We will update you weekly on our freshest articles, videos, city guides and events, all in one email.

Barista Stories: Brice Robin of Polygone Formations, Paris

Meet Brice Robin, an exceptional coffee professional who moved from the French countryside 9 years ago to Paris to make a difference in the coffee industry. Brice is an educator and an Authorized SCA Trainer in Barista Skills at Polygone Formations which he founded together with Sébastien Vouillon.

Since 2016 Brice has competed in coffee championships every year since 2016 and became the French AeroPress Champion in 2017 and The French Barista Champion in 2023 and just a few weeks ago also 2024! Brice placed 7th at the World Barista Championship in Athens and will represent France again in May at the World Championship in Busan.

We admire Brice for his persistence and for bringing important topics to the championship stage. We can’t wait to see what he will showcase just in a few weeks in South Korea!

Barista Stories are sponsored by PUQpress.

Brice, what is your first memory of coffee? 

Back in 2015, when starting as a barista, I had a Nicaraguan espresso that smelled of orange. It was the first time I could clearly identify a smell different from the classic chocolaty/nutty one in a coffee. 

​​​​​What inspired you to pursue a career in the coffee industry, and how did you get started? What did you do before coffee?

I really wanted to become a pastry chef. Back in culinary high school, I had a small coffee training day. I originally just wanted to skip class, but I fell in love with coffee right away. I continued my journey into specialty coffee with championships and a rising community. It feels like coffee has just started in France, it’s exciting.

I also had the chance to work for Alain Ducasse, Dior, and Jean Imbert. I’m so happy that the Luxe is also considering having a good coffee.

Tell us a bit about Polygone Formations. What is your role there?

I’m the creator and co-owner of Polygone. It’s first a training centre. We obviously teach specialty coffee and train people to become baristas with our own content, or the SCA curriculum. But coming from the catering and hospitality world, it’s important for me and my associate to also train at restaurants and coffee chains. Places where you’re not a specialty barista, but you do coffee, right?

We also provide a catering offer, creating an ephemeral coffee bar for luxurious brands. That’s a world I love, it’s full of magical moments and places. Finally, we do consulting, coaching, and workshops for non-coffee professionals. Everything around coffee, we can help, that’s why it’s called Polygone.

What kind of experience do you want your trainees/students to have when they visit your training centre and your guests when they try your coffee at events?

(When I was still behind the bar, it was very important for me that the customer likes his/her coffee. Obviously. Sometimes to do so, you have to provide a lot of info about the coffee you’re serving, and the recipe. Showing your expertise and knowledge. Sometimes to do so, you have to leave the intimacy of the customer. Let the customer enjoy the space, the mood, and the cup. And just serve him a good cup of coffee.

I loved to adapt to the people I had in front of me. )

Paying for coffee training is a commitment, an investment. It’s essential that my students leave the place with the most information possible. We always explore as much as possible, from different coffees to different roast styles, and techniques. In the end, I share ALL the knowledge I have for the students. It’s a moment where I give a lot, and receive low. It is a bit tiring but crucial. Alain Ducasse one’s told me “Know you know, and that’s good. But if you’re the only one to know, that’s useless.” I always have his voice in my head when training‚

What is your favourite part of the day at work, and why?

I always start by preparing a filter coffee at work. Most of the time, people are here to share it; and we don’t try to describe or analyse it. That’s a statement. The first cup is to just relax, and enjoy a good coffee with the people around us. That’s a perfect way to start the day. 

How do you stay motivated and inspired to keep improving your coffee-making skills?

I am a very curious person. I tend to look and seek answers, especially when it comes to culinary topics and coffee. I like to know how things work and how I can improve.

I have the chance to be surrounded by very talented people. Baristas, roasters, and even home baristas. I can definitely say that most of what’s showcased in competition is the reflection of a lot of people behind me. 

What are the current trends in cafes in your region? Are there any trends you promote yourself and would like to see more often elsewhere?

Unfortunately, I don’t spend enough time in coffee shops because I’m missing some free time ahah. 

More seriously I see more and more coffee shops trying to serve only top-of-the-range coffees. I mean, 10/15 euros cups with high-end farms, and roasters. I believe it is the right direction for specialty coffee because the customer discovering specialty coffee has something even more special, and it creates a virtuous cycle for the market.

I would love our community to give the right place for infused coffee. For me, as long as it is clearly said on a label, I don’t mind if it exists. However, I think infused coffee should be a leverage between commodity and specialty, to help any consumer identify more clearly aromas for example. 

You have some nice achievements in championships. Can you tell us more about them? What motivates you to compete?

I grew up as a barista starting with WBC in 2016 when I made coffee for 3 months lol. It was a disaster obviously, although I loved the mood on stage and backstage, and mostly I loved to get out of my comfort zone. I needed to answer new questions I hadn’t asked myself before the competition. I continued year after year and it finally worked out!

Even though Brice says his performance at the championship in 2016 was a disaster, we still think it’s inspirational and it’s amazing to see how Brice grew as a competitor and professional over the years.

Fingers crossed for Busan! How do you prepare for the World Championship? Are you excited?

I have the chance to decide my schedule so I have a lot of time to prepare. Right now, it’s more about booking everything for the team and making sure we don’t forget anything. That’s a logistic job ahah.

What is in your opinion the most important thing to have in mind when you start to compete in coffee championships?

You have to share something on stage that you are passionate about. It’s a real commitment: it takes time, money, and it’s not always a success…

So every time I go back on stage I’m asking: what will I bring to the industry? 

What interesting concepts/knowledge did you bring to the stage over the years that you’re proud of?

In 2016 I brought a concept in between my old job, pastry, and coffee. I tried to blend the two worlds choosing a coffee with a cake flavour, and cinnamon … mixing with pastry milk, creating a liquid dessert for my signature drink. It was fun, but didn’t win obviously

My biggest pride is to have won 2 times with a concept based on ecology. Whatever I bring on stage, or during classes, or even in my lifetime is based on a simple concept: Consume less, consume better. I’m very worried about the future and I think we should all make an effort. The championship was a very good way to spread a message of hope and good habits!

What coffee challenges are you looking forward to except WBC? Any new projects or collaborations?

Well, starting a company is already a good challenge! The next step will be to find solutions for the future if we all want to keep working in coffee.

Quick Fire Questions for Brice Robin:

Would you serve filter coffee with milk if asked for it?

People have strange tastes sometimes. I’ll advise you to take a cappuccino if you really want milk, but who am I to tell people what to eat/drink? 

Do you ever take sugar with your coffee?

It never happens in raw black coffee, but it can happen with iced, signature beverages. Not a huge fan of sugar though. 

Espresso or Filter coffee?

So hard to choose. 95% filter, but a perfect espresso is DOPE.

Milky or Black?


Flat white or cappuccino?

Cappuccino (not after 11AM).

Do you aim for Sweetness, Acidity, or Body?

Balance my dear, balance!

Cake or Pastry with your coffee?


Favourite piece of barista equipment?

A scale. That’s the first thing any customer will notice. It’s a perfect way to engage in a conversation about specialty coffee.