It’s not very big, and it certainly ain’t fancy. The feature that drew us there in the first place is housed in the basement, and the place itself is set back off the road so you have to look for it. But the Royston Roasting Company, located in ‘downtown’ Royston, which is little more than a hole in the wall off the Old Island Highway, is certainly worth the trip from wherever you might be on the Island.
Ever on the lookout for a good cup of coffee, we headed to the tiny community of Royston to check out Gary and Dyan Spink’s tiny coffee house (seating for 13 inside and a pretty outdoor deck) and were delighted with what we found – and tasted!
The Spinks have been roasting coffee since 1998, when they started out at the Comox Valley Farmers Market. They moved to Royston, just south of Courtenay on Highway 19A, about five years ago and moved the coffee roasting business two years ago into what used to be a post office. The beautiful roaster, imported from Turkey, is in the basement of the building and upstairs there is a coffee shop serving the full gamut of coffee-based beverages, various teas and light lunches and breakfasts. Much to the delight of the area residents the place has become something of a local hangout, where folks have been known to show up for breakfast still decked out in their pyjamas. And that is one of the things that makes this little spot so appealing. There is no pretence – just a warm welcome, great coffee and good food.
The Spinks source all of their organic coffees with an eye to fair trade, ensuring that the farmers who grow those beans get reasonable payment for their labours. They offer only four blends (which I like – the myriad of choices in some of the better known coffee joints has become mind-boggling), including a decaffeinated option. Much of the food on offer, which includes crepes, quiche, soup and a variety of breakfast options, is either locally-sourced or made right on-site. We enjoyed a flavourful Thai coconut soup and locally-made spinach-cheddar quiche and the best Montreal smoked meat sandwich, lightly toasted, that I have ever sunk my teeth in to. Dyan grew up in Montreal and it’s very clear that she knows where to source great stuff when it comes to food.
If you ask, you will probably also be treated to a tour of the roasting room downstairs. It’s worth taking that extra few minutes just for the heavenly blast of coffee aroma that greets you when the basement door is opened. The roaster is a work of art in itself and is certainly worth seeing.
The Royston Roasting Company also serves as something of a convenient mini-tourist bureau, with a small room devoted to display of materials from local businesses. So, a great spot to stop off for a coffee or latte or a light meal when you are visiting the area, grab some brochures and plan your visit. Guaranteed you will receive a cheerful welcome when you arrive and that you will leave in a happy frame of mind.
The Royston Roasting Company is located at 3904 Island Highway South, Royston. You can learn more about the company and its’ various custom labelling and roasting offerings at the website:
GPS co-ordinates are:
Lat. 49.646023953183246 Long. -124.9456000328064
N 49 38.761 W 124 56.736