In the wake of a successful visit from Small Business and Tourism Federal Minister Bardish Chagger, the YuKonstruct Makerspace and (co)space Team are hitting the streets with opportunities for the community to put their names behind the awesome work going on within our walls.

firebean coffee

Mike and Sarah Russo, founders and owners of Firebean Coffee Roasters, are no strangers to the hottest word in Whitehorse now – INNOVATION. Firebean Coffee Roasters offers organic, fair trade coffee, wood-fire roasted with a pedal-powered roasting machine.

They are also our newest organization-wide sponsors; all our members can look forward to being fueled exclusively on this java at the makerspace and coworking spaces!

The Firebean Coffee Roaster’s story is an example of the sort of initiatives we are championing at YuKonstruct. Mike and Sarah moved back to Whitehorse for the Yukon lifestyle and people. As many Yukoners are aware, life in the territory offers the freedom to have an ideal work-life balance.

They have been “boostrapping from the beginning.” The Russos started hand spinning coffee over an open fire to learn how the beans behave. Family and friends started ordering and they quickly needed a larger operation to keep up. They bought an old pizza oven at a flee market, outfitted it with a drum and, after a little trial and error, connected it to an old stationary bike et voila!

Their coffee is brought to you practically footprint free! The bike spins the drum that the beans are tumbling in over a hard wood fire. In just a short time of pedaling, the roast is ready.

Like for all of our entrepreneurs, the journey was not without its share of mishaps and learning experiences, but it’s paying for itself now and there is an awesome buzz around town (check out the recent What’s Up Yukon article).

“I think we can keep going and we are inspired to share this with more people which is why the partnership with YuKonstruct and Start Up Whitehorse (managed by (co)space) is so excitng. Maybe this can inspire others because we’re doing something unorthodox. Who pedals for their coffee when you can get a commercial roasting machine? We do! So maybe someone else will be inspired by the bootstrapping side of this.” – Mike Russo

Mike Russo