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Expanding Montreal’s Third Wave Coffee Scene

“here in toronto where the coffee scene is way ahead of Montreal”
[Citation needed]

Jul 03, 2014
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)
2

Expanding Montreal’s Third Wave Coffee Scene

Shattered: As others have told you, it’s not the first year it’s been done but café owners in Montreal didn’t necessarily realize it was successful.

May 01, 2013
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Expanding Montreal’s Third Wave Coffee Scene

Shattered: Café owners said they weren’t sure the program was serious enough.

May 01, 2013
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

recommendation near concordia

Two of the most recent ones (if you’re still interested): GaNaDaRa and Misoya.

Apr 30, 2013
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Expanding Montreal’s Third Wave Coffee Scene

Doing network ethnography, I see deep processes by which cafés do a lot more than that. They serve as meeting spaces where things are discussed, planned, and sometimes implemented by people coming from specific parts of the broader network. The French Révolution was planned at Le Procope. Movements happening here are often more subtle but, together, they contribute to the richness and complexity of social change.

I’m using “change” in a broad way, not specifically about renewal. Or even about directed processes. I’m talking about how communities morph. A neighbourhood doesn’t mean the same thing when its community members take on new roles.

Gentrification might be part of a way a neighbourhood changes (we do see that in PetPat, including with MileEx real estate bubbling up). But I’m more interested in subtle patterns, like that of Mile-Enders moving north of the tracks and opening businesses around here. That’s not really gentrification, at least not in the classical sense. It does have an impact on linguistic diversity (less Spanish and Italian spoken, more English). But it’s not just one thing, going on. It’s part of a complex change, with many actors.

And I do find that these specific spots are a bigger part of the story than one might assume. “Disproportionate” doesn’t mean “overwhelming” or “determining”. I was talking about weak signals. What connects Odessa and Fixe isn’t much. Some may say they’re competitors, though it’s very unlikely that the regular at one place could have been a regular at the other place. Yet they’re really not far in the network. They do have “friends in common”, despite the fact that they’re on the edge of the Third Wave coffeescene. Sure, anything planned by the CDEC/RPP will have a larger impact than any number of cafés can have. Although… The longterm impact often comes from these simple little things emerging, including the way people start describing coffee at diverse places.

Which is something I’ve observed, quite a few times. Myriade’s role hasn’t been to serve as a hub for ConU’s “Hipsters” or to improve the appearance of a protected building. It’s been to trigger a few chain reactions, the effects of which are noticeable while observing cafés. Phyllis Lambert has been doing a lot to make sure the “Concordia Ghetto” doesn’t become like an actual ghetto and Concordia itself may finally start to shift away from its “settlement pattern”. Myriade has a less obvious impact. But still disproportionate to their level of activity as a business.

Apr 30, 2013
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Expanding Montreal’s Third Wave Coffee Scene

Or further East… There’s Pourquoi Pas in the Village and 1880 in Quartier Latin. There are several spots in the Mile-End, which is convenient for me as I live in PetPat, just the other side of the tracks, Apart from going to Verdun for Baobab, the passport didn’t make me travel that much. So, in terms of “internal tourism”, it might not broaden people’s horizons that much.

Part of it might be about the shape of the coffeescene. I’ve started this thread with the notion that Third Wave cafés are concentrated in a few parts of town. Among other things, the thread made me discover Fixe, the first Third Wave café to open in PetPat. Since then, Odessa has opened just around the corner from me. Hopefully, Third Wave cafés can play a part in neighbourhood development.

In fact, been going back to some things from Jane Jacobs which resonate with people interested in urban development. Third Wave cafés make fascinating case studies as they probably have a disproportionate impact on the ways neighbourhoods change. But other cafés also play a big part.

Been hearing several things from café owners about the passport, including from those who didn’t take part. Some of them weren’t sure the passport was such an appropriate thing to do. Others actually contacted the people behind the passport to make sure they’d be on it. And some simply didn’t know about it.

