James Mullinger visits the EPOCH chemistry coffee house in Moncton and discovers some of the best coffee this side of Colombia.
Photographs by Philip Boudreau
Epoch Chemistry Coffee House in Moncton, New Brunswick, was founded by Matt Symes, Zach Dallaire and Conor Conway in June 2020 to foster connection, conversation and community, all through a real passion and love for great coffee. Beginning with the straightforward desire to bring the world’s best coffee to Atlantic Canada and beyond, they opened a private tasting room that centres on experience and home-brewing.
Focused on beyond fair trade, they use a triple bottom line to ensure they serve their clientele and the planet well. They are continually searching out like-minded partners so they can offer guests the best ethically sourced, quality coffee available.
Zach Dallaire, Conor Conway and Matt Symes founders of Epoch Chemistry Coffee House
“Our tasting room opened in the summer to wild success against the odds,” enthuses Symes. “We’re getting a lot of ‘I can’t believe this exists in Moncton’ feedback.” Conway, a former musician, has transferred his passion to coffee, finding a way to break the mould and build a business during the pandemic. “Life is a tapestry of moments, and we believe in creating those memories. Great coffee is our vehicle.”
Put simply, for anyone with even a passing interest in coffee, a tasting at Epoch Coffee is the best gift. Think of it for a bachelor or bachelorette party, an office outing. Or for the ultimate COVID-friendly excursion: book in your bubble for a private tasting, and have the stunning showroom and tasting centre to yourself.
Conway is not surprised by how many people have been flocking there. “The Epoch tasting experience has been unique not only in its style but by the fact that we are attracting a ton of non-conventional coffee lovers,” he tells [EDIT]. “From the triple-triple-Tim’s drinker to the Ethiopian-coffee connoisseur, we have been seeing that great coffee really is for everyone. If you had asked me prior to opening who I thought our main customer would be, I would have been off the mark. Anyone who loves ethicality, knowledge and experience will be right at home in our tasting room.”
Conway moved to New Brunswick in 2014 to work with Sistema NB, an intensive after-school program that encourages at-risk youth to reach their full potential through learning and performing orchestral music. “Moving somewhere for a job is always a risk, and at the time I was skeptical about whether or not this would be a permanent move for us,” he said. “However, I was absolutely blown away by the culture and community of our amazing province. There is a true appreciation for the arts, local talent and bilingualism. I always wanted to have a family in a place of inclusiveness and diversity, and we’ve found that here in New Brunswick. I have never experienced such a warm community of young, driven entrepreneurs as the one here in Atlantic Canada. The ability to engage an attentive audience, work alongside and collaborate with other local businesses is incredible. In our tasting room we feature upwards of three to four other local businesses simultaneously with our own — we really see ourselves as a hub for everything local and hip.”
Epoch Chemistry Coffee House
Matt Symes is a hugely respected entrepreneur, and everything he touches turns to gold. Conway loves working with him: “I am an excitable, passionate person with a lot of ideas so having a mentor and partner like Matt keeps me grounded, focused and driven. Working with someone who understands the intricacies of what it takes to be a high performer is humbling and inspiring. And plus, Matt can finally have a great cup of coffee whenever he wants to.”
But really, it’s all about the coffee.
“Bad coffee has run its course,” says Symes. “We believe in circularity. We believe in respecting the process from the soil to your first sip. Few realize how sensitive the bean is and how remarkably different the same bean can taste when it is prepared in different ways. Just like building connection, conversation and community relies on a deeper understanding. Let us connect with you the wonders of coffee.”
Epoch Chemistry Coffee House,
400 George Street, Moncton, NB
This story originally appeared in [EDIT] magazine. To subscribe, please click here.