– Can you please introduce yourself in a few words.
My name is Wouter. I work for OR Coffee Roasters in Belgium. I’m responsible for the barista training and I help people to set up their coffee business.
– What’s your story in the coffee industry?
Six years ago I finally finished my master’s degree, only to discover that nobody was really looking for a philosopher with a minor in literary theory specialized in contemporary German philosophy. Luckily for me however I had also worked in a few bars and restaurants by that time, so coffee was actually a back up plan if my first philosophical masterpiece would not be appreciated by the world.
– What’s your specialty and what makes you different?
I’m a communicator. I love to speak to groups, teach people new things and bring a story about coffee.
– What was your first coffee experience?
The first time coffee really played a role in my life was probably when I was still a student. It was an important part of a morning ritual to kick start my day, nothing really foody or hip, just very efficient.
– How/when have you discovered about specialty coffee?
The discovery that there were different coffee origins and that they all had a different flavor profile was a very early realization that really blew my mind. That it could be something complex like wine tasting triggered my curiosity, but in the beginning of the specialty coffee hype there were not a lot of places to go for a well prepared espresso.
– What was your best coffee experience?
Visiting Rwanda. The first time I visited a washing station I felt overwhelmed by emotions. As a barista it’s very easy to think it’s all about you when you are in your own little theater in front of the espresso machine. Meeting the people who harvested and processed my favorite coffee was a humbling experience.
– Do you prepare coffee at home ? If yes, what method do you use?
Tasting coffee is an important part of my working day. That’s why I very often skip morning coffee at home and have my first coffee at the roastery. My Sunday morning routine starts with a nice cup of filter coffee while I read a newspaper.
– How do you like your coffee? Black, sugar and milk, iced, vietnamese style,…?
– How would you qualify yourself as coffee drinker (occasional, heavy, addict…)?
Skipping a day without coffee is very difficult. I guess that makes me an addict.
– Have you always been into the coffee industry? If not, what was your previous job?
There is no life before coffee 😉
– Do you have another passion or a hobby besides coffee?
I like to read books about philosophy, history, economics, social science,… I’ m also a very keen faker of being into sports.
– What other place would you recommend, anywhere in the world (coffee or not)?
There’s a bar in Brussels, just opposite of the coffee bar where I learned to become a barista, called Le Coq. The first two seats at the bar, closest to the door. Go there and have the bartenders suggest you a beer. You’ll understand.
– What is/are your favorite website(s) to get information about coffee?
I love the very active Home Coffee Roasters facebook group. The amount of coffee geekyness!
– What would you say to people who don’t know much about coffee?