Rumour has it that it’s the last year, for this passport system. Which could be sad, as it sounds like it’s quite effective. Cafés could still join forces to create something similar… or a brand new model. These cafés are part of a broader network. Many of those café owners know one another. Those who don’t were able to connect, somehow, at least through customers. Sounds like there’s an opportunity, there.

Apr 30, 2013
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Indie Coffee Passport Coming to Montreal

About tea at Fixe. They limit their selection to make sure they have teas they like and that they cover ground which isn't covered by other places. Dunno if they change their tea menu much but, right now, they have Oong Shan (green), Darjeeling Seeyok (black), Dragonpearl (Jasmin), organic black Earl Grey, and Transsiberian Chai. If I understand correctly, they also have two infusions (flavoured rooibos, and chamomile with lemongrass and rose). Would ask, but they're a bit busy, now (lunch crowd came in all at the same time).

Apr 25, 2013
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Indie Coffee Passport Coming to Montreal

Soy milk doesn't require an extra grinder and the process doesn't require that large a waste of water.
I'm at Fixe now, having a fabulous meal. The Brazilian coffee I had as drip was appropriately soothing. Also had some Rise Kombucha, which I also enjoy. They're out of Chaga but it sounds like another interesting caffeine-free alternative.
Besides, there might be a critical mass issue. If there's only a few people asking for decaf in a day, they couldn't keep it fresh.

Apr 25, 2013
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Indie Coffee Passport Coming to Montreal

Decaf coffee is its own can of worms… I know what you mean and I fully respect your perspective. But it might be useful to get insight from the other side of the equation.
(I’m a coffee enthusiast, not a coffee snob or coffee professional.)

Café owners would love to find a good decaf coffee that they could serve. In fact, many coffee snobs would be ecstatic if they could have as much coffee as they wanted without worrying about caffeine. In coffee circles, a good decaf is something of a mythical beast. There’s a few people who claim to have encountered it but, strangely enough, it has this habit of disappearing when others try to approach it. So, people tend to move away from the decaf coffee chimera.
Until a good decaf coffee is created, the best option is probably to have something which isn’t coffee.
I’ve seen some cafés where they preground some decaf in the morning, even though all other coffees are ground just before use. The resulting coffee was undrinkable, but people probably drown it in milk, anyway. The effect would be very similar if you were to use coffee extract in milk. Some places do flavoured milk “steamers”. One might argue this is most of what is sold at Starbucks. I have nothing against it, personally, but it’s to quality coffee as a wine cooler is to a quality wine. It may have a generic “coffee-like” taste, but the Third Wave is about a very complex beverage which, sometimes, doesn’t even taste like one might think of as “coffee”.
For instance, I’m having coffee made with beans grown by Claudio Salazar in Costa Rica, and roasted by Anchored in Nova Scotia. Exquisite experience. My whole day will be improved from this coffee, I have a whole new outlook on life because of it. But someone might think it tastes more like tea or like some other drink than like what people think of as “coffee”. In fact, the Nilgiri Parkside tea from CS might be bolder than this Salazar coffee.
You might think of this as the uttermost form of snobbery. But you can also think of it as a wonderful experience.
These coffees aren’t on the commodity market. The same thing happens in craft beer and we could have a whole discussion about alcohol- or gluten-free beer (though those can be very good, unlike decaf coffee). If you want “just a beer”, you might be disappointed at many brewpubs in town. If you “just want coffee”, a Third Wave café isn’t the best place to get it.
Which doesn’t mean that you can’t have something else.

Fixe has smoothies and, as far as I can remember, some other drinks which don’t have caffeine. Well, they do have quality wine. That’s caffeine-free! But, as you might guess, it’s not alcohol-free.

Apr 25, 2013
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Indie Coffee Passport Coming to Montreal

Thanks for the report!

