Honoré de Balzac, one of history’s consummate coffee aficionados, is a prolific and celebrated 19th century French novelist. His prodigious output was famously fueled by copious cups of strong, black coffee consumed throughout the night.
While earning a university degree in French Literature, Diana Olsen, President and Founder of Balzac’s, discovered a kindred spirit in Monsieur Balzac and his genuine passion for coffee. Upon graduating, she immersed herself in authentic French culture, spending a year and a half in France. Passing many enchanting afternoons in the Grand cafés of Paris, Ms. Olsen was inspired to bring this sophisticated celebration of coffee and social tradition back home to Canada.
San Francisco was her next stop in 1993, to learn the craft of coffee roasting and bean selection at the West Coast Specialty Coffee Training Institute. In 1996, the first Balzac’s café was opened in Stratford, Ontario. Today, Diana oversees all aspects of café operations and coffee roasting from the Balzac’s Roastery in Ancaster, Ontario.
On the premiere episode of the sixth season of CBC’s Dragons’ Den, Diana ventured into the Den and won over two Dragons with her unique pitch. watch the clip »
Since her appearance in the Dragons’ Den, Diana and the team have been very busy! CBC caught up with Diana in Spring 2016 to see how things were going. watch the clip »
Balzac's values are infused with everything our customers experience in our cafés. Artisanal, Sustainable, Local and Natural are the four cornerstones of our business practices. Each product is thoughtfully and diligently sourced. While we endeavour to keep an eye on efficiency and affordability, we will not take shortcuts with our quality or preparation techniques. We strive to offer 'Slow Food' prepared quickly, not 'Fast Food'.
Balzac's has been offering Fair Trade Organic coffee, sugar and cocoa since 1997 and all milk used in our beverage service is organic and locally sourced.