Spotlight: February 15/10 – Holy Smoke Coffee

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Have you ever met someone who loves what they do so much, that their enthusiasm and tales just draw you right in?  We had the absolute pleasure of meeting someone like that recently.  He made us smile.  Al Nemeth runs Holy Smoke Coffee in South Surrey and he absolutely loves his job!

When he was a young boy, his grandfather used to roast coffee beans in a skillet on the open fire.  This has always stuck with Al, who has been roasting beans at home for years.  Al founded Holy Smoke Coffee in 1999.  We got a kick out of the fun story of how this name was chosen. He had been hosting a kid’s birthday party and while he was roasting some beans on a BBQ roaster, the kids started to cause a ruckus.  He left the beans to tend to the children, and the beans began to burn.  Al was in no mood for joking around, but as the kids took great delight in the burning beans one of them yelled “holy smoke!” … and it stuck.

For the first few years, he attended trade shows and carnivals on a part time basis.  After retiring from his job in the paper industry, Al’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked in.  One day his friend noticed a teepee, complete with drive through window, was available for rent on King George Highway.  He encouraged Al to check it out.  Six years later, Al continues to serve up dozens of cups every day.  Each morning the organic beans are fresh roasted daily by Al himself, and you can absolutely taste the freshness.  For those who don’t drink coffee, tasty tea and other drinks are available.

Holy Smoke Coffee is available in recyclable jars at the teepee.  Bring the jar back when you’re done, to refill with freshly roasted organic coffee beans.  It is also available at Choices Market in South Surrey.  We tried the Dark & Delicious – it was fab! There is a coffee for everyone: Wild Mexican, Dark & Delicious, Dark Roasted Organic Blend, Indio, Costa Rican & Guatemalan.

We asked Al what his favourite part of his business is.  Is it the peace of solitude when roasting the beans? Creating a perfect blend of beans for the tastiest cup of coffee around?  “It’s the people,” he said.  The regular customers and the new faces, they all make Al’s day. He recalls sharing customer’s griefs over deceased pets and lost jobs, and how great he felt seeing a little smile come through when he passed over a tasty cup of organic, fresh roasted coffee.  While he adores his regular faces, Al says he loves to meet new people.  If you’re in the neighbourhood, stop by for a visit to Holy Smoke Coffee.  Bring your own cup and the first coffee is on Al!  “Coffee tastes best in a ceramic mug,” Al tells us.  You’ve heard it from the expert!

Al tells us it’s not always about making big bucks, it’s about truly enjoying what you do everyday.  We absolutely, positively, 110% agree with you there, Al.  Meeting hard-working entrepreneurs like you is what makes our hearts smile.  Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Visit Al at the teepee from 6AM – 11AM, Monday through Friday.  If you’re lucky, you’ll drive by to see the smoke billowing from the top of the teepee!  If you’re interested in winning 2 jars of tasty Holy Smoke Coffee as well as this ‘Where’s My Coffee???’ t-shirt from the Valley Women’s Network, please leave a comment below.  Winner to be announced March 1, 2010.

Holy Smoke Coffee
3418 King George Highway, Surrey (map
Ring: 604.780.4659

17 Responses to “Spotlight: February 15/10 – Holy Smoke Coffee”

  1. Amy Connolly says:

    Always interested in trying different Coffees, this would be a great way to support local business. Love the name and the story behind it! Would definitely love to try this coffee! thanks again for the great businesses you showcase on this blog it’s awesome!

  2. What a fantastic story! Love to hear about local businesses and especially about someone like Al who is living his passion. Can’t wait to try his coffee :)

  3. I’ve driven by that little tee-pee for years now! I’m glad you did a write-up on him, it’s always nice to know that those unique little stores are open and have a great story behind them. I will definitely go by for a coffee now and say ‘hi’ to Al and let him know that I saw his story on your blog! Thanks!

  4. Jean Jones says:

    In a different life, I worked as a barista for a business that did their own roasting — nothing could compare. So glad to know there is another local roaster! Going to have to give this business a try soon. Thanks for the story!

  5. Wendy Funk says:

    I have been going to see Al at Holy Smoke for my coffee fix for some time. It is by far the best coffee I have had in my 64 years. My husband and I would go for a visit nearly every morning. When my husband of 41 years passed away, Al was there for me to talk to. So not only great coffee but an exceptional human being as well.


    Long time patron

  6. FVP Admin says:

    Wendy, how lovely to hear from a regular customer of Al’s! He is an exceptional man for sure :)

  7. Judy says:

    I’ve driven by the teepee and always wondered what the coffee was like. Now, after reading this article, I will stop in and try it.

    Thanks for the information, Judy

  8. Peter Leblanc says:

    This is the best kept secret coffee place in Western North America!

  9. This is fantastic. I love supporting small business, I am a coffee fanatic, and that shirt is totally me!

  10. Heather says:

    After coming home from a Costa Rican holiday, my sister and I searched high and low for coffee as good as it was there… I finally found it at Holy Smoke. Now my sister has me send jars to her in Alberta whenever she runs out!!! Love it, and the friendly, personal service!!

  11. Robin Yee says:

    Without a doubt the best cup of coffee around! Served with a smile and friendly conversation, this is the perfect way to start the day. Thanks Al!

  12. Dave Baron says:

    Great coffee, fresher and better-tasting than any chains’ overpriced offerings. Al is a great guy and has supported many community groups and events for many years, including the White Rock Players Club. We are proud to serve his coffee to our patrons.

  13. Jocelyn Hallier says:

    I have known, and sometimes worked for Al at Holy Smoke coffee, ever since he started serving his brew at the Teepee. I can tell you for certain, he and his coffee have a huge fan club in White Rock and S. Surrey. I get a real kick when a customer comes by for the first time, gets their coffee, drives away, and then comes right back to tell me they have never tasted any coffee that good!! Even though I have worked for him, I don’t have to say that he is also a great guy….but he is a great guy! Try his coffee, you will like both.

  14. FVP Admin says:

    It’s so lovely to hear all of the nice comments about Al and Holy Smoke Coffee!

  15. Erin says:

    Love the packaging and I love coffee…will stop in to try it next time I am out that way from the “Wack”

  16. I love how this guy started by doing something he loves. This isn’t a big chain – he’s a do-it-yerselfer who’s found out what he loves and is doing it! I’m going to have to buy some coffee from him!

  17. […] = [];}We have a fun little contest for our readers this week! When you leave a comment on our latest Pulse Spotlight feature, you will be entered to win 2 jars of organic coffee, as well as this wild […]

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