‘Figures, about 1880. I’d say several spots on the passport have more ambiance than taste, at least in terms of coffee. Though I can play along with coffee snobs (after all, I judged some barista championships), I’ve enjoyed some of the spots with non-snobworthy coffee. Wouldn’t have gone to these places if it hadn’t been for the passport, and it’s usually a fun experience. I’m an ethnographer, so I do care about this kind of thing.

Haven’t commented on tea, even though I like it too. Making some Nilgiri Parkside right now. Among my favourite CS teas, along with Tan Huong wulong and Sun Moon Lake. I miss Cha Guan, on Monkland. It was my favourite tea spot.

As you’ve noticed, CS is served at several of the Third Wave cafés on this passport. Tunnel is a notable exception. While I was there, someone who works nearby (and seems to know the owners) came to get tea to impress a lady (the guy might have been Congolese) and a discussion unfolded about this. It seems that they had a few tea samples, at some point. The guy mused that he might have to go to David’s Tea, with appropriate gasps and dental clicks.

Chris, at The Knife, does care a lot about tea. He did work with Scott Rao who enjoys tea on a more regular basis than coffee (despite having opened several cafés and written two books on coffee). That’s why Myriade has its own tea selection, sometimes including some amazing things. The tea experience which greatly increased my appreciation for tea (after going to CS for years) is some “Buddha’s Eyebrow” fresh off the plane from China. I’ve had some really fresh tea at CS, but this one made me realize something about what tea can be. I think Scott might have been present at the time. Though Myriade staff is well-trained, there can be an added something when Scott is around. Maybe it’s just the Hawthorne Effect (they’re even more careful when they’re observed).

Apr 25, 2013
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Expanding Montreal’s Third Wave Coffee Scene

Agreed. I quite enjoyed it, including for the coffee (Kittel and Phil & Sebastian). While I was there, around the time people leave work, several people came by to chat a bit while having coffee. Though it doesn’t have any seating, that type of interaction is quite typical of cafés in Northern Italy. And I’ve found the coffee much better at Tunnel than in a typical Milanese café.
Haven’t had the pastries, but they sound pretty good. He apparently overstocked that day yet he was out when I passed by.
They’re true to form as a Third Wave café, trying different things, making sure the shots are well-crafted each time.
In several ways, it’s better location (and much bigger) than Distributrice.

Apr 25, 2013
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Indie Coffee Passport Coming to Montreal

The main reaction I’ve noticed was that they’re pleasantly surprised by how effective the program is. Those who don’t know me also perceive my passport as a sign of something, though it’s a bit unclear what that may be.
I think it’s useful to think about such programs beyond raw numbers. It’s not just that it brings in more people, during that time. It’s also that the people it brings in are precisely those who are outside of the normal crowd. With all the talk about the association between Third Wave cafés and hipsterdom, getting a diverse crowd can be even more of a benefit.
And I don’t know if others do the same but I often end up spending more at cafés I visit through the passport than if I’m just passing by for coffee. Cafés aren’t losing any money on the “free” coffee they give me.
I do agree that Névé, Flocon, Pikolo, Sardine, Saint-Henri, Gamba, Humble Lion, Myriade, ArtJava, Distributrice, and Odessa are notably absent. But it’s not just a question of having an established clientèle or not. Even Myriade could have benefitted from this.

Apr 24, 2013
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Indie Coffee Passport Coming to Montreal

Agreed. Just sad Odessa isn't part of it.
Also, the passport seems to have a deeper impact than one might have expected, at first. At least, that's the impression I got from reactions by café owners and employees.

