on their request, from light, es- presso, medium, and even de-caf coffee, and that per- sonal service is very important to us." Their coffee is found in southern and northern Manitoba (at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre) and Saskatchewan. "Customers can shop online and we can ship orders in Canada, U.S. and even internationally," she says. Providing quality, ethically sourced coffee is part of the company's guiding ethos. "It has been our mission statement from the begin- ning to care about people — from those growing the coffee to those drinking the coffee," she says. "It is important to provide that chain of caring so that your customers can taste the difference in their coffee — people are at the centre of what drives OBR." Their importer sources coffee through direct trade with farmers around the world — Costa Rica, Guate- mala, Mexico, Colombia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, El Salva- dor, Peru, Brazil, and other places. "The company travels to the farms to develop rela- tionships and set up programs to help focus attention on the work that goes into coffee farming," she says. "It is important that we order green bean from a company that values the rights and fair treatment of the farmers." OBR even participated in a send-back program. "The company asked roasters who had bought green bean from a selection of three different farms to send back a bag so that they could give the farmer their cof- fee back," she says. "It was really wonderful to see the coffee make a full- circle journey!" Plett sees that same circle at home. "We support local and other Canadian companies and we feature their chocolate, honey, pottery, glassware, tea, soap, candles, hemp and flax products," she says. Strong local support for her own company has been humbling. "Coffee is a very social and personal product to people," says Plett. "I am continuously amazed that we get an opportunity to be a part of people's lives through such a beloved product as coffee." Learn more at Country Town M A N I T O B A Editor: Pat St. Germain – W I N K L E R SOCIAL ANIMALS HEALTH CARE KEEPS PACE WITH PET-FRIENDLY CULTURE Saturday, March 24, 2018 BARNYARD CHIC TRENDS COME AND TRENDS GO, BUT BARN WOOD LASTS FOREVER. M O R D E N SETTING THE SCENE BELL AURA B&B HOSTS MURDER MYSTERIES, YOGA AND MORE C A R M A N SUNFLOWER SEED KING RONNIE'S PROMISES MORE SNACK, LESS CRACK PER PACK A LT O N A PG 2 PG 3 PG 4 PG 6 PG 5 GATEWAY TO SUCCESS RESOURCES ENRICH LIVES OF ADULTS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES W I N K L E R & Other Brother Roasters proprietor Erin Plett says the "chain of caring" extends from coffee farmers around the world to customers at home. Photos by Darcy Finley Roast of the Town Quality coffee starts with ethically sourced beans " There were so many coffee shops and restaurants looking for a different option and we wanted to provide Winkler and the surrounding areas with fresh-roasted specialty coffee." – ERIN PLETT

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