There are people who are serious about their coffee, and then there are people who like a serious coffee.
Clay Edghill, 40, has been the owner and operator of Port Alberni’s Serious Coffee for two years.
“It’s a little home away from home for people,” Edghill says.
A fresh coffee is a good ice breaker, and is a way for people to socially interact.
“And when it’s good it makes that interaction easier.”
Edghill grew up in Toronto and is the second youngest of eight children.
His younger brother Joe works with him at Serious Coffee.
Edghill, who did all his schooling in Toronto, counts English, math and calculus as his favourite subjects in school.
His least favourite subject was chemistry. “It wasn’t fun – it was a pain but I got through it,” he said.
He counts former teachers Mr. Dalton and Ms. Norona as having been strong influences in his life.
“Mr. Dalton was active in extracurricular activities and was a leader outside of class,” Edghill says.
“Ms. Norona would take extra time to help students who made an effort,” he said.
“She was strict but she was kind too.”
Edghill wanted to be a jet fighter pilot.
But after high school his dream was cut short because he was too short, he says.
Instead, Edghill worked full-time as a bartender and saved money to go to culinary school.
After earning his chef’s credentials he worked in Toronto before moving to Alberta in 2000 to be with his wife.
Edghill took a paternity leave in 2001 after his son was born and didn’t return to cooking afterward.
“It wasn’t a job that mixed well with parenthood for me and I wanted to spend more time with my son,” he says.
Instead, he managed a Starbucks for six years but left to help care for his wife after she was diagnosed with cancer.
The pair wanted a change and decided to move to Port Alberni where family friends lived for six years.
They packed everything into “the oldest U-haul on the planet,” and drove to Port Alberni at a top speed of 20 kilometres per hour.
“Next time I’m going to pay someone to move us,” he says.
Edghill was on EI and working part time when he and his wife found a coffee shop for sale listing in a local newspaper.
Being on EI qualified Edghill to participate in a small business program at Community Futures.
He completed the program and took possession of Serious Coffee on Aug. 22, 2009.
The secret to a good cup of coffee is basic, Edghill says.
“The beans should be fresh ground, proportional in weight to the amount made and brewed with good quality water,” he says.
“You can’t beat that smell first thing in the morning.”
If Edghill could have a cup of coffee with a famous world figure it would be with William Shakespeare.
“He wrote a lot of stuff that is still regarded as important today,” Edghill says.
“I think he was a bigtime coffee drinker because he must have stayed up late writing all of that stuff.”
A movie buff, Edghill has an extensive collection of VHS flics that he’s trying to transfer to DVD, he says.
His iPod is loaded with country, U-2 and illScarlett — a Toronto band.
“My parents are from Trinidad so I’ve got some pop-reggae on there too,” he says.