Apr 24, 2013
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Expanding Montreal’s Third Wave Coffee Scene

Have people here heard of the “Indie Coffee Passport”? If not, it might be a neat way to explore Montreal’s coffeescene. Out of 18 cafés, I’d say the following would qualify as belonging to the Third Wave:

* Arts
* Fixe
* Boris
* Plume
* Lapin pressé
* Knife
* Pourquoi pas
* Différance
* Tunnel
* Véritas
* Dispatch

Notably absent:

* Myriade
* Pikolo
* Sardine
* Odessa
* Névé
* Flocon
* Distributrice
* Saint-Henri
* ArtJava
* Gamba
* Humble Lion

Apr 24, 2013
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Indie Coffee Passport Coming to Montreal

Short version: Fixe.
Longer: there are several reasons to go to a given café. Coffee taste matters a lot, but food, ambiance, and convenience also matter. Fixe has, to my mind, the best combination. Sarah Musgrave did a review of their food. My best meal so far this year was dinner at Fixe. I also like the ambiance and I find it very convenient. Not to mention that their coffee is up to par.

These days, coffee snobs tend to favour those cafés which belong to the Third Wave of the coffee craft (more of an experimental attitude to coffee than an actual flavour profile, but there's a tendency toward espresso made with lighter roasts of single origin beans, etc.). Several Third Wave cafés in town are absent from the passport: Myriade, Pikolo, Sardine…
Still, some cafés on the passport do qualify as Third Wave and I think most coffee snobs would enjoy trying them out (though they might spend more time complaining about the shots than enjoying the place).
* Arts
* Fixe
* Boris
* Plume
* Lapin pressé
* Knife
* Pourquoi pas
* Différance
* Tunnel
* Véritas
* Dispatch

Haven't tried 1880,yet, but I'd be surprised if it were part of the Third Wave.

Apr 24, 2013
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Café Plume: Since when it is OK to ask a customer to leave before they finish their food?

Only saw this after posting about sharing a table. This additional info does help bring a bit more context. Knowing that there were stools available, I’m even more surprised by the manager’s behaviour. I’m sure something else happened to make her react this way but, in context, it really sounds like the most appropriate course of action for her would have been to ask you to move to a stool (since they’re almost reserved for individual work and laptops).

Like you, I’m saddened by the turns this thread has taken. There’s something about Chowhound’s “community management” which might make this kind of situation more likely to happen. What’s sad about it is that there’s a lot of lost insight about relationships between cafés and their communities. As Montreal’s Third Wave coffeescene takes a new turn, this insight would be particularly valuable. But it’ll be easy to share it in other contexts.

Apr 02, 2013
Enkerli in Not About Food

Café Plume: Since when it is OK to ask a customer to leave before they finish their food?

Sad that the thread veered toward a discussion of laptop campers instead of this original query. Part of what is lost is insight from context.

And, though I’ve seen similar contexts elsewhere, part of the disconnect in the conversation may have to do with local context. In Québécois contexts, there’s a number of places where people hang out without consuming anything at all. For instance, “convenience stores” («dépanneurs») often have people who just hangout for days on end, without consuming anything.
In fact, the film Gaz Bar Blues is about people hanging out at a gas station, all day, everyday. There’s discussion of rentability at some points in the film. The key point being that these people’s behaviour has been the local norm.

Those spots are pretty much what Oldenburg called a Third Place. Though Chowhounds may perceive these venues as businesses, they also serve a specific role in the community. Sure, there’s a financial transaction involved. But part of the place’s value is generated by a subtle interplay between regulars and newcomers.

Plume is a special case. More than many other cafés in their network, they make conscious efforts to ensure that the place is indeed a Third Place. More than in many other cafés, loitering is clearly the norm. Their laptop-free weekends are explicitly not about preventing loitering.
And, again, the OP has been a regular, adopting a behaviour which has been deemed normal for a number of months.

As a few people have acknowledged, what’s at stake is a change in norms, not an individual’s behaviour. Applying external norms to this specific situation is unlikely to produce interesting results. In ethnographic disciplines, we call that “ethnocentrism”. It’s very common and isn’t a blame assigned to people. But it causes all sorts of problems.

