– Can you please introduce yourself in a few words. What’s your story in the coffee industry? What’s your specialty and what makes you different?
ROMAN: Hi, I’m Roman. I’m a roaster and barista at Café Capitale, Brussels.
MARIANA: Hi, I’m Mariana. I have been in the hospitality industry for over 10 years, first – as barista, and then – as manager. The company, where I had worked all this time is Svit Kavy (Lviv, Ukraine). The fact is I have met my future husband Roman there. So we’re kind of « coffee family » 🙂

R: Yes, it’s true. We started to work there almost simultaneously. I was barista and later – barista trainer, equipment troubleshooter and roaster.
M: Roman is the one who has opened the world of speciality coffee to me. I was in maternity leave when the company stopped to buy roasted commercial (premium) coffee and started to buy green speciality coffee to roast it. So when I was back to work I had to learn a lot and Roman helped me with it. He was constantly explaining things to me, inviting to cupping sessions, teaching.
R: Last year I have left Ukraine to start working at Café Capitale in Belgium. So now I’m trying to do my best roasting coffee and brewing it to customers in Brussels.
M: I’ve moved to Belgium with Roman and our small daughter. At the moment, I’m discovering a barista job all over again (in Café Capitale too). And it’s really fascinating. I have always envied my colleagues (baristas) at previous job, because mostly, as manager, I had to deal with lots of stuff, but I didn’t have enough time for coffee. So now I really enjoy it.

– What was your first coffee experience?
R: When I was a child my parents were drinking instant coffee and I was allowed to eat the foam that occurs on top of it.
M: I don’t remember my very first coffee drinking experience. But I will never forget the aroma of turkish coffee, my mom was brewing for herself when I was a child. She didn’t allow me to taste it. I was so curious. So she let me chew one coffee bean (dark roasted) – oh, it was incredibly… strange

– What was your best coffee experience?
R: My best espresso experience was when I was judging Ukrainian national championships. I even cannot pick up just one specific – because there was really a lot of good coffee and participants were rather good at preparing it.
Best filter – the one I’m doing at home.
M: World of coffee in Rimini (WBC 2013). There was a brew bar and lots of really great coffees

– Do you prepare coffee at home ? If yes, what method do you use?
R: Yes, V60.
M: No, Roman is doing it for me)))

– How do you like your coffee? Black, sugar and milk, iced, vietnamese style,…?
R: I like filter (any kind). When I need some more energy I drink espresso or cortado (without sugar). Sometimes flatwhite.
M: Black, no milk, no sugar. Sometimes in summer – Chemex on ice with slice of orange or some raspberries.

– How would you qualify yourself as coffee drinker (occasional, heavy, addict…)?
R: heavy
M: heavy

– Have you always been into the coffee industry? If not, what was your previous job?
R: My first job was installation of electrical networks and security systems, but very short period of time.
M: Always

– Do you have another passion or a hobby besides coffee?
R: I like to « twist the screws » on machines, equipment, cars. Also I love nature, so forest, mountains is my passion too.
M: Dancing, skiing, books.

– What other place would you recommend, anywhere in the world (coffee or not)?
R: The Barn in Berlin, Tim Wendelboe in Oslo.
M: Elbgold in Hamburg. I love this city very much and it was great to discover such an excellent coffee place there.

– What is/are your favorite website(s) to get information about coffee?
M: Barista Hustle

– What would you say to people who don’t know much about coffee?
R: When a barista is making coffee for you – try to taste it as it is, without sugar (or milk), and only then add what you need (if you really need it).
M: I would rather address people who say they don’t like coffee: just give a try (in a proper place, of course) and you will be surprised.

Thomas
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Thomas

Thomas Wyngaard Founder at OK Coffee, started in the coffee industry at OR Coffee Begium, now Director of Saison Coffee in New York City.