Who is Epoch Chemistry? (Moncton, New Brunswick)
Location: 400 St George Street, Moncton, New Brunswick
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Roaster Type: Stronghold Halogen Roaster
Years of operation: opened in 2020
Epoch Chemistry was founded by Conor Conway and Matt Symes, who aim to bring great coffee to Atlantic Canada.
What began as just an idea for a café slowly became a full business. Epoch Chemistry is now a full roastery that supplies coffee to nearly 30 retailers (scroll to the bottom for a complete list of where you can drink and buy their coffee) with a bustling café and a tasting room (scroll to learn more about their unique tasting experience).
The team focuses on education, experience and maintains that specialty coffee should be fun and approachable.
"We are here to be your jumping-off point into specialty coffee and to nurture you along the journey." – Conor Conway
The café is housed in a beautiful brick building with a front patio in a historic part of the town. With a retail section, cafe seating and educational resources, it is a hub for the specialty coffee community.
To play up the theme of chemistry, the space is peppered with different chemistry-related designs—for example, beakers for serving coffee and test tubes for coffee samples. Also, Conway's title at the roastery is 'Head of Alchemy.'
Approach to Roasting
Epoch roasts in a Nordic style. This means they keep the profiles light-medium to highlight the natural flavours in the high-quality green coffee they source. This results in coffees with notes ranging from chocolate, dried fruits, and nuts to mulled wine, tropical fruits, and candy.
The team uses a 9-kilogram Stronghold Halogen roaster that allows them to have control over the roasts and produce consistent coffees.
This roasting style sets Epoch Chemistry apart from most roasters on the East Coast as they tend to roast coffee a little darker. Specialty coffee and lightly roasted coffees are starting to take off in Atlantic Canada. With incredible community hubs like Epoch, we hope to see more and more specialty coffee roasters popping up. If you're on the East Coast and want to learn more about specialty coffee, Epoch Chemistry is a great place to learn!
The Coffee Tasting Experience at Epoch Chemistry
In their dedicated tasting room, Epoch Chemistry hosts a Coffee Tasting Experience.
The idea behind the tasting is to showcase how different processing methods impact the taste of the cup. This is done by sampling one coffee processed in three different ways. To make this possible, Epoch teamed up with Forward Coffee Importers to source a Red Bourbon coffee from the Businde washing station in Burundi (Click here to read a full Deep Dive on Businde).
Here is a breakdown of the tasting experience:
- Processing: Natural
- Brew method: drip coffee made with a Ground Control Machine.
- Processing: Washed
- Brew method: V60 pour over
- Processing: Natural Anaerobic
- Brew method: Espresso
- This course features a classic affogato. They pair a Naturally processed Red Bourbon espresso with salted vanilla or salted coconut ice cream by Lost & Found.
This hour-long experience takes you through the steps of each brew method and helps you understand the unique flavours of Burundi coffee. Tasting each coffee side by side lets you discern between different processing methods and know how they inform the cup.
Relationship with Forward Coffee
Forward Coffee is a Canadian importing company founded by two-time Canadian National Barista Champion Cole Torode. Conor Conway, co-founder of Epoch Chemistry, is also the Sales Lead at Forward Coffee.
Conway told us about an idea he had when he began working at Forward Coffee. The theory behind this idea showcases how knowledgeable Conway is and highlights how involved Epoch is in the coffee world.
He wanted to create a decaf coffee that was as vibrant and delicious as regular specialty coffee. This is a challenge because some decaffeination processes, like Swiss Water, can slightly mute the flavours in the coffee.
To combat this problem, Conway had a theory:
"When I started at Forward Coffee had this theory that if we took a really heavily fermented coffee to Swiss Water, which can sometimes mute the flavours a little, it would end up balancing out the coffee's flavours. And that's exactly what it did," Conway explained.
So with the help of Swiss Water, this coffee went from overly fermented and boozy to having tasting notes of strawberry yogurt, grape candy and almond butter. We actually featured this coffee in Issue #8 of our Decaf Pack, and we can confirm it's delicious.
The coffee that was used was produced by Catur Coffee Company, a processing group run by Mikael Jasin, a famous barista competitor from Indonesia. They used controlled fermentation and yeast inoculation techniques to develop a highly fermented and potent coffee (click here to read a full Deep Dive on Catur Coffee Company).
Green Sourcing Ethos
Working at Forward Coffee means Conway is at the forefront of specialty coffee. Forward focuses on developing and maintaining relationships with the producers they work with. An example of this is their relationship with the Businde washing station.
"We [Forward Coffee] were the first to visit the Businde washing station from outside Africa. We have visited twice since then and brought them over to North America as well. It's been a beautiful relationship; we have great transparency with them. They share with us all the information about how they pay their workers, and Cole was able to help them develop their anaerobic fermentation processing," Conway explained.
This relationship-focused sourcing is also seen in how Epoch Chemisty approaches green buying. They focus on circularity in their supply chain to increase sustainability, and they work to lead by example regarding ethical practices and sourcing.
Featured in The Roasters Pack
We first featured Epoch in 2022 and are stoked to have featured them again in our most recent issue!
In Issue #8, we featured them in all four packs! Here is a quick rundown of the features:
In the Light & Adventurous Pack, we featured their coffee Zuberi Matsitsi, a washed Burundi coffee from the Businde washing station. This coffee is a quintessential Burundi with tasting notes of apple, caramel, and oolong tea.
“It’s even cleaner than some of the other Burundi coffees I have had. I feel that with the expansion of their drying stations and processing mills, their washed coffee’s quality is exceptional.” - Conor Conway
In our Classic & Approachable Pack, we featured their coffee Daterra Peaberry, a natural and pulped natural processed coffee from Brazil with tasting notes of toasted walnut, almond butter and bakers chocolate.
“This coffee has a mouthfeel I get from peaberries that I enjoy. It’s almost a little syrupy when it’s from Brazil, which I also find with Colombian and Kenyan peaberries.” - Conor Conway
In the Espresso Pack, we featured their coffee Gesha Village Chaka, a washed coffee from the esteemed Gesha Village farm in West Omo Zone, Ethiopia. With tasting notes of peach iced tea, lemon and floral, this coffee showcases why this farm is so beloved.
“The terroir is very beautiful. It is, for me, like quintessential Ethiopia. This coffee is the Illubabor Forest terroir; it’s the natural heirloom of the region. I keep buying this coffee; it’s super yummy. It has stonefruit, blueberries, black tea and floral notes; it’s super clean.” - Conor Conway
In the Decaf Pack, we featured the super exciting decaf coffee mentioned above! It is Divine Decaf, an anaerobic natural from Indonesia. With tasting notes of strawberry yogurt, grape candy and almond butter, this coffee is unlike any decaf you have tried before.
“I think a lot of subscribers are going to be jealous they did not get the decaf pack because this coffee is such a hitter. I’ve actually done some tastings with it, and people can’t tell it’s a decaf. Even coffee professionals have no idea. It’s so good and so vibrant; it’s going to break the norms of everything in the decaf realm.” - Conor Conway.