Espresso Odyssey: The Story of Phil & Sebastian

In 1996, at the University of Calgary, Phil and Seb met during their engineering studies. While most of their peers indulged in pizza and beer, they bonded over their shared appreciation for fine food and wine. 

Their journey into the world of espresso began in 2002, with Phil's introduction via his late Uncle Billy and Seb receiving an espresso maker as a gift. Through meticulous experimentation and research, they honed their skills, culminating in the creation of their first drinkable espresso by 2005. 

Caffeine Chronicles: Phil & Sebastian's Path to Passion

A pivotal moment occurred with the inheritance of a book, "Espresso Coffee: Professional Techniques" by David Schomer, which deepened their understanding and passion for espresso.

Inspired by Seattle's Vivace Espresso, they embarked on a transformative road trip, solidifying their commitment to the craft. Attending Coffee Fest in Seattle provided invaluable insights and connections within the coffee community.

Ultimately, they named their venture Phil & Sebastian, embracing simplicity and authenticity.

From Bean to Brew: The Roasting Saga

Determined to roast their own coffee, Phil & Sebastian embarked on a journey that began with a sample roaster in their basement. Despite initial challenges, they devoted fifteen months to honing their craft, delving into research, experimentation, and even seeking consultation in San Francisco.

By September 2008, their skills had improved enough to invest in a production roaster. Their quest led them to acquire a 55-year-old UG-15 Probat in need of extensive refurbishment.

Despite initial setbacks, they persevered, enlisting a Dutch company to restore the roaster to its former glory. On June 4th, 2009, after meticulous testing, they began serving their own roasted coffee to the public, ensuring its quality matched their high standards.

Direct Harvest: Global Coffee Quest

Phil & Sebastian faced the challenge of securing quality green coffee beans for their roasting venture. They recognized the limitations of buying from importers and sought a more direct approach.

Their journey into direct sourcing began in Costa Rica in 2010, where they collaborated with Francisco "Chico" Mena of Exclusive Coffees. Through Chico, they connected with local producers like Ricardo Perez and Macho Arce, establishing lasting relationships. Encouraged by their initial success, they set a goal to exclusively source their coffee directly by 2012.

To ensure meaningful partnerships, they focused on a select number of countries, allowing them to invest time in each producer and drive continuous improvement. Today, Phil & Sebastian proudly source directly from several countries, supporting quality and sustainability initiatives across their supply chain.

Brewing Success: The Barista Triumphs

Phil & Sebastian's journey in the Canadian Barista Championships began in 2008, immersing themselves in the coffee nerd subculture. Despite initial setbacks, their baristas demonstrated remarkable talent. Ben Put's victory in the precursor competition fueled their determination to excel. Subsequent years saw consistent success, with podium finishes and breakthrough wins.

In 2013, Ben clinched the championship title, while Megan Feniak's impressive debut secured her as the top-ranked female barista in the country, marking a remarkable achievement for the team. 

Visionaries in the Making: Phil & Sebastian's Journey Forward

In contemplating the future, neither Phil nor Sebastian claim certainty. However, they both acknowledge that their venture has always been driven by passion. Prioritizing their roles as engineers and coffee enthusiasts over business endeavors, they have learned to navigate challenges with an eye on sustainability. Yet, their primary focus remains unwavering: crafting exceptional coffee and sharing it with their community.

Experience the dedication, passion, and unparalleled quality of Phil & Sebastian's coffee, where every cup tells a story of craftsmanship and commitment to excellence.