– Can you please introduce yourself in a few words.        
I’m a 27 year old, French/American, who loves wearing black clothing and red lipstick.

In my early twenties I was working as a mediocre-barista and a singer in a pop band in Seattle, Washington, USA. Three years ago I decided to move back home to France after a very long absence. Now I’ve become obsessed with café culture and the specialty coffee industry. My missions is to push boundaries and “up” the standards here in the City of Light.

– What’s your story in the coffee industry?
It’s been a wild seven year journey. I was a barista many years before I felt like a real one.  For example – being able to strum songs on the guitar without knowing the notes you were actually playing. I was happy working in a café in the morning to pay my rent but lived for playing music in the night. Only after leaving the bands and moving to France did I become curious about coffee – curious about taste, about origin, about technical and the scientific fun around the preparation of drinks. I adore the “space” of the “coffee-shop” – the atmosphere, the music, the magazines, and the morning pastries.

Here in Paris, we have a bit of a “open a coffee-shop cause it’s trendy” epidemic and my work now is in consulting interested parties from the start of their business planning – helping to make good decisions for the longevity of their business, the comfort of their customers, and to realize the (hopefully positive) impact they are making on the coffee industry as a whole. These are exciting times for all involved.

– What is your specialty and what makes you different?
I don’t know if it makes me different or special, but I like to think that I give each customer the attention they deserve. If they are making the decision to enter the establishment, spend money on the product and service I provide, then I think they should also get a good time in exchange. I enjoy playing loud music, gossiping with customers, playing matchmaker, and creating a fun atmosphere to hang out in.

– What was your first coffee experience?
As a kid, we used to brew coffee at home in an automatic dripper and mix it with ice cream. Mmmmmmm. After that, Starbuck vanilla lattes were my go-to. And my real “AHA” moment came to me at Ten Belles in Paris with a Kenyan on filter shortly after my arrival.

– What was your best coffee experience?
That’s tough. I think that when I tasted an Ethiopian coffee that tasted like Fruit Loops cereal on a cupping table hosted by Nordic Approach in Nice in 2013, my mind was blown. “This is coffee!?”

– Do you prepare coffee at home? If yes, what method do you use?
No, I don’t. I enjoy taking to time to have someone in a shop prepare something nice for me with all the right equipment. Though, I now live pretty close to a shop, which at times makes me feel like I’m making it “at home”.

– How do you like your coffee? Black, sugar and milk, iced, vietnamese style,…?
I get really stoked on a killer hand-brewed filter but often times I opt for an Americano/Allonge in which I add a bit of milk and sugar (“you can take the American out of America but you can’t take the America out of the American”). With a cookie on a cool day, I enjoy a nice Cortado (a small café crème). And on a hot day, iced coffee is my jam. As long as it’s prepared with care, I’m pretty happy with any method of extracting the “mojo”.
– How would you qualify yourself as coffee drinker (occasional, heavy, addict…)?
I only drink it when I know it’s going to be good. I want a full sensorial experience. I don’t neeed it. I’m lucky.

– Do you have another passion or a hobby besides coffee?
I’m still plotting and scheming ways of getting back performing on the stage – I have a mini music studio set up at home and sometimes get a chance to press record. I also love biking and flipping through art and travel magazines. And talking about the Supernatural and Christian Mysticism…

– What other place would you recommend, anywhere in the world?
Ireland. Just get there. It’s the most beautiful Country I’ve visited. In Northern Ireland you’ll find Lost & Found café and they’ll take really good care of you.

– What would you say to people who don’t know much about coffee?
Stay curious. Ask lots of questions. Become friends with your barista and also the Google Search bar. Always choose to drink fresh Specialty graded coffee. It’ll taste better and you’ll be supporting an entire industry with your decision.

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.