– Can you please introduce yourself in a few words.
My name is Inge and I’m co-owner and head roaster of Back to Black. I want to be 1 of the many people who is contributing to the growth of specialty coffee.
– What’s your story in the coffee industry?
I decided to start working in coffee after I lived in Australia for a while, the way they work in Australia with coffee interested me.
I wanted to learn as much as possible about making a good coffee and also how to roast coffee. The companies I worked for promised they would teach me how to roast but in the end often didn’t give me the opportunity to learn how to roast. I decided to start for myself and opened up a coffee bar together with my friend Noortje. If things would work out well with the coffee bar I would start a roastery, this turned out great so now we have a roastery and even a second coffee bar.
– When did Back to Black open and what is the story behind?
4 years ago Noortje and I opened our first specialty coffee bar. We wanted it to be a cozy place with sustainable high end quality products. In our business, sustainability is an important aspect for the decisions we make. This is based on everything that involves Back to Black, from biological detergent to a green energy supplier. Transparency and Quality are the 2 other very important aspects which we stand for.
– What’s your specialty and what makes you different?
I think Back to Black is quite unique because it’s a company totally set up by woman and run by woman. We are the only coffee roastery in the Netherlands who is set up and run by woman with no men involved, maybe even the only one in the whole of Europe, also a bit sad in a way of course.
– What was your first coffee experience?
When I was a kid my grandmother would make coffee for us with loads of milk and just a little bit coffee so we could pretend to be a grownups enjoying a coffee on a Sunday afternoon.
– How/when have you discovered about specialty coffee?
I learned about specialty coffee when I was doing an intern in Australia.
– What was your best coffee experience?
Well it was pretty recent. It was the last day of the world of coffee fair and I walked around with a friend and she took me to the stand of a guy we met at the roasters guild. He gave me a Gesha and it was the most amazing coffee I had in years! I think it’s a combination of amazing coffee, a very good roast profile and the guy Stephen was the Irish brewers cup champion. This combination just made the coffee perfect.
– Do you prepare coffee at home ? If yes, what method do you use?
I have a little Rancilio in my house. In the morning I prefer a cappuccino. It’s like a little breakfast.
– How do you like your coffee? Black, sugar and milk, iced, vietnamese style,…?
It’s hard for me to just enjoy coffee, especially when I drink my own coffee there is always a little quality control going on at the same time. When I’m in the shop I prefer to drink an espresso and a cappuccino next to each other.
By drinking an espresso I can taste the coffee and by drinking a cappuccino I can see how the coffee goes with milk. When I’m at the roastery I don’t have an espresso machine installed there yet so I always drink coffee made with a V60. This is also a great way of tasting the coffee and I also enjoy coffee made this way a lot.
– How would you qualify yourself as coffee drinker (occasional, heavy, addict…)?
This answer may surprise people but I’m a regular coffee drinker, not a heavy one. I think that might be because I’m a quite picky when it comes to my coffee, so sometimes when I’m traveling or just on the move a lot, I don’t drink much coffee if I can’t find good coffee.
– Have you always been into the coffee industry? If not, what was your previous job?
It took me a while before I decided to make the leap to the coffee industry also because I studied economics so it didn’t make sense but after working for a bank for a while I was pretty sure that an office job is not for me, so that made the step easier.
– Do you have another passion or a hobby besides coffee?
Definitely eating food!! I love good food and with good food comes good wine. I can also appreciate a good whiskey, gin, beers and so on. Stuff to excite your pallet is a big hobby of mine.
– What other place would you recommend, anywhere in the world (coffee or not)?
Very very hard question: I would say Mr&Mss Watson. They are a vegan restaurant here in Amsterdam and they make some mind blowing vegan stuff in their kitchen.
– What is/are your favorite website(s) to get information about coffee?
Sprudge / Barista Hustle.
– What would you say to people who don’t know much about coffee?
Dare to order a different coffee then you used to, dare to ask the barista and learn about coffee because with so many things as soon as you start to learn more about it, it becomes more fun and you will find amazing coffees!