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The Adbeus Coffee Project: Montreal Cafe Culture

Posted by Amie / February 7, 2011

Adbeus Coffee Project - Cafe RicoThe Adbeus Coffee Project: "The best coffee in pixels. Using the same frame for each picture: the coffee to the right, the table as a background and the camera from the top."

The Adbeus Coffee Project is about Montrealers' love of the coffee shop experience.

"I believe that the neighbourhoods of a city are built around it's coffee shops," says Coffee Project founder, Don Tanios (alias). For him, the project isn't about finding the best espresso or latte art in Montreal. Instead, he wants to take viewers on a virtual tour of the cafe culture that shapes the city.Adbeus Coffee Project - Depanneur Le PickupDepanneur Le Pickup

Simplicity is obviously important in the project that features cups of coffee photographed in exactly the same way, but Tanios says it's only to make sure you focus on the important parts. "When I look at the picture and I can feel as if I was actually in the café, I know it's a success." Tanios is also a purist when it comes to his coffee. He insists that latte art "looks good but doesn't mean it's good coffee. But it's true that you have better chances of getting a better coffee if the barista is capable of doing latte art. A place like Le Zigoto doesn't do latte art but they have one of the best coffee in town."Adbeus Coffee Project - Cafe Le ZigotoLe Zigoto

The project started as a game for Tanios when he at restaurant Dupond & Dupond in the summer of 2010. "I was playing with my phone taking pictures of the coffee I had ordered. I took one from the top and liked it. I decided I would do the same for each different place I would go. I wrote down the rules according to the first picture."

Since the summer he's enjoyed and taken photographs of coffee at his favourite cafes including Le Zigoto, La Petite Cuillère, Café Rico ("Erin is my favourite barista, you should talk to her, she is very interesting"), Caffe Italia and Club Social. He's constantly looking out for more places with good coffee in the city:

"I find them by walking in front, I read about them in blogs, magazines (Nightlife, Voir, etc,), I receive Tweets or through friends....I think that I have been to most of the best spots in Montreal, if you have more to suggest that I don't know of and I have not been yet, please tell me!" Adbeus Coffee Projec - Cafe Lili et OliCafe Lili et Oli

Tanios also started the Adbeus Music Project to display the music heard in coffee shops. The site features a music player that jumps from song to song and is a fascinating look at the different atmospheres found at cafes around the city.

Tanios hopes that more Montrealers will join him in documenting coffee culture in Montreal.
He wants contributors to be able to send pictures from whatever cafe they're in, like he does from his phone after he drinks a coffee and confirms it's a good one. "If the coffee is not good I don't send the pic." If it is good he posts it directly to his blog from his phone. "I usually take 3 or 4 pics before I like one. There is no editing."Adbeus Coffee Project - Cafe VeritasCafe Veritas

Though baristas sometimes wonder why he's taking a picture of his latte, he figures most people shrug him off as normal by Montreal artist standards. "No one has ever asked why I was doing it. Most of the places I took a picture at are located in "artsy" neighborhoods so I guess they are used to people doing weird stuff and I am not that weird after all."Adbeus Coffee Project - Cafe MyriadeCafe Myriade

So why no review of the coffee itself?

"What else can I say about a place than what I show on the pic?" It would be the same as any other restaurant or cafe listing website." Tanios also admits he doesn't read most reviews that people write and by posting a single photo, "the coffee to the right, the table as a background and the camera from the top," the image will be "enough but at the same time not enough" so people will want to go to the cafe to try the espresso for themselves.

You can get in touch with the Adbeus Coffee Project through Twitter (@adbeus) and through the Coffee Project website.

Photos used with permission of Adbeus/Coffee Montreal



Leslie / February 10, 2011 at 01:13 pm
What, no Gamba?!
Amie / February 23, 2011 at 11:57 pm
I'm pretty sure Gamba is one of the photos up on his site. He's got a lot there. I couldn't even think of any others to recommend.
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