– Can you please introduce yourself in a few words?
My name is Charly Meerbergen, and I am the co-founder of Belga & Co.
I love anything related to the outdoors, and spend much of my free time seeking outdoor adventures.
– What’s your story in the coffee industry?
My partner introduced me to the coffee world in August, 2014. At the time, I wasn’t even a coffee drinker, and had very little experience in the coffee business! I studied business at school, and have worked for small start-up operations in the past. This is why my partner and I are such a great team, what he knows about coffee, I know about business. It works well.
– When did Belga & Co start and what is the story behind it?
I had a passion for business, and my partner had a passion for coffee. Those passions came together and became a project, that project became Belga & Co. A new Roastery was born in January 2015 in the north of Antwerp. The name Belga comes from our country ‘Belgium’. We added ‘& Co’, which stands for both ‘Coffee’ and ‘Company’, because every person, from farmer to consumer, is important to us, and so is the quality of our product.
– What’s your specialty and what makes you different?
We assure the freshness of the product and share our love and knowledge with the consumer. By bringing back some authentic values into today’s rituals, we seek to inspire people to become an expert in the subject matter.
– What was your first coffee experience?
My father loves coffee, and has always enjoyed it as a cozy part of his morning ritual. So my first experience with coffee started when I would make him a cup each morning. Though I didn’t enjoy the taste myself, I enjoyed bearing witness to the joy it brought him each day.
– What was your best coffee experience?
Every coffee experience is a great experience. But if I had to choose, I would say that my best experience would be the coffee we had at our Scouts Camp in July 2015. Every morning, after some exercises and a cold shower, we had some freshly ground coffee, brewed with a French Press. A small pleasantry, but it made all the difference in the tone we set for the day.
– Do you prepare coffee at home? If so, what method do you use?
Yes, I like to prepare a French Press in the morning, but sometimes I switch to a V60 or a Chemex in the afternoon.
– How do you like your coffee? Black, sugar and milk, iced, vietnamese style,…?
Black. If I take it with milk, I make it a Cortado.
– How would you qualify yourself as coffee drinker (occasional, heavy, addict…)?
Because coffee has become my work, I should describe myself as a ‘heavy’ drinker. But when I’m not too busy, I am more of an occasional drinker.
– Have you always been into the coffee industry? If not, what was your previous job?
Before starting our Coffee Roastery, I worked for a start-up company in Antwerp that was the first cold-pressed juice company of Belgium.
– Do you have another passion or a hobby besides coffee?
Besides coffee, I am passionate about fashion and design. I also love field hockey, being a scout leader, and spending my free time outdoors.
– It seems you have spent a lot of time traveling and in the great outdoors. Do you have a favourite place that you would recommend to us?
Lake Clark National Park in Alaska. I had the privilege of backpacking there with my family, and it was unbelievable. If you aren’t able to travel that far, any time spent in the wilderness is worth it. