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Companion Whole Foods - Coffee and Cacao Review - Vancouver

Disclosure: This was a complimentary sampling provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation.


Where does your coffee come from? For most people, they’ll guess “somewhere between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn” or they’ll look up the brand they just bought. It’s harder to pinpoint which family specifically has grown your beans, and that’s where a company like Companion Whole Foods comes in. These folks themselves visit Narino Department, Colombia to visit friends and farmers involved in the process of bean-to-bar, fair-trade, naturally-grown, and all the other buzzwords associated with what’s considered a “good” bean. I had the opportunity to try their coffee and cacao so read past the jump to hear all about what makes these guys geographically superior to the competition.


I had the chance to try the following:

  • Companion Co. Medium Roast Coffee Beans ($20/500g bag)
  • A handful of Whole Bean Cacao (reg. $22/500g bag)

The Companion Co. coffee beans come in a rather unassuming package but has a bold logo and a very tight seal. Breaking this open and getting my first whiff I tasted notes of fresh chocolatey coffee bean. Looking inside the bag, I was pleased to see the beans were all intact. That is, no bean in sight was previously cracked in shipping so potency was retained during the trip from near the Andes into my hands.

Companion Co Medium Roast

As I only had basic coffee equipment at home, I had my friend Angus over for coffee and we brewed a batch using an AeroPress. This method led to a pretty quick brew and produced an opaque coffee as we adhered to regular brewing directions.

AeroPress Action

Taking our first sips of the coffee, I noticed there was zero grainy residue in the glass nor was there any oily film greasing the top of the coffee. In the past few months, I noticed the Starbucks brew we use at the office tends to have a filmy top even after the pipes were serviced, so this was a welcome sight.

The coffee had, as previously whiffed, a chocolatey taste and a slight sweetness. We believe with the AeroPress that the coffee may have tasted less acidic compared to other brewing methods but a low-acidity cup is actually my preferred method. 

At $20, this 500g bag does not compete with entry-level brands like Kicking Horse (found at Loblaws). Rather, it is meant to be the geographically-best coffee in the world sourced from optimal climate, elevation, and skilled farmers in Colombia. It’s an exquisite fair-trade, organic, single-origin bean, no doubt, but is likely worth splurging on while these folks are still growing with their partnered farmers. You’ll be able to find these beans at places like Ten Thousand Villages in Langley. 

Brewed Coffee

I also got a taste of Companion Whole Foods’ Whole Bean Cacao. These full-sized nibs similarly had a potent cacao aroma to them and were very edible. I took my one cup sample of cacao, grinded it up, blended it with some avocado, agave, and almond milk to create a raw vegan cacao mousse in less than 12 minutes. I sliced up an apple and used the wedges as dippers for the mousse. Delicious!

Raw Cacao Beans

Raw Cacao Avocado Mousse

Final Thoughts:

Overall, Companion Whole Foods is a small operation but has a strong farm-to-family mission that I believe is a relevant topic in today’s grocery world. For environementally-partial coffee drinkers who enjoy a chocolatey medium roast served dark, the Companion Co Medium Roast is worth trying and the 500g bag is a great value given its pedigree and number of designations. If you are a persistent surveyor of entry-level brand coffee, this may not be the coffee for you. Nontheless, I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next from Companion Whole Foods! Check them out at the following:

  • Ten Thousand Villages (Langley)
  • Unity Yoga (Commercial and 12th Ave, Vancouver)
  • Rustic Roots Health Foods (Brookswood, Langley)
  • Food Hub (Yew and York in Kitsilano, Vancouver)
  • Kitchen Therapy (White Rock)
  • Through their website

Bean to Bar class now on Fieldtripp.com

Who Remembers going on a Fieldtrip?

Bean to Bar Chocolate Class May 18th 2016 www.companionwholefoods.com

Its time to start getting out and having some fun.

Fieldtripp.com has made it possible with great ease to plan and book events from the convenience of your cellphone, tablet or computer. 

Let me introduce my new friend Aki Kaltenbach. She is an entrepreneur and absolute go getter.  She and her team decided to create a site where people could go and "learn something new". 

Founded in December 2015 and based in Vancouver, Canada, Fieldtripp is a becoming a trusted community for people to list, discover and book unique experiences in their city - online or from a mobile phone or tablet.

Whether you want to learn how to make your own Kimchi,made at home Cacao bean to bar chocolate, sharpen your Whisky palate, or learn how to surf....we make it easy to find, book and organize all of this and more with ease.

I enjoyed speaking with Aki from the first moment on our call together. She called me because she noticed www.companionwholefoods.com  was doing a class in Vancouver and had posted it through Eventbrite. 

After a barrage of questions and service curiosities were answered I went for it. Companion may not look back. 

www.Fieldtripp.com is run well and I have had the opportunity to speak to Aki directly and her incredible support staff. Both via Telephone and through easy to communicate emails. Fieldtripp has organized the payment solutions and guest lists making the entire process simple and simply effective.

They are new and ambitious and I am confident Fieldtripp will be successfull.

