– Can you please introduce yourself in a few words.
My name is Kim Staalman, 28 years old. I live in Amsterdam, have been working in coffee for 8 years and I currently work as the Europe rep for the SCA.

– What’s your story in the coffee industry?
I was looking for a part time job when I was studying in uni and one of my friends was working as a barista. She told me I should apply for a job too. I asked her if I would get to drink hazelnut lattes with whipped cream for free. She said yes, I was sold. About a year later my more serious colleague Jonatan took me to see the Dutch barista championships. That’s when I realised there was more to this coffee thing than a dome of cream and sprinkles on everything. So I’ve competed a bunch of times, worked for plenty of companies with varying job roles and I have been working at my current job for two years.

– What’s your specialty and what makes you different?
My specialty is definitely my skill to stand behind an espresso machine and to not be seen by anyone. This is how tiny I am – definitely helpful in some situations. Once an eccentric customer noticed this and shouted through the whole café, ‘You are so tiny, I can’t even see you!!!’.

– What was your first coffee experience?
My first coffee experience took place in Indonesia. I was 5 years old and hadn’t turned into the heavy coffee drinker I am today just yet. Other children in Indonesia did seem to indulge in this black, sugary drink so I wanted to try it too. I liked it a lot for some odd reason. Looking back I suspect I liked it because I found the burgundy packaging with the golden ship on it very pretty.

– How/when have you discovered about specialty coffee?
I discovered specialty coffee during my first coffee job at a specialty coffee chain in Amsterdam. The first time I seemed to understand the scope of it was when I witnessed my first national Dutch barista championships. I fell in love with everything and everyone. I never looked back.

– What was your best coffee experience?
I feel like this might be a trick question so I am just going to keep this one a secret.

– Do you prepare coffee at home ? If yes, what method do you use?
At home I always drink an Aeropress. As I work from home, this means probably 2 or 3 Aeropresses a day. My roommate really wants to get a Moccamaster and I fear the day I will have the opportunity of making such large quantities so easily!

– How do you like your coffee? Black, sugar and milk, iced, vietnamese style,…?
Always black! Rarely iced. I definitely prefer flash brew over cold brew.

– How would you qualify yourself as coffee drinker (occasional, heavy, addict…)?
Heavy leisure drinker.

– Have you always been into the coffee industry? If not, what was your previous job?
I started working in coffee when I was 19 years old. Before finding my first coffee job I was working odd jobs like, photographing children’s football teams, record holder of the fastest transaction speeds at my local supermarket and I worked in the wardrobe of a pop podium (still a mystery why/how, since I couldn’t reach the top coat rack).

– Do you have another passion or a hobby besides coffee?
Besides coffee I am known for crocheting cupping spoon socks (you’ve got to take care of your trusty spoon!) and my own perfume brand called Nez Nez.

– What other place would you recommend, anywhere in the world (coffee or not)?
Any city that is hosting one of the Barista Guild of Europe CoLab events. It is the best way to explore a city, it’s coffee scene, get educated and make new friends. I have never missed one, this is how awesome I think they are!

– What is/are your favorite website(s) to get information about coffee?
Sprudge and Barista Hustle! I would also recommend listening to some coffee podcasts, there are a bunch of them out there covering heaps of different topics.

– What would you say to people who don’t know much about coffee?
‘Coffee beans grow in a cherry on a tree!’, sit back and watch their minds being blown.

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Thomas Wyngaard Founder at OK Coffee, proud barista at OR Coffee, producer of Extasia radio show on Campus, Brussels.