Q&A With Ambros Coffee Co.
This is our first time featuring Ambros Coffee Co., the Montreal-based roastery run by brothers, Anthony and Tom Argiropoulos. Inspired by their Greek heritage and their family involvement in the specialty coffee world, the brothers wanted to create a brand that communicated specialty coffee in a different way. Focused on maintaining the spirit of yesterday while still taking risks, the brothers developed Ambros, a coffee company that is doing things differently. We caught up with Anthony to learn more.
- How did you first get into roasting coffee?
Our family in Greece owns Taf, which is a huge specialty coffee company in Greece. I was inspired by the work that they do. I initially studied marketing and I had been working in building management when I decided I wanted to learn how to roast myself. I went to the Canadian Roasting Society, and just before the pandemic started I decided I wanted to start my own roasting business. Once the pandemic began, I had nothing to lose so I launched Ambros and my brother joined me shortly after.
I am in charge of roasting, business development and brand marketing. My brother is in charge of fulfillment and inventory and he is the barista. It’s a family business and it is going to stay that way.
- Tell us a bit about the brand Ambros.
We are simultaneously growing a coffee company while growing a coffee brand. We want to grow the brand by talking about what we want to talk about and what is interesting to us. We want our Greek heritage to be stitched into everything we do. We like to have fun with the branding and take risks. We have a model of ‘running against the wind’ because we want to communicate good coffee in a different way. Part of that is the idea of ‘modern coffee with the spirit of yesterday.’ In the past, you didn’t know the story of where your coffee came from but there was a ritual and a tradition to it; we want to maintain the ritualistic aspects while also sharing the stories of where the coffee is from. We don’t want to be a faceless brand and we don’t want to sell faceless coffee.
- How would you describe your roasting style?
I like to give it a range. I am not religious about roasting things light. I see more value in bringing in people who don’t necessarily like light coffee. I want to give them an opportunity to discover specialty coffee. Our dark roast is never oily. I will often offer one coffee roasted in multiple ways; I like to experiment to see how I can bring out different flavours in it.
- Can you tell us about the Greek coffee you offer?
The main thing for Greek coffee is the grind. It can be diffi cult, it has to be powder, a normal grinder can’t do it, and you need special burrs to get it fine enough. You put it in a little stovetop coffee pot and boil the coffee immersed in the water. When it rises and the foam nears the rim you pour it into the cup and drink it slowly. It’s a little ritual. It tastes very heavy because there is no filter. It’s not for everyone.
- What are your plans for the future?
We plan to open a retail location in the next year or so. We have plans to do something special. We like being smaller but we are structuring ourselves to be a bigger roaster with the same ethos and individuality we have now. The core of our brand is communicating who we are and giving people access to good coffee in an interesting, accessible, and fun way.