Coming with the level of enthusiasm I have from working with this team, you may too.

The Companion Whole Foods class coming up May 18th at 6:30pm at 3737 Angus will be a sell out since Yossi Rouch will be making the Chocolate, Nils Hognestad www.chocolatehog.ca will be showcasing technique and incredible style and panache and I will be pouring the wine.

Please come join us on a fieldtripp to Companion Whole Foods 

Who remembers going on a Fieldtripps?  Bean to Bar class.

Raw Cacao health benefits!!


We at Companion appreciate all the hard work done by writers in the food industry and this one done by the team at www.thesuperfoods.net nails it. As you are all aware we have and sell Raw and Roasted cacao and 100% licor bars, so the products are here when your done reading. enjoy!!

Benefits of Raw Cacao Powder

Cacao powder is got by crushing cacao beans. Cacao beans are got from cacao pods that are the fruits of the Theobroma cacao tree.

This tree is found primarily in the tropical and Equatorial regions of Africa, Asia, Central and South America. When the cacao pods ripen, they are cut and the cacao beans are taken out and used to make various products.

Each cacao pod produces 30-50 cacao beans.

These light colored beans take on a darker hue when they are dried before processing. There are 3 main types of cacao beans produced all over the world – Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario.

Since the terms cacao and cocoa are used interchangeably, people are confused and wonder if they are the same or different products.

Cacao beans are the raw form and when other ingredients like milk, sugar and other additives are added, they make cocoa powder, chocolate etc.

Raw cacao beans were called ‘food of the gods’ for the various benefits they provide. They are a rich source of powerful antioxidants like polyphenols – a flavonoid.

They also contain dietary fibers – both soluble and insoluble, carbohydrates, protein, monounsaturated fats like oleic acid that do not increase blood cholesterol levels, some amounts of caffeine and theobromine that are stimulants and anti-depressants, minerals like calcium, zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese, iron and potassium and vitamins like B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, C, A, E, and pantothenic acid.

Raw cacao powder is made using cacao beans without exposing it to temperatures greater than 116 degrees F. Cacao beans are cold pressed to make a paste at these temperatures.

Now the fats and oils found in the beans are extracted. The remaining paste is cold ground and we get raw cacao powder. It has a tasty, nutty, chocolate flavor.

Processing at low temperatures retains all the essential nutrients in raw cacao powder. Cocoa powder is made when the same cacao beans are processed at high temperatures and additives are mixed.

Now, the heat-sensitive nutrients, especially antioxidants get destroyed and it will not have the same nutritional value as raw cacao powder.

While the FDA guidelines states that cacao powder and cocoa powder refer to the same product, cacao powder usually means the raw, unsweetened powder and cocoa powder refers to the product that still has some of the cocoa butter to enhance flavor.

Benefits and Uses of raw cacao powder

Raw cacao powder offers the flavors of chocolate while still retaining all the goodness of various nutrients.

The flavors depend on the type of cacao bean used with Criollo being considered the rarest, premium variety with the best flavors. Raw cacao powder offers potent antioxidant value having the top score in the ORAC scale of 95,500.

It contains natural mood stimulants that elevate moods and promote relaxation such as anandamide called ‘bliss chemical’ and arginine an essential amino acid that helps to reduce blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels.

Therefore, raw cacao powder is called an aphrodisiac that can improve sexual function.

High levels of magnesium in cacao powder promote heart health, build strong bones and induce feelings of calmness and relax muscles.

Other minerals and nutrients can reduce blood clots, dilate blood vessels, regulate heartbeat, improve circulation, lower LDL or bad cholesterol levels and blood pressure, therefore reducing risks of heart attacks and strokes. Tryptophan found in natural, raw cacao powder, is an amino acid that helps us relax and cures insomnia.

A cup of hot chocolate made using raw cacao powder will give us a good night’s sleep. Sulfur present in it helps build strong nails, beautiful skin, detoxifies the liver and helps optimal functioning of the pancreas.

Raw cacao powder is simple to use. Just sprinkle it in smoothies, yoghurt, blended drinks, cereal or oatmeal or any other recipe that requires processed cocoa powder.

Now, you get the taste and flavor of cocoa with the added health benefits of raw cacao. Raw cacao powder can be stored in cool places like the refrigerator.

Nutritional Facts for Raw Cacao Powder

The following is the nutrition facts for unsweetened, dry cacao powder provided by Nutrition Data for a 1 cup or 86g serving size.

  • Calories 196
  • Calories from fat – 99
  • Total fat – 12g (18% DV)
  • Saturated fat – 7g (35% DV)
  • Trans Fat
  • Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV)
  • Sodium – 18mg (1% DV)
  • Total carbohydrates – 50g ((17% DV)
  • Dietary fiber – 29g (114% DV)
  • Sugars – 2g
  • Protein – 17g
  • Vitamin A – 0%
  • Vitamin C – 0%
  • Calcium – 11%
  • Iron – 66%

DV or daily value is calculated on a 2000 calorie diet. This varies with each individual depending on dietary requirements.

