– Can you please introduce yourself in a few words.
Better spell my name correctly…Mangooo! Originally from Chiang Mai, THAILAND. Head barista and roaster at Cuperus Koffie, Antwerp.

– What’s your story in the coffee industry?
Like I said, I’m originally from Thailand. I started my career there as barista in one of the most renown coffee bar: Impresso Espresso Bar in Chiang Mai. For personal reasons, I had to move out from Thailand to Belgium in 2013. Before moving, I’ve studied the coffee scene in Belgium. Then, once arrived, I immediately went to Zwart coffee bar (Isabelle Verschraegen and Roeland Lenaerts). Tim Willems (now he’s my colleague) happened to be there. He showed me which coffee bar I should go and who I should meet. Then I started to go around and meet the coffee people in Antwerp and Ghent just to introduce myself and share with them some Thai coffee.

While I was trying to get to know new people and making new friends. I received an email from Margareta Ihren Dean, A.K.A. Maggie. She was very generous and welcomed me to jam in the training place of the SCAE barista course in Schuilenburg, Dendermonde. So I took a train there and walked for 30 minutes to get to the training center. I’m glad I did that, because in that course, I got to know Ellen Goormans. I’m working for her now at Cuperus Koffie and the roastery. She’s also one of my coaches thanks to whom I won the Belgian Barista Championship 2016, and got to compete in the 2016 World Barista Competition in Dublin. I’m just the luckiest Asian guy in the coffee scene in Belgium 🙂

– What’s your specialty and what makes you different?
I’ve learned through coffee people/friends, I’m surrounded by them!!

– What was your first coffee experience?
Horrible…I wanted to make myself some hot chocolate. But I was too young so I didn’t know the difference between chocolate powder and instant coffee as they were kind of same in color. I took way too many scoops into my cup and then tried to fix the flavor with lot of condensed milk :b

– What was your best coffee experience?
A coffee trip with baristas and farmers in 2015 in Honduras.

– Do you prepare coffee at home ? If yes, what method do you use?
I have a Kalita at home…but nowadays I don’t really brew at home so much anymore. I’d rather go to a coffee bar on a weekend and have a barista work on it for me.

– How do you like your coffee? Black, sugar and milk, iced, vietnamese style,…?
Yes…black.

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

– Have you always been into the coffee industry? If not, what was your previous job?
I’ve done some volunteer work as a tourist police once, but during the try out period I realized that it was not for me (I actually have put one guy in prison for stealing money from a blind musician).

– Do you have another passion or a hobby besides coffee?
Doing sport and watching English football on weekends. Explore the great Belgian beers. Cooking weird Northern Thai food.

– What other place would you recommend, anywhere in the world (coffee or not)?
Street food in Thailand.

– What is/are your favorite website(s) to get information about coffee?
Information passing on from Tim Willems, Ellen Goormans and Glenn De Rouck.

– What would you say to people who don’t know much about coffee?
Why buying an espresso machine to put it at home (then a grinder, tamper, water filter and other tools). Just go to a coffee bar near you and let the barista pull out a great shot for you. It will cost you something around 2.50 euro (dont forget to tip hehehe). Much easier than doing it at home.

Thomas
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Thomas

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