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Saltwinds Coffee Company
Saltwinds Coffee Company
Made in the Maritimes

Celebrating Dr. Laura Richard: the mind behind Ocean Air Coffee and one of the 25 most powerful businesswomen in Atlantic Canada.

We are very proud to announce that Saltwinds’ very own Dr. Laura Richard has been named one of the top 25 Most Powerful Businesswomen in Atlantic Canada, according to Atlantic Business Magazine. Laura is a pioneering figure at the intersection of chemistry, entrepreneurship, and sustainability.

Laura’s journey into the coffee business began amidst the unprecedented circumstances of the global pandemic in 2020. Confined to their homes, reminiscences of their childhood on the maritime seacoast and a restless curiosity led Laura and Brad to ponder the lost flavours of coffee from bygone eras.

In particular, they were fascinated by stories they had heard about the taste of coffee in the 1800s, when it first arrived in the maritimes on wooden sailing ships. In those days, the coffee, it was said, tasted quite different than it does today, as a result of having been naturally infused with ocean air over its Atlantic sea voyage.

Armed with her extensive background in chemistry, including a PhD from Oxford and experience in the chemical processing industry, Laura embarked on a quest to recreate the elusive taste of that historical Ocean Air infused coffee she had heard about. 

“I was fascinated by the idea of using fresh ocean air, so abundant on our Maritime coasts, and wanted to try and recreate the taste of coffee from the Age of Sail,” Laura said.

Laura – testing a new coffee roast profile

Through tireless experimentation and hundreds of trials, she unlocked the secret to crafting a coffee that, infused with ocean air,  has remarkable smoothness and richness. This breakthrough marked the creation of Saltwinds’ signature Ocean Air coffee, launching Saltwinds as a business and brand. The taste of Ocean Air infused coffee quickly proved to have a global appeal, winning third place in the International Cold Brew Championships where Laura presented it in 2023 in El Salvador. 

Despite her successful business endeavours, Laura does not consider herself a businesswoman. 

“I see myself, first and foremost, as a scientist,” Laura said. “Yes, we’re applying science to this business, but to be called the business person— let alone recognized as one leading the way in Atlantic Canada was a surprising honour.”

For Laura, science isn’t just a profession; it’s a vehicle for understanding the intricacies of the world around her. Her fascination with the “why” behind phenomena led her to embrace science as a discipline, where she could continually explore and innovate. 

Despite her self-identification primarily as a scientist, she has seamlessly transitioned into the role of a business leader, steering the team at Saltwinds Coffee Company to success in Atlantic Canada and beyond.

Laura’s ethos is deeply rooted in environmental consciousness. Recognizing the urgent need for action against climate change, she took personal responsibility by scrutinizing her carbon footprint. 

This introspection led her to make significant lifestyle changes, from downsizing her home to embracing alternative modes of transportation. Yet, it was her realization about the environmental impact of coffee consumption that sparked Saltwinds’ ambitious goals of eliminating carbon emissions from coffee roasting.

“I realized that coffee was a significant contributor to my own personal carbon footprint and reducing the amount of coffee I drink felt impossible,” said Laura. “So instead, we tried to reinvent roasting coffee to make it a little bit better for the planet.”

Creating the Saltwinds Coffee Roasthouse

Laura seeks to redefine the coffee industry’s approach to sustainability. She aims to minimize the carbon footprint associated with coffee production without compromising on quality or flavour.

Laura’s story is a testament to the power of following one’s passions and embracing unexpected opportunities. Her advice to others reflects her own journey: pursue what excites and stimulates you. In doing so, she believes, one can forge a fulfilling career and make a meaningful impact on the world.

We are very lucky to have Laura to lead us and to look up to at Saltwinds and we are very excited and proud of her achievements. 

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