Feature Story

Sun Peaks’ businesses enhance local coffee culture

Mountain coffee shops are brewing up comforting cups
 | December 21, 2022
Simon Hudson having a coffee inside Masa’s Bar & Grill. Photo by Louise Hudson.

In Sun Peaks, the high number of retirees, digital nomads and vacationers is fuelling plenty of caffeine consumption. Gone are the days of basic coffee and tea machines in ski lodges. 

The village isn’t alone, either. A new study by Time2Play finds that B.C. residents spend more on coffee than other Canadians, with retirees drinking the most. 

However, Rhiannon O’Donohoe, a digital public relations strategist for Time2Play, said residents in Sun Peaks may prefer to support local when buying beans.

“I was quite surprised — in a good way — to see how B.C. and other provinces buy coffee locally or from independent brands,” she said.

These habits could be due to the number of high-quality coffee shops on the mountain, many of which serve both local and international brews.

When you see lingering lines outside Sun Peaks coffee shops at peak periods, it’s clear that cost is not a deterrent. O’Donohoe found that B.C. residents shell out over $38 per month on coffee — which is the most in Canada.

In the Sundance Lodge, Bolacco Cafe has been satisfying international tastes for 25 years. 

“We get customers from lots of different countries, but especially Germany, Australia and Italy,” co-owner Elizabeth Glowczynski said. 

Researching Italian coffee culture during a three-year stay there, Elizabeth and her husband Konrad introduced Lavazzo coffee to Sun Peaks. They have a comprehensive list of macchiatos, americanos, lattes, espresso, cappuccinos and iced coffee — plus, the couple are happy to customize. 

“When people want something and the name is not listed here, we can make it exactly as they like,” Elizabeth said. Balacco’s also offers the added bonus of a free chocolate.

Tod Mountain Café was originally owned by Kamloops roaster Twisted Goat, whose coffee beans are still featured. But new owner Echo has added comfort-food elements with sweet and savory crepes, wraps, paninis and baked goods.

 “I’m a Chinese-Canadian, and I love to taste different coffee while I’m travelling,” Echo said. “We like to bring more interesting choices to our menu, it’s always fun and risky to try something new.” 

Serving local, daily-roasted Cherry Hill coffee, Vertical Café has spearheaded a loyalty program to give back to the community. 

“You get a free coffee after nine purchases,” owner Rob O’Toole said. “We hand out the cards at the café. We created the loyalty program as a way of showing appreciation for our locals and seasonal regulars.” 

Vertical is also spearheading new vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free snacks, meals and drinks. 

Although primarily focused on decadent donuts and ice cream, Baby Dohs has its own coffee allure as well.

“We do offer regular, ethically-sourced fair trade coffee and see the most demand for this in the evening hours after the cafés have closed,” co-owner Theresa McMurchy said.

Embracing this diverse coffee culture, the Sun Peaks coffee klatsch meets weekly at The Annex or Sunburst Lodge during the winter. 

“Klatsch means informal coffee gathering,” organizer Harold Richins said. “It comes from the German word for gossip.” 

Active for about a decade, the Coffee Klatsch helps connect newcomers with longtime locals. 

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