In this case, some people may disagree with the OP’s behaviour. What’s at stake, though, is how people respond to such situations, in context (including ongoing norms and rules). And though I still respect Plume’s management and staff, I think the response was out of character and ineffective.

Something which has been quite effective, on many occasions I’ve observed (even last night), is to ask people to sit together or to scoot over. Based on OP’s description of the situation, it sounds like it would have been easy to do and I’m convinced that it would have been much more effective. It sends an indirect signal to others, encourages human interaction, focuses on the social side of the contract, and lets the person know that a change in norms may be under way.

Again, I understand that people react in different ways and I’m not faulting this manager for her approach. I do think it’s unfortunate because all signs point to the fact that the OP has indeed been a valuable Plume customer.

Apr 02, 2013
Enkerli in Not About Food
4

Café Plume: Since when it is OK to ask a customer to leave before they finish their food?

The OP posted something elsewhere about the same situation, which is why I know it’s one of the three owners.

Apr 02, 2013
Enkerli in Not About Food

Café Plume: Since when it is OK to ask a customer to leave before they finish their food?

As you noticed, most of the thread is a reaction to a different question from the one the OP was asking.

Apr 02, 2013
Enkerli in Not About Food

Café Plume: Since when it is OK to ask a customer to leave before they finish their food?

Talked to two people about this, in two different places. One is a barista (at another café) and the other one owns a trendy restaurant.
In both cases, they sounded surprised as to the approach taken by this manager at Plume. One described subtle techniques (learnt while working the brunch shift) to ensure the table turnover works for everyone without patrons feeling rushed. The other was mostly reacting to how upfront the request was. Neither of them is originally from Montreal, but they both demonstrate an accurate understanding of local norms.

Again, I understand why a manager might feel pushed to enforce new norms. I just think there are more efficient ways to handle such situations.

Apr 01, 2013
Enkerli in Not About Food
3

Café Plume: Since when it is OK to ask a customer to leave before they finish their food?

Exactly, it depends on context. “Context Is Key!”

As an ethnographer fascinated by Montreal’s café culture, I find the whole thing quite interesting.

Plume is a place which does have explicit rules against laptop use during the weekend. In fact, the attached picture was posted on Twitter a few weeks ago and retweeted by @CafePlume. (Maybe the owners considered that today was part of the weekend but, if so, they could have simply pointed to the policy and no further discussion would have been needed.) A space with a counter and stools is almost exclusively dedicated to laptop use. The place is so specifically laptop-friendly during the week that I almost hesitated to go without a laptop.
It’s also a place which encourages loitering. They do takeout (I think) and they probably don’t mind if people only come for a quick coffee, but they do what they can to make sure people feel free to remain there for a long time. I was told by one of the owners that they do shows, but I was never there during one. The last few times I went (having a single drink), I was explicitly told by owners and patrons that I didn’t stay very long.
In other words, this café is quite different from a place where people are expected to consume and leave.
Not to mention that «Entre le café et la plume» is in one of the neighbourhoods with the largest number of cafés, restaurants, bars, and other public spaces. What makes Plume distinctive is that it’s almost a coworking space. It’s clearly an example of what Oldenburg has called a “third space”, between workplace and home. The fact that there are stairs leading to it and that they have a (small) patio during the summer may contribute to this.

Beyond behaviours deemed (in)appropriate, (in)offensive, or (un)reasonable, there’s a lot to be said about what a café represents, in a community. All three owners have been explicit about the community aspects of their café, though they each a special angle.

There are many assumptions in this thread which make for an interesting read. (For instance, garmonbozia talked about other people’s laptops but may well have been working there without a laptop.) Sad that the thread has attracted ad hominem attacks on garmonbozia, but it probably displays some Chowhounds’ point of view on the role of cafés in food scenes (as opposed to their role as third spaces).

Apr 01, 2013
Enkerli in Not About Food
1

Café Plume: Since when it is OK to ask a customer to leave before they finish their food?

