Marc Comeau

This is the first segment in what will hopefully become a regular feature around here, ‘Babely Barista Interviews’. Today I bring you Marc Comeau, who is from Dartmouth, and is a co-worker of mine from Just Us!.Marc has been around the cafe scene in Halifax for a while now and  got rehired at Just Us! this fall after a quick stint out in Vancouver where he worked at JJ Bean. I chose Marc to be my first interviewee  for a few reasons… Marc is a great barista who always puts a lot of care into his drink making ( and all his other cafe duties), He is genuine and kind with all the customers, He is a babe who has a great sense of style and he is a gem to work with and he is always making everyone laugh and feel loved (all the boys and girls alike have a crush on him), plus he loves coffee and has a lot of passion for what we do, every day, at work! When Marc is on bar you can always rely on him to be calm no mater what is going on, always taking his time on each drink and paying attention to details, his drinks are  always consistent in quality- He always works hard. Marc kindly obliged to answer a few questions for you all and also let me snap a few photos of him in action at approximately 7 o’clock this morning when we opened together! Thanks Marc!

1. Tell me about your first coffee experience:
My first coffee experience, at least that I can remember, is probably taking a sip of my father’s “medium, double milk” in the passenger seat as we left the Tim Horton’s drive-thru. I recall not liking it. “It needs sugar” I thought. My palate has come a long way since then.

2. How did you begin working with coffee? Tell me a little about yourself:
I began working with coffee in 2004, when my good friend, Deanna, offered to put in a good word with her manager at Starbucks. I was in between semesters at the time, pursuing a life as an engineer and just needed a summer job to pay the bills. Never did the thought of working in coffee even cross my mind before Deanna merely mentioned the possibility. I was quite desperate for work at the time and that was my only good lead. So I thought “what the hell?”, I applied, and thanks to Deanna’s referral, I got the job. I had every intention of quitting at the summer’s end, but as it turns out, I fell for the coffee shop atmosphere and became addicted to the social nature of the place. Come September, I decided to stay on staff as a weekend part-timer, as that’s all my school schedule would allow. Several years (and several coffee shops) later, here I am, still serving coffee with the same adoration for the unparalleled social aura found in a neighborhood coffeehouse.

Classic Marc 90 Degree Angle Tamp.

 

3. Why do you love doing what you do?:
I love getting to interact with so many people everyday. I love the sense of community. Coffee can be prepared & enjoyed in such a wide variety of ways and for that reason, it attracts a wide variety of people; people of all ages, races, and social classes. Different as we are, though, we gather day in, day out, under the same roof because of one, underlying common link: coffee. I love the idea that a cup of coffee (and I use that term generically to encompass everything from brewed coffee to a latte or espresso or mochacchino) has the power to make or break someone’s day. In my job, I am motivated by the sliver of a possibility that my course of actions is having a positive impact on somebody’s day.

4. What is your favorite drink to make? Why? What is your fave drink to drink? Why?

My favorite drink to make is, hands down, a small latte. Both fastidiously prepared basic elements (i.e. espresso and milk) are at play here and, in my mind anyway, in perfect proportion. Between espresso extraction, milk texture, and milk temperature, there is so much room for error, thus making a perfectly crafted latte that much more rewarding. With less milk to mask the harsh punch of a poorly extracted shot of espresso (in comparison to larger lattes) and the absence of sugary add-ons (such as chocolate, as in a Mochaccino), the Barista’s skills are more showcased. This is true of a traditional cappuccino, yes, but then I appreciate the creative freedom involved in the pour, allowed by the “wetter” texture of latte milk. This, along with the slightly longer time frame to work with over a cappuccino pour, makes it easier to pour latte art and just more fun to play around with.

Beautiful!

My favorite drink to drink is completely situational. It depends on my mood. It depends on the time day. It even depends on the season (nothing beats an iced latte on a hot summer afternoon). If I had to narrow it down, though…well I still can’t choose just one, go-to beverage, but it would probably be a coin toss between an Americano and, surprise, surprise…a small latte.

5. Do your future plans include anything to do with coffee? What DO you want to do with your life?
What is my true calling? To be perfectly honest (despite the praise I have just given my job), sometimes I feel like the only reason I’m still slingin’ coffee is because I haven’t found the answer to that question yet.

6. What is your favorite music to listen to while working?
Again…completely situational. It can drastically vary depending on my mood. It also depends on the time of day and, again, it even depends on the season (yeah, I dig Christmas music, so what). In the early mornings, I tend to lean more toward non-abrasive, easy-listening options. Classical works very nicely. As the day progresses, sometimes I need to kick it up a notch and put something a little more up-beat to keep me motivated and keep the clock hands moving. I love tackling a rush on bar to the rhythm of a catchy, upbeat playlist. Jazz is perfectly suitable rainy day music (Miles Davis anyone?). My favorite music to listen to at any given time, though, is probably that which others will be able to enjoy with me. That goes for customers and co-workers alike. You gotta read your audience. If the majority of the clientele look like they’re on a field trip from the senior citizen’s home, I won’t be able to truly enjoy any of my favorite hip-hop selections.

Your neighbourhood Babely Barista

Thanks again, Marc, and I hope you all enjoyed this first interview!

Cheers,

-Ceilidh

Advertisements