Frequently Asked Questions

    People ask, we answer. If you can’t find it here—contact us directly. We’d be glad to talk to you.

    We love the horse sound we heard when we placed an order. Where can we hear it again?

    We've got it right here! Use the controls below to play.

    Single-serve coffee? Nope, not yet.

    It’s easy. It seems simple. Yet we won't do it.

    Until the really, really, really bright people, the inventors, the creators, the pioneers of this world develop better standards, we simply cannot provide single-serve coffee. We are not satisfied single-serve packaging is sustainable at this time. We have carefully examined many options for sustainable and smart solutions. We have yet to find an acceptable alternative that meets our standards and requirements for composting, recycling, and sustainability.

    Kicking Horse Coffee is committed to community. To being socially responsible. To good practices for the planet and for future generations.

    In the meantime, we continue to provide exceptional Fairtrade, Organic, whole-bean and ground coffee, and keep seeking better solutions for serving kick-ass products.

    How do you decaffeinate your coffee?

    Swiss Water ProcessThere are a few ways to produce decaf coffee. The best known is the common chemical process, that rips the taste right out of the bean. Then there is our way, Swiss Water® Process, which rinses caffeine out of beans gently, so you can enjoy full body and flavour with no nasty solvents. More info »

    Download Full Swiss Water® Process Diagram - 1.2 MB

    I see “fairly traded” on a lot of coffees these days—is that the same thing as 'Fair Trade?'

    No, it isn’t the same. There are important differences between certified Fair Trade coffee and 'fairly traded' coffee. First of all, Fair Trade is a licensed trademark. It means Kicking Horse Coffee is certified by Canada’s only Fair Trade governing body, Fairtrade Canada. On the other hand, 'fairly traded' is a term adopted by roasters unsupported by any recognized standards or licensing body.

    Why bother buying Fair Trade coffee? What good does it actually do?

    Fair Trade means paying fair prices to coffee farmers, regardless of fluctuations in the world commodities market. This does have an impact.

    For example, Fair Trade gives farmers the ability to invest money back into their communities. Schools, wells, roads, hospitals—what a difference they are making to people in coffee-growing communities!

    Fair Trade creates a stable relationship between producers (farmers) and buyers (Kicking Horse Coffee, and, ultimately, you).

    Fair Trade also means that producers must follow labour, environmental and quality standards. This is good for people, good for ecosystems and good for the consumer.

    Why do roasted coffee beans have an oil on them?

    Oil is good. Coffee oils develop naturally during the roasting process and carry a lot of flavour. There are more oils on medium and dark roasts than on light roasts.

    Like any oil, coffee oil can turn rancid so make sure to clean your grinder on a regular basis. On the other hand, dry beans with no oil at all can indicate stale coffee—unless it’s a light roast and the oils were not developed in the roasting process.

    How much caffeine is there in your coffee?

    The caffeine content of coffee depends on a few factors: type of bean, degree of roasting and method of grinding and brewing. (Caffeine content is measured in milligrams per cup. A moderate caffeine intake is 250-300 mg per day. An average cup of coffee ranges from 80 to 150 mg per cup.)

    • Type: Arabica beans have about half the caffeine of Robusta beans. (We use only Arabica beans.)
    • Degree of roasting: Roasted Arabica has about a 1.4% caffeine content. Darker roasts do not have more caffeine than lighter roasts—that’s a misconception.
    • Method of grinding and brewing: The finer coffee is ground, and the longer it’s brewed, the more caffeine can be released. The amount of ground coffee one uses per cup also effects the level of caffeine. 

    Concerned about caffeine? Try decaf: it has only about 2 mg of caffeine per cup. Or, mix decaf with regular coffee to lower the caffeine.

    Should I store my coffee in the fridge or freezer?

    Neither, as it will absorb the flavours of other items in your fridge or freezer. Store in a cool dry place (cupboard) away from light. Best method is a vacuum-sealed container.

    Is acidity in coffee a bad thing, like acid reflux?

    Acidity is a taste descriptor of coffee. It’s a positive trait — the brightness at the tip of your tongue. Bright, tangy, sweet: these are words people use to describe the acidity of a coffee’s taste profile. Acidity is balanced by body, aroma and flavour.

    Acid, on the other hand, is that uncomfortable feeling you get after too much of a good thing. Those who experience acid reflux can still enjoy their coffee by following these tips.

    What is Acidity?

    Acidity describes a flavour in coffee that is closer to sweetness than to sourness or bitterness. It's tasted mainly on the tip and sides of the tongue and is lively, bright and sharp. This pungency is characteristic of coffees grown at higher altitudes — like all Kicking Horse blends.

    What is Aroma?

    Like wine, coffees have complex aromas. The aroma of coffee grounds is called a bouquet; the aroma of brewed coffee is called... heavenly. Taste and smell are inextricably linked in the brain, so aroma is important to the whole, enjoyable experience of drinking a Kick Ass cup.

    What is Body?

    How's your 'mouthfeel?' Mouthfeel is a word that helps describe the sense of thickness, the body, associated with taste. Water has a watery mouthfeel. On the opposite end, Kicking Horse Coffee's Sumatran has a full, buttery mouthfeel, with lots of body to satisfy the throat and palate.

    What is Flavour?

    Flavour is how well it all comes together: acidity, body and aroma. There are as many potential combinations of these three characteristics as there are stars in the sky. The blends we've come up with at Kicking Horse Coffee make some of the boldest, brightest, lightest, darkest, sweetest, ripest flavours you can find anywhere on the planet.