According to Nutrition Data, while this food contains high levels of saturated fats, it is very low in sodium and cholesterol content and offers good source of dietary fiber, potassium, zinc, protein, iron, phosphorous, magnesium and manganese.

Recipe Using Raw Cacao Powder

Most of us love chocolate milk shakes and are afraid of the calories it contains. Here is a simple recipe that uses raw cacao powder that gives us plenty of healthy nutrients and the flavor of rich chocolate.

  • Nuts – 1 cup – e.g. almonds, walnuts
  • Water – 4 cups
  • Dates – 4-6
  • Raw cacao powder – ¼ cup or to taste
  • Vanilla bean extract – 1 tbsp
  • Cinnamon and cardamom – ¼ to ½ tsp
  • Bananas – 2

Raw almond butter – 1 tbsp (optional)

Blend the nuts and water at high speed, strain using a cheesecloth or strainer. Retain the milk, clean the blender and replace the milk. Add the remaining ingredients until they are all blended well. Serve your shake immediately or after chilling for sometime.


Raw cacao powder offers the best benefits before processing. In excess, cacao can cause side effects like migraines, sleeplessness, anxiety or excess urination due to an overdose of caffeine. So, make sure you do not exceed daily recommended levels.

Read more: http://www.thesuperfoods.net/cacao/benefits-of-raw-cacao-powder#ixzz3w9HjvTcL

Gkup Coffee. What a great team with incredible vision!

What a joy it was to start my day off at the Headquarters of GKup Coffee. Yossi and I strode into the bright Innovation Lab space on Great Northern Way to be greeted by the charming and charasmatic Marc Bains. Marc is one of the Lead Technologists and Social Media specialists at GKup. Later we were met by Darren Footz the fearless leader and innovator of the GKup Coffee concept and reality.

What is a Gkup you ask? www.gkupcoffee.com will explain in a lot of ways but for our conversation it's simple. If you know what Coffee Pods or K cups are....then you know that garbage bins are filled with them. Sure makes brewing single cup coffee a breeze, but to choke up our landfills who would have guessed?? Well Darren saw the light and the pile of disposable cups all over the transfer stations and dumps worldwide and said ENOUGH!!!! 

Gkup Coffee has created a compostable, completely biodegradable single-serve coffee pods for use in Keurig and soon to be other manufacturers single cup coffee machines worldwide. Awesome!

We at Companion Whole foods have spoken to our partners about single-serve pods and were equally as disgusted by the amount of waste day in and day out that has caused billions YES billions with a "B" of those little cups to choke out environment year after year since their invention. And along came Gkup Coffee. Speaking to Darren we shared the interest in not participating in the plastics and polymers that do not compost, that cannot be recycled, and agree that a plant-based solution is necessary and will be embraced by millions of coffee lovers in the very near future. 

Companion Whole Foods has every intention to share the GKup Coffee vision with our Partners. We spoke earlier this year about packing single serve coffee and the downside garbage wise was so offensive we chose not to. Until now, what Gkup Coffee is offering us and our customers is a game changer. The farmers in Colombia who do their part in bringing us wholesome organic healthy products into our kitchens and we shall reciprocate by bringing healthy wholesome organic containers in which to host and showcase their delicious offerings and sparing Mother Earth along the way!!!

For more information on GKup Coffee please go to their website www.gkupcoffee.com and learn about the timing of these wonderful little cups that will help encourage the prolific rise of single- serve coffee machines into our busy households. No longer will we have to compromise our neighbourhood landfills at the expense our our yummy caffeine-induced habits.


<div id="fb-root"></div><script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/GkupCoffee/posts/10156373648445707" data-width="500"><div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"><blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/GkupCoffee/posts/10156373648445707"><p>It was a real joy to have met Darren and Marc from Gkup today. Yossi and I from #companionwholefoods #yossirouch...</p>Posted by <a href="#" role="button">James Junior</a> on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/GkupCoffee/posts/10156373648445707">Friday, December 18, 2015</a></blockquote></div></div>

Organic Coffee Cacao and Cane Sugar Now!


Living in Vancouver you get a real sense of too many choices. We are trying to encourage an environment where less is more. Provide quality, tasty and affordable foodstuffs. That is what we will do, and strive to do it consistently well. Overkill is abundant in our town.

I am talking about the amount of coffee houses and whole food providers that exceed the art galleries, boutiques and live music venues. What is cool about the people at Companion Whole Foods is they are not trying to compete with the world mega brands nor will they need to. Companion Whole Foods are dealing direct with the farmers of the products provided through partnered friend and family connections. 

Organic is important to all who are watching what they put in their bodies and no one is more familiar with it than generations of farmers in the Andean Hills that grow Companion Whole Foods Coffee, Cacao and Sugar Cane. They do not spray toxic chemicals or use factory produced fertilizers. They are traditional and humble in their techniques and deliver exceptionally high quality and delicious whole food products. 

Have you tried our products yet? If you havent you should and then share your comments, we are serious about hearing if you love our Coffee, Cacao and Panela as much as we do..