North Star Espresso: Pointing the Way to What Espresso Should Be


© Photo Courtesy of Equator Coffee Roasters

Equator Coffee Roasters is a craft coffee roaster from the Ottawa Valley with a secret they want everyone to know about: they have awesome espresso!

The roastmaster at Equator, Justin Francis, hints that the unique roast profile that is so appealing to their customers comes from the 1950’s German-built coffee roasting machine built by Probat. This machine is a classic roasting machine with incredible mass. It is solid cast iron and, in his words, “they just don’t build equipment like this anymore!” Equator never blends the green coffee before roasting. Each batch of green coffee is unique and deserves its place in the roaster when the time comes. The time, airflow, and temperature of the coffee roasting is entirely unique for North Star Espresso compared to all their other roasts.

The specialty coffee market is experimenting with light roast espresso and creating super intense espresso experiences, sometimes too intense or sour. There is a place for that style of espresso, but Equator’s North Star Espresso is not too dark. It maintains a rich deep strength that is smooth yet spicy. This coffee tastes great on its own and is equally delicious in a latte.

Equator Coffee Roasters Inc. is based in Almonte, Ontario, and has three cafes in the Ottawa area and a wholesale division specializing in supplying only Organic and Fairtrade specialty coffee beans. Equator is a mission-driven company that has been in business for 23 years and B Corp Certified since 2019, exceeding typical social and environmental responsibility standards and giving back to the local and global community. All the coffee Equator roasts is purchased directly from small farmers who belong to democratically organized Cooperatives.

Craig Hall, co-owner of Equator Coffee, says, “We believe that farmers need long term partnerships to create a sustainable business. That is why we pay more than double the industry commodity price.” This stable base price allows farmers to finance and plan their seasons without fear of risk, contributing to more consistent and higher-quality products.

The tasting notes of this espresso are “rich, chocolatey, with hints of stone fruit.” Ultimately, it is almost like drinking black forest cake without any guilt. If you haven’t yet discovered this Ottawa Valley gem, you need to give it a try!

Jacques Maurice – 5 Stars Absolutely fabulous coffee

I’ve been looking for a coffee that would rival what I would drink in France and Italy for some time now, and after a lot of misses, I finally landed on Equator’s North Star espresso blend. It is perhaps the closest I have come to perfection.

Patricia Calder – 5 Stars Smooth and rich way to start the day!

A great start to my day is a double shot of North Star Espresso and steamed milk. North Star is by far my favourite coffee roast. It has a lovely cocoa note and mellow tone but lots of flavour to provide enjoyment to the last drop. There is no better, happier aroma than cracking open my shipment of beans from Equator Coffee Roasters. Their shipping has been astonishingly prompt over the past couple of months, and North Star Espresso has been a welcome constant during the lockdown. Thanks so much for making these hard days a little better! 🙂

Gary A. Day – 5 Stars Best espresso coffee beans in North America

These beans have quickly become my home bean for their depth of flavour, their reliability, and their ability to shine through even after some iffy extractions on my part. Highly recommended.

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Equator Coffee Roasters was created to connect the coffee farmer to the coffee drinker.


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