Who We Are
Oso Negro was born in Nelson, BC in 1993 in a tiny space, with a tiny 1 kg Petroncini roaster. We focused on simplicity, freshly roasting our beans in small batches and selling the results as single varietals. The roasting space doubled as a cafe, and it was our pleasure to visit with customers and serve coffee to our neighbours.
By 1998 we had outgrown the original space, so moved around the corner to Victoria Street and into collusion with The Only Bagel Co. The new cafe soon became a busy social hub where Nelsonites could connect on the way to work or play, or spend time hashing out the next creative project.
Our roasting style evolved, too; we invested in a 12 kg Probat roaster and started to create unique blends based on our own curiosity and customer suggestions, a practice that we have proudly continued to this day. Blending is an experimental process of imagination, experimentation, testing and observation, and you can explore with us by offering us your feedback or visiting us at the roastery.
In 1999, the roastery moved uphill to our current home in the historic Kootenay Wharehousing and Brewery building, where we could have the space to explore while increasing our output. In 2001, we purchased a beautiful 1960 22 kg Probat roaster, which continues to serve as the metronomic heartbeat of our operations to this day.
By 2004 we yearned for a permanent space suitable for our cafe, so when the opportunity arose we purchased Mrs. Santor’s small home and lovely garden at the corner of Victoria and Ward streets. With her blessing, we soon began the creative process of renovating the building and grounds with the invaluable help of many talented local designers and artisans. Our goal was to create a common space for our community that reflected our deep appreciation of our local surroundings and the creative soul of Nelson. The cafe serves this purpose, and is a perfect setting for communication, connection, and nourishment.
For twenty years, Oso Negro has sought to retain the authenticity and artisanal quality of our coffees and the community warmth of our cafe. We remain an entirely analogue operation, focused on creating a positive environment for our co-workers and a gathering place for the community.
We can also come to you! Join our loyal mail order following, or ask your local grocery store or favourite cafe to carry Oso coffee.
We hope that you will always feel comfortable to offer us your feedback, whether in person at the roastery or cafe, or over the telephone or by email. We want to hear from you!