Owner and Teacher
With previous career experience mainly as a producer for video games, CGI cartoons and visual effects for television and films, Chris got interested in coffee as a hobby at first, buying a high-end home espresso machine and grinder, and then collecting various other brewing equipment, cups, t-shirts, etc. When he was looking for a change in careers, he decided to try to turn that hobby into a profession. Knowing he needed to learn a lot before doing so, he went in search of a barista job. He was fortunate enough to be the first employee hired at the groundbreaking Café Myriade in Montreal, and received an intensive training from its owners, Anthony Benda and Scott Rao, during the café’s first year of operation. He then worked as a consultant and trainer for many Montréal cafés and restaurants, before opening The Knife, a progressive café on Saint-Denis Street in Montréal in March, 2012. Chris has now sold that café, and is focusing on his new venture, the Montreal Coffee Academy. Chris can talk about coffee for a really long time.
For those who know Bianca, she is more than a coffee lover. She has been promoting the local coffee scene since 2012 and highlights her artisans: first as the founder and main blogger of the Café French Toast site, she is also Co-founder and the Director of communications for the coffee event East Coast Coffee Madness in Montreal, consultant Graphic Designer specializing in the specialty coffee industry, and finally, Coordinator at the Montreal Coffee Academy since 2018. Bianca enjoys communication and collaboration; she was happy to collaborate in 2019 in the third edition of Corsé Magazine, with an article on women coffee farmers and their vital and underestimated contribution to the coffee industry. With her experience as a graphic designer, her master’s degree in Management, her great motivation and her dedication, she is always there to get things done.
Active in the specialty coffee world since 2014, Victor is among others, teacher at the Academy since 2016 and initiator of his new Vagabond project, which aims to create a space for meeting, reflection and discovery centered around the preparation of coffee. Barista at Le Couteau and Noble cafes, he also worked as a barista in a cafe in Fukuoka, Japan, where he made amazing encounters in the industry. He recently made a trip to Ethiopia where he could see the natural habitat of coffee, and which gave him a very little insight into the complexity of the social and political fabric. In short, to witness the framework of what we are used to seeing in the marketing context of coffee. You can also meet him at Espace Ville Autrement, during his next stay with his Vagabond project.
I am interested in our increasingly scientific understanding of the different elements of coffee, be it agriculture, roasting, preparation, sensory. It is also a good historical and sociological case which illustrates many of the biases and injustices of our society, and of our inability to tackle effectively the major environmental issues such as the climate crisis. But ultimately, what first attracted me to coffee, more than the drink itself, is the café as a place, as a meeting space, where for a moment sometimes we get lost out of time, out of self; a moment which tends towards the sublime.
Originally from Sacramento, California, Nicole started as a barista at renowned Temple Coffee Roasters before coming to Canada in 2010. It was during her studies at Concordia University that she began to see specialty coffee really take off in Montreal. It was also during this time that she began working for Saint-Henri micro-torréfacteur, eventually becoming their Director of Education. She has also worked for Dispatch Coffee, Café Paquebot and Le Petit Dep. In 2016, she became an organizer for the first women’s latte art competition in Montreal, the Feminista Barista Jam now in it’s 4th year. Nicole also placed 2nd this year in the Canadian Cup Tasters competition, organized by the Specialty Coffee Association.