Plume’s interesting because, whether they realize it or not (and I’m quite sure they do, based on conversations with them), the three owners have been encouraging the behaviour which got the OP “in trouble”. If another place welcomes laptop squatters with specific conditions, I’m genuinely interested in knowing more about how the policy is implemented. Thing is, Plume is specifically not that place.
Plume also isn’t a place where people arrive to rest their feet with a coffee. There are plenty of places like that around Plume, but this café itself («Entre le café et la plume») isn’t it.
To be clear: I’m not saying that the request itself was unreasonable (very hard to tell from outside the specific situation). However, my analysis (knowing the place, the owners, and several patrons (including some regulars)) is that this request is unlikely to have the desired effect and is likely to have undesired effects.
I’m still puzzled that this would happen at Plume. ArtJava? Sure. Gamba, SHQL, or Saint-Henri? Possible. Lapin pressé, I could see that happen. At Camellia Sinensis, they already have rules in place and they handle these things in a very tactful and effective manner. At Couteau, they usually have enough room to accommodate different behaviours. At Myriade, they specifically make it so that it’s either for takeout or long conversations, not for neither “footrests” nor “laptop squatting”. Of course, such a request is likely to be made at a restaurant (especially in a diner or fastfood place), or in a mainstream sports bar or coffeeshop (La cage au sport or Brûlerie St-Denis). Plume is probably the last place I expect this request to be made.

Apr 01, 2013
Enkerli in Not About Food

Café Plume: Since when it is OK to ask a customer to leave before they finish their food?

Have you considered Camellia Sinensis?

You probably realize that Plume is one of the cafés where the behaviour you decry is most likely to happen. Myriade has almost no table-hugger, by comparison. Plume does have laptop-free times, but most of the time it’s meant to be laptop-friendly.

Apr 01, 2013
Enkerli in Not About Food
1

Café Plume: Since when it is OK to ask a customer to leave before they finish their food?

Rules and norms have contexts of application. What is striking, here, is the change in approach to norms and rules. From discussions I’ve had with Plume’s patrons and owners, it sounded like there was an informal norm that extended loitering was expected. The laptop rule brought such norms to the fore: this is a place where people are expected to interact with one another on weekends. I’m quite sure one of the owners explicitly talked about the fact that they were ok with patrons spending a lot of time there, regardless of consumption level. It was very early on, when the place opened.
If owners want to implement some changes, they’re obviously allowed to do so. There are several ways to do it which can be quite efficient. Enforcing a new rule on individual patrons is unlikely to work well for them.
Having clear, formal, explicit rules can work, but it’s especially tricky in a place like Plume. Since they’ve opened, they’ve established themselves as a specific type of place, with a specific type of clientèle. Other people (not garmonbozia) have told me explicitly that it’s their third place, that they spend a lot of time there, that I’m likely to bump into them when I go, that it’s a neighbourhood headquarter, etc. Any change in norms is likely to be accompanied with a change in clientèle. That can be riskier than owners would realize. Still, it can be done and it’s possible that it’ll have positive effects.
Another strategy would be to get regulars on their side by discussing things with them or warning them of coming changes in how the café works. Though it sounds like it’d be more time-consuming than posting a new rule, it can also be surprisingly effective at generating goodwill, a sense of belonging, and new business.
Yet another approach would be to progressively institute a new policy by telling individual patrons that, despite what has been going on until now, a new policy is coming into effect and it won’t be ok to stay so long the next time. Stronger, even more time-consuming, and likely to generate some unwanted tension. But potentially effective.
The option which was taken, asking a regular to vacate the premises before they finish their food, is probably the most time-consuming and is highly unlikely to be effective. It’s also the one which is most likely to generate resentment on the part of the regular and their friends.

Of course, if that one regular patron had been identified as the root cause of a specific problem, it’d be a different issue. Same thing if this specific occasion implied other factors (a patron having inappropriate behaviour). But, from the outside, it sounds like the approach used was misdirected.

