– Can you please introduce yourself in a few words.
My Name is Jens Crabbé, I’m 26 years old and owner of MOK Specialty Coffee Roastery & Bar.

– What’s your story in the coffee industry?
I basically left school early, started working in bars where my interest in food and drinks grew and after taking some coffee classes I knew this was what I wanted to do. The idea of creating my own brand and having so much influence on the flavour of the product is what caught my attention.

– When did MOK open and what is the story behind?
I started MOK when I was 21, I literally took a leap of faith when I’ve put all my savings into coffee gear and started with actually very little knowledge but a lot of drive and curiosity. I believe that your own interest is the best teacher.

– What’s your specialty and what makes you different?
Apart from the fact that we work very seasonal en have a light good developed roasting style (like most respected specialty roasters nowadays). I think that you can feel that we don’t do any commercial compromises and really do what we like to do, make tasty coffee, drinks and food. When you have a closer look at the menu in our bar you can clearly see that there are no commercial driven items on there. We offer a Vegan menu with all fresh seasonal ingredients and use fresh sourdough bread from a bakery in Brussels. Also all our drinks like our Tepache and Kombucha are in house made and fermented.

– What was your first coffee experience?
When I was 17 my girlfriend back then dragged me to this 2nd wave coffee place with tons of whipped cream ad caramel stuff in the drinks. I guess that is where I first drank my “specialty” coffee. I had no idea that I would make my life out of coffee.

– How/when have you discovered about specialty coffee?
That latte art and being able to make good espresso is what got me into a Barista course, but it’s in that course that I discovered that coffee can be fruity and juicy and complex! And that there is much more than espresso and Latte Art.
I really wanted to make fruity coffees myself, that’s where I decided to start a roastery and bar.

– What was your best coffee experience?
After two years of being stuck in my own shop I decided to attend the Belgian Cupping Championship to meet some people and literally take a day off, I ended up wining the BCC and got myself a ticket for the worlds in Melbourne. I ended up in the middle of the pack there but had a super nice coffee trip which was very inspirational for my business and coffee insights.

– Do you prepare coffee at home ? If yes, what method do you use?
I’m not home that often so I barely drink coffee over there. I do have have installed a Moccamaster with a grinder and scale next to it for my housemates. Sometimes when they’re drinking coffee I just check their brewing or try to guess what origin they’re using!

– How do you like your coffee? Black, sugar and milk, iced, vietnamese style,…?
Black of course! Filter in the morning, Espresso in the afternoon. I rarely drink capps or milk based drinks.

– How would you qualify yourself as coffee drinker (occasional, heavy, addict…)?
I drink coffee on a daily basis but only one real cup to get my day started. After that I just try a lot of coffees but always as samples.

– Have you always been into the coffee industry? If not, what was your previous job?
Before MOK, I worked as a bartender in different cafes. Nothing special but this is where I figured out that I wanted to be self employed and that I love drinks and food in general.

– Do you have another passion or a hobby besides coffee?
My other passion is Climbing, you can find me 3 times a week in the Boulder gym and once or twice in Fontainebleau in France during the summer. I also love natural wine and good food!

– What other place would you recommend, anywhere in the world (coffee or not)?
One of the first restaurant which started working with our coffee is Couvert Couvert just outside Leuven. I have a very good relationship with the owners and sommelier and learn a lot from the last one. I love to go there on special occasions, they know their wines and seasons so well!

– What is/are your favorite website(s) to get information about coffee?
I barely read articles on the web to be honest, almost everything I learned is from trial and error and from communicating with customers and other roasters.

– What would you say to people who don’t know much about coffee?
Forget everything you think you know and try again.

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Thomas Wyngaard est fondateur de OK Coffee et un des rares experts en Café de Spécialité en Belgique francophone. Il est consultant indépendant, enseignant (certifié par la Specialty Coffee Association de janvier 2018 à avril 2021), tour-ist et broadcaster. Après avoir été formé en France, en Pologne et en Estonie, il fait ses armes chez les meilleurs en Belgique, pour ensuite migrer pendant presque 2 ans à New York où il a officié comme conseiller et formateur. Au-delà de la formation sur les métiers du café, il collabore avec des torréfactions belges engagées sur la reconnaissance du café de spécialité, œuvrant ainsi à un monde meilleur “one bean at a time”.