Welcome back to the Local Love Blog Series – we took a little break to rest and are so excited to come back for some more great features!
This week we’ve got the privilege to feature the masterminds behind The Rocky Bean Co., an awesome couple who are bringing us Euro-Aussie-inspired coffee in their amazing VW van. Monika and Chris are passionate about their homemade treats and second-to-none coffee and love sharing that with their community every day.
Despite the name The Rocky Bean Co., Chris and Monika offer not just coffee.
They also have specialty tea drinks available, with their tea provided by Banff Tea Co., and Matcha Nude. Their coffee is provided by Eclipse Coffee Roasters, and their treats are mostly gluten-free (sometimes vegan) and all baked by Chris!
Monika and Chris have their business dialed and tasks evenly divided.
Monika looking after managing events, communication, marketing, accounting, and more while Chris manages the daily operations as well as serving as your barista and baker. They are constantly bringing new ideas to the table with new creations and flavour combos. They’re committed to being as original, consistent, and true to themselves in every way possible.
Their iconic VW van is the initial draw for most customers, wondering how a coffee shop could look so cute.
It isn’t until customers try the coffee and treats though, that they realize they’ll be keeping their eyes peeled for the van every time they frequent a market afterward. The VW van has allowed Monika and Chris to be mobile, which has been a blessing throughout the pandemic, but does come with its own challenges. Being their own bosses requires a lot of financial responsibility to look out for their business and their family, but they also love the freedom of owning their own small business.
Since they met, Monika and Chris knew they eventually wanted to operate their own little cafe.
Monika is from Thurigen, Germany, and comes from a family of food industry professionals. She studied hotel and restaurant management and worked for renowned hotels and big events. Chris is from Vendée, France, and has been baking since he was a kid with his grandmother. He went on to study pastry and has since worked in Michelin-starred restaurants with renowned chefs.
Chris and Monika met while they were both working in Davos, Switzerland.
From there, they began traveling and working together with their adventures taking them all across Europe and into Australia and New Zealand. Eventually, in 2010, they made their way to Canada and found work at the Post Hotel & Spa in Lake Louise. What had started as a one-year travel visa turned into a 5-year job for both of them, until they started their family and took over The Rocky Bean Co. in 2015.
So how did The Rocky Bean Co. come to be?
In 2015, Chris and Monika had some great Aussie friends who unfortunately lost their jobs due to the fires in Fort Mac. These friends recognized that finding a good cappuccino or flat white was still nearly impossible, so they bought a VW van and The Rocky Bean Co. was born. They operated the business for the summer in Penticton, after which they found a new adventure to pursue so Monika and Chris took over in 2016.
Monika and Chris are now based in Exshaw, but you can find them in the van all over the Bow Valley.
Being so involved in the Bow Valley community and have some great shout-outs to make! Of course, their partnership with Eclipse Coffee Roasters can’t go unmentioned, as well as getting their teas from Banff Tea Co. and Matcha Nude. They also love the work being done and the products provided by Valbella Gourmet Foods, Wild Life Distillery, and Sheepdog Brewing. Both working in the food industry for 20+ years, they hold a special place in their hearts for organizations like the Bow Valley Food Alliance. Chris and Monika are shocked to still see the lack of food security in their countries, and the general lack of education about good food, how to grow and prepare food, which the Bow Valley Food Alliance works hard at addressing.
We asked Chris and Monika what their biggest life lesson has been since opening their business:
A business is like riding a bike…
if you stop moving forward, you lose your balance.
While they are vaguely thinking about opening a brick-and-mortar coffee shop in the future, for now, they are very happy with their mobile business set-up and the freedom it allows them. They love seeing happy and returning customers and are eternally grateful for all the amazing support they’ve had from Bow Valley locals over the years. They hope to see their community continue to support and shop local and would love to see the Bow Valley welcome more small, local businesses instead of introducing bigger, chain box-stores.
They are working to find a balance between work and spending quality family time with their two kids, and are eager to make their way home to see family.
If you are looking for great coffee or tea and delicious treats, make sure to follow The Rocky Bean Co. on Instagram and Facebook, or find them online. They can always be found at the Banff Farmers Market on Wednesdays and the Canmore Farmers Market on Thursdays – both markets wrap up their seasons in early October so make sure to check them out soon!
Lou Doyon Freelance also offers copywriting, editing, content marketing and social media services. Reach out for more info!