A pandemic project turned success story — this pop-up café has found itself at the heart of Victoria’s coffee culture.
Routine Coffee & Supply has been popping up at several markets and events since last year and founder Garrett Olson couldn’t be happier to help people experience the very best coffee he can get his hands on and help them learn something while they’re at it.
By day, Olson works at Hey Happy, one of Victoria’s most celebrated cafes due to their coffee sourcing and diverse pour over menu.
Olson said he is incredibly grateful to have gotten the opportunities he has at Hey Happy, where he further dialed in his skills as a barista, but he had an idea of his own he wanted to explore.
Routine Coffee & Supply began as an idea for a coffee-centric clothing brand, but as it bloomed, it grew into something that allows Olson to share his passion for coffee with all of Victoria.
Where Routine Coffee & Supply came from
While his idea for Routine Coffee & Supply was fleshing out, he was asked to do a pop-up making pour over coffee at a market and he was hooked on the intimacy of making someone coffee while being able to talk to a customer outside the confines of a busy café.
“I want to make specialty coffee a more approachable thing for people,” Olson told Victoria Buzz. “I think going into shops sometimes can be overwhelming in a space that’s maybe unfamiliar or you feel like you don’t know how to approach things, it can be a little bit daunting.”
From that pop-up onward, Olson began looking at how he could streamline future pop-ups and make espresso in an on-the-go method. He started looking at compact trucks and trying to figure out a way to convert one into a rolling café.
Olson found a 1991 Suzuki Carry Truck with a custom back cover that was basically brand new that would be perfect in his hometown of Red Deer, Alberta and had his dad help him out with getting to work making his vision become a reality.
He and his dad outfitted ‘Suzi’ with a generator, solar power, a high-end espresso machine, a hopper and a water tank system over approximately nine months of experimenting and creative thinking.
“Throughout the pandemic it was kind of just flying back when I could to just work on the truck for a few days and remotely planning and trying stuff,” Olson said.
While his truck was being outfitted with all he needed to make his pop-ups more efficient and effective back in central Alberta, things started to take off for Routine here in Victoria over the summer of 2022.
“Pour over pop-ups became a little bit more popular,” said Olson. “I did that Rifflandia cafe last year and pretty much from that point it’s been pretty busy. It’s basically been once a week, if not a little more.”
Where it’s going
Olson sources his beans carefully, making sure to get the coffee he will make for his customers from reputable roasters who do their work ethically and with care. His mainstay roaster he’s developed a relationship with is Regard Coffee Roasters based out of Nanaimo, which not many cafes in Victoria use.
He also sources coffee from some of the worlds best and most acclaimed roasters such as Loveless Coffees based in Brooklyn, New York and Process Coffee which calls Belfast, Ireland home.
Olson has hopes of being able to roast his own Routine beans down the line, but for now, that is just too expensive. He says he’d rather prop up the existing roasters in the area and around the world who are doing good work he thinks should be appreciated.
“There’s so many people doing such a good job, I think for now anyway, my goal is supporting the people that are doing it the right way and giving them a bit of a platform,” Olson explained.
Olson is excited for all the pop ups he has lined up for this summer and he anticipates Routine Coffee & Supply will continue to grow as a concept going forward.
“It’s been a cool little adventure so far.”
Big things are coming up for Routine Coffee & Supply and the best way to know where he will be setting up every week is to keep an eye on the rolling cafe’s Instagram or website.
“Instagram is the best way right now, but I will be updating the website as well with upcoming dates,” Olson said.
“It’s kind of tricky because some of them are pretty last minute, so Instagram is kind of the best one.”
Here are the events and locations Routine Coffee & Supply will be set up to caffeinate Victorians in the coming weeks (so far):
- Where: Fernwood Community Centre, 1240 Gladstone Avenue
- When: Wednesday, June 21st from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Where: 1032 Fort Street
- When: Friday, June 30th form 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.