Which is quite easy to understand, in such a context. But still unfortunate. Regardless of how reasonable a change in norms may be, the way a business deals with those cases can have a domino effect.

Apr 01, 2013
Enkerli in Not About Food
1

Café Plume: Since when it is OK to ask a customer to leave before they finish their food?

What’s strange is the approach to implementing a new policy. Owners have been explicit about their desire to make people feel at home. Early on, they implemented policies on laptop use at certain times. And they’re usually able to talk with people about their approach. In fact, that owner has probably an hour and half talking with a customer about such things as creating a nice atmosphere.
There are diverse ways to set people’s expectations. Asking individual patrons to leave after a certain is probably the most inefficient and the most unlikely to contribute to a comfortable atmosphere. Especially with a regular. Regulars don’t warrant special rules but do warrant a thoughtful approach.
Of course, those of us who weren’t there at the specific time may not have all the details. Having interacted with the three owners at Plume, I’m especially surprised that something like this happened there.

Apr 01, 2013
Enkerli in Not About Food

Expanding Montreal’s Third Wave Coffee Scene

I think someone told me about it, recently, but I don’t remember anything about the details. I don’t think it’s someone I know directly, but it’s probably someone connected to the Third Wave scene somehow.
Speaking of which… It was really nice to have so many Third Wave people at The Knife for the PACE event about “Cutting Edge Coffee Experience”, last week. I get the feeling we’re entering in yet another phase in Montreal’s coffee scene and it’s one which might be even more inclusive and open.

As for that tunnel… It’s a strange location, in some ways. There’s been quite a turnover during the past year and that tends not to be an excellent sign. One might figure that foot traffic is pretty good, but it’s clearly not a destination. And the nail salon smell actually may discourage some people from consuming beverages there. In a way, several tunnels are like that, say at Place Bonaventure or at Peel.
Still, we’ll see how this coffee outlet works out. You never know, it might start a trend.

In terms of location, though, Humble Lion could brag about theirs. Not that it’s a guarantee of anything but it might be a textbook case for proper café location.

Mar 08, 2013
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Savory Sorbets

Using a sorbetière (Cuisinart ICE-20). But maybe that’s why some of my sorbets are rock hard…
How’s the texture, with yours?

Sep 10, 2012
Enkerli in Home Cooking

Savory Sorbets

Thanks for that Lebovitz link. Provides some lesser-known tips along with context for common ones.
Hadn’t thought (or read) about corn syrup, gelatin or fat in sorbet. While I hesitate to add anything extra to my sorbets, I might experiment with those.

Sep 09, 2012
Enkerli in Home Cooking

Expanding Montreal’s Third Wave Coffee Scene

We may be getting somewhere, albeit through different angles.

On Hipsters, fellow Concordia ethnographer Zeynep Arsel has provided me with this interesting link:
http://lar.me/2f6
I hope she can come by here to discuss the connection between the Third Wave scene and what she describes as the Hipster narrative.

To clarify my original point, I see the Third Wave as a movement, as per Trish Skeie’s original article: http://lar.me/3rdwave

In this sense, it’s much less about “premium” (unlike Second Wave institutions like Charbucks and Second Cup) than it is about experimentation and care. Eventually, I hope it can be about local innovation. Sure, Third Wave coffee is usually more expensive than a Timmy Double-Double. But it’s still quite affordable on a student budget. Besides, Montreal isn’t in the Maritimes: we don’t have that many Tim Hortons locations.

Third Wave cafés are also not like fine dining. Which is why I relate it more to chowhounds than to foodies.

