Roaster en vedette - 94 Celcius

Roaster en vedette - 94 Celcius

Bienvenue! Welcome to our first post!

I quickly want to tackle a small housekeeping note. If you live in Montréal or have visited, you probably know that one of our vibrant city’s charms is the mix of English and français or “franglais” for those who have a knack for a portmanteau. Fun fact: “portmanteau” is an old French word for suitcase. The expression for combining two words is said to have first been coined by English writer Lewis Carroll. Frenemies love to borrow from each other!

Although French is the language most common among Québecers, the city’s international status and its history of English settlers, gives rise to an abundance of English speakers in this metropolis. In a bustling café you may hear pals switch back and forth between languages, or, one person speaking French while the other responds in English. Believe it or not, everyone somehow manages to understand one another and it’s a beautiful trait that is special to our city. All this to say, being a bilingual Montréal business, I wanted to give you a heads up that while some posts will be in English, others may be in French. And, most of them will probably have some “franglais” in them. I hope you enjoy reading, au pire, tsé qu’il existe le Google Translate 😉 Au plaisir!

Our current roaster spotlight is on 94 Celcius, a charming specialty coffee roaster that started its journey on the south shore of Montréal. While Québec has a plethora of rad coffee roasters, every now and then you stumble upon a business that is a triple threat. For me, a triple threat coffee roaster is one that is consistently producing great coffee, upholds their noteworthy values and vision through their actions, and aims to ethically source coffees that will make an impact at origin. Collaborating with their team, getting to know them, and drinking ample amounts of their coffee, I can tell you that, bon ben oui, 94Celcius is just that, a triple threat!

Although they are quite humble about how rad they are, we definitely won’t be! Headed by Marc-Alexandre, 94 Celcius is making a wave through our vibrant coffee culture in Québec, with class and passion. I asked Marc-Alex to answer a few quick questions to shine a little light on what he and his team is all about:

What do you love most about the coffee industry?

M-A: Like many of us, it's the community. It's fascinating how everyone is working together from partners from around the world, to other roasters from the same region. Everyone is ready to support you. It's a great industry for that.

What’s one challenge you had when starting out?

M-A: Opening a roastery from start to finish one of the biggest issues is the cash flow. Everytime you expand or have nice growth there is a wall waiting for you and asking for more money. If not, understanding what people really want to drink in specialty coffee. Everyone seems to enjoy great Kenyan coffee, but in the end it's so hard to sell!

What’s something you’re proud of?

M-A: Building a business, so much up and down, but a lot of small success. We are not the biggest company out there and we don't pretend to be. We want to have fun, grow at our own pace and feeling we are doing most of the steps right.

By the way, your eye maybe didn’t catch it, but we didn’t make a mistake in spelling 94 Celcius. In fact, upon coming up with the name for the new company, a common spelling error in Cel(s)ius was made and instead, a second ‘c’ was used. Well, it turns our that everything happens for a reason because it’s spot-on for this Montréal roaster. The second ‘c’ in the name became part of the trademark name which fits perfectly for their brand. You can read the story of how this came about right here.

We’ve noticed you support many women producers, is that intentional? Why is that?

M-A: When we started the company we wanted to buy coffee only from women producers. We found there was a lack of equality in the coffee domain and we wanted to showcase amazing coffee only from women to help to make a change in the industry. Over time, we found it more difficult to have access only at coffee from women, but we try to buy mostly from them. Last time I checked we were almost 86% (total bags) of coffee from women this year.

Does Simeon (the dog) help with deliveries?

M-A: I wish, we don't do as many deliveries as before. But when I started it would have been a blast, however Simeon is not a fan of being on the road. He prefers to run and sniff green coffee.

What’s your favorite coffee pairing?

M-A: Silence! The joy in the morning or early at the roastery having your first coffee and just enjoying it. Amazing ! It might be a side effect of having a baby at the house.

How do you make your morning brew?

M-A: 90% of my coffee are from pour over, mostly from a V60 probably all broken down, that is with me since I can't remember.

Do you have a favorite coffee shop?

M-A: I can't say for Montréal, I'll put a lot of people against me. I lived in Paris for a few months while I was studying and I really enjoyed sitting down at Café Belleville. I have a lot of great memories down there.

Do you usually prefer washed or natural coffees? Why?

M-A: It changes from season to season. At the moment, I'm really into natural coffee. I found that the process gives a bit more depth to the coffee and also the summer is coming. Who doesn't like a great fruity coffee with a nice sun outside.  

Their slogan #NeverBiterAlwaysFair / #JamaisAmerToujoursJuste sums them up well. We’re lucky to collaborate with people like Marc-Alex who want our Montréal community to thrive and who are genuinely kind. Recently, I was searching for a batch grinder for our Carafe Communautaire initiative because my home grinder was just not going to make it through the year. Marc-Alex was the first person to reach out and help get us hooked up with a second-hand Malhkonig. This was such a game changer!

If you haven’t yet, 94 Celcius is a roaster to be discovered –  if not for their values of ethics and rigor, then for their complex and flavorful coffee that will make your tastebuds twirl. Wrapping up this roaster spotlight avec un gros merci à Marc-Alex and his team for making things smooth and always being accommodating. It’s been an absolute pleasure to have them on board!

Try their coffee, follow them on Instagram @94celcius

Stay Curious. Stay Kind. Bon Café!

- Whit

Photos cred: 94 Celcius