– Can you please introduce yourself in a few words.
Toon Craen, owner of Broer Bretel Espressobar in Antwerp. 30 years old, I’ve studied hotel management and marketing as well. I became self employed because I’m stubborn as hell. I’m as tall as an average latino, because I’ve got some Chilean blood running through my veins. But no hablo espanol!
– What’s your story in the coffee industry?
I run my own espressobar for almost 6 years now. I’m not the fastest barista, but I believe quality is more important than quantity.
– When did Broer Bretel open and what is the story behind?
In February 2011, because I always wanted to start my own business. Literally translated Broer Bretel means Brother Brace, because our grandfather used to call us like that on the day of our anniversary, when we were wearing his braces.
– What’s your specialty and what makes you different?
My specialty is my personal approach, which makes it possible to make people drink what I think is best for them.
– What was your first coffee experience?
I was intrigued by the whistling sound of the thermos decaf coffee my father made every morning. It only stopped whistling when I opened it. That’s why I started drinking what that thermos contained.
– How/when have you discovered about specialty coffee?
Only when I got 18 years old, at Caffenation. I wanted to buy coffee for my brother as a birthday present but they didn’t let me buy it without tasting first!
– What was your best coffee experience?
What my buddies Vic & Rob made me at Protein in London. Only the best and nothing but good experiences.
– Do you prepare coffee at home ? If yes, what method do you use?
Whatever my girlfriend makes me when I open my eyes.
– How do you like your coffee? Black, sugar and milk, iced, vietnamese style,…?
Black. Filter in the morning, double espresso at noon and cold brew when it’s hot outside.
– How would you qualify yourself as coffee drinker (occasional, heavy, addict…)?
– Have you always been into the coffee industry? If not, what was your previous job?
– Do you have another passion or a hobby besides coffee?
Aroma in every aspect. That also means perfumes, food and other drinks but coffee.
– What other place would you recommend, anywhere in the world (coffee or not)?
Any rooftop terrace in Essaouira – Morocco. Drinking mint tea during sunset.
– What is/are your favorite website(s) to get information about coffee?
None, I believe in spoken word.
– What would you say to people who don’t know much about coffee?
If you do travel to a country that grows coffee and if you really want to buy a coffee related souvenir, ask for the greens and bring these back home.