As for average neighbourhood income, it doesn’t sound like a great predictor of Third Wave café presence. Didn’t find an updated list of average income by borough but this 2000 one shows Plateau as below Montreal’s average for household income and higher than Montreal’s average for low-income households: http://lar.me/2f4 (PDF
)Some 2005 figures are available for most boroughs, but they’re not in a very handy format. Here’s the Plateau one:
http://lar.me/2f5
Browsing those pages, I notice that several boroughs had higher average household income than Plateau: Anjou, Cartierville, Île-Bizard, Outremont, Pierrefonds, RDP/PAT, Verdun, and Ville-Marie. While Myriade is in Ville-Marie, none of the other boroughs have a Third Wave café.
I’m sure a colleague could model the Third Wave café scene and find the best predictor for their location. Maybe proportion of students could work, especially if combined with something else. But I’m guessing it has more to do with perceived “trendiness”, which is probably difficult to assess precisely but easy to unearth.

Which is part of the point I was trying to make. About fifteen to twenty years ago, the Plateau neighbourhood lifted itself from its modest roots to become trendy. The Mile-End has increased in trendiness not long after that. Other neighbourhoods have been compared to Plateau, over the years, but the shift hasn’t really happened. Sounds like the Southwest borough is currently emerging as a trendy neighbourhood and Jean-François Leduc’s microroasting operation is probably better located than my Third Wave map might imply. After all, it’s walking distance from Atwater Market, Joe Beef, etc.

Not only can it make good business sense to be the first Third Wave café in an emerging neighbourhood, but I think Third Wave cafés can play a part in local innovation. I sincerely hope it’s not about gentrification. But I also hope it can be about community building.

Aug 23, 2012
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Expanding Montreal’s Third Wave Coffee Scene

Ha! The Third Wave to Hipster connection! That could lead to an interesting discussion. Maybe we should ask Zeynep Arsel, who does academic research on Hipsters.

Thing is, while I understand the connection, it might lead to misguided decisions.
My premise: Hopefully, the Third Wave isn’t merely a fashion trend.

[By the by, I’d argue that there are plenty of Hipsters in PetPat. They may not be as “mainstream” as Griffintown ones, but they’re likely patrons of Third Wave cafés as other Hipsters. In fact, I just heard about Fixe, a Third Wave café on Saint-Hubert. I’ll try to take note of its Hipster Quotient when I go.]

While there are plenty of self-labeled Hipsters at several Third Wave cafés, Hipsters aren’t the only ones making up the scene. If they were, Hipsters’ distaste for the well-known might become a problem for the scene. How can café owners take part in the Third Wave if their only customers “were into them before they became famous”? I’m not poking fun, here. I’m thinking about the transient dimension of “fads” and the implications for a broad movement.

Not that catering to Hipsters is a bad strategy for a business to use. Currently, it’s quite likely that Hipsters are the ones who spend the most money on such products as quality coffee and PBR. Per capita, at least. Targeting Hipsters requires quite a bit of flexibility, though. You need to be ready to change things quickly if there are indications that your “brand” is becoming stale (or is becoming too recognized as a “brand”). Several café owners are able to pull it off, but it requires a fine tuned analysis of social trends.

And there are ways to have some diversity in Third Wave cafés. Just this past weekend, I was discussing Third Wave cafés in Paris and Geneva with a Montreal café owner. Not only are these Swiss and French cafés called “coffeeshops” and full of English-speakers, but most of them look just like North American cafés. Like this local café owner, I don’t see a necessary connection between the Third Wave coffee movement and the looks of cafés which take part in it. Not only is there plenty of room for Third Wave cafés in just about any city, but there’s a lot of room for Third Wave cafés which look different. I trust café owners to make it work, even if it requires some effort on their part.

So I’m not worried about café owners, individually or as a group. They’ll adapt or switch to something else.

I’m more concerned about the Third Wave as a movement and as a drive for social innovation. Sure, it sounds like a lofty goal. But Procope and the Merchant’s Coffee House are useful precedents to keep in mind. For the movement to make a broad impact, it’d have to move beyond the Hipster circle.

Aug 22, 2012
Enkerli in Quebec (inc. Montreal)