Ojibway coffee company brews sweet new partnership with ice cream brand
Birch Bark Coffee Co., an Ojibway-owned company based out of Ottawa, recently teamed up with one of Canada's most iconic brands of ice cream to create a brew-ti-ful new flavour.
Chapman's cold brew coffee-flavoured ice cream is hitting the shelves this month.
"I've tried a lot of ice cream and when I sampled this ice cream it was like a wow factor … we had just finished the tub of it," said Birch Bark Coffee's founder Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow.
Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, from Whitefish River First Nation, about 70 kilometres west of Sudbury, started the company in 2018. The name Birch Bark is a nod to his community, located on Birch Island.
Driven primarily through e-commerce at first, Birch Bark Coffee is now available in stores like Costco and through partnerships with Compass Canada, Sodexo Canada and Aramark – major food suppliers in Canada.
"I have a big responsibility now as a mentor but also as a voice for all our communities," said Marsolais-Nahwegahbow.
The business advocates for improving drinking water quality in Indigenous communities across Canada and donates a water purification system to an Indigenous family for every 100 bags of coffee sold and one for every 50 bags sold directly from their online store.
Part of new product line
This is Chapman's first collaboration with another company since they were first established in 1973.
As Chapman's celebrates 50 years in the business, they're creating a "super-premium" product line.
Ashley David Chapman, Chapman's chief operating officer, said a partnership with Birch Bark was an easy decision after trying the coffee.
"Mark and I just became friends over the pandemic," said Chapman.
In making the super premium product line, he thought, "How cool would it be to do something with Birch Bark?"
Marsolais-Nahwegahb said this coffee ice cream is the first of its kind because it's made with cold brew rather than freeze-dried instant coffee crystals which are typically used to make coffee-flavoured ice cream.
A portion of the proceeds from the ice cream will go to Birch Bark's initiatives in improving drinking water quality in Indigenous communities.
Shawn Adler, chef and owner of Pow Wow Café in Toronto and the Flying Chestnut Kitchen in Eugenia, Ont., used to run the cafeteria for employees at Chapman's for about five years. He serves Birch Bark Coffee at both of his restaurants.
"I look forward to tasting the ice cream and I'm sure we'll work it into our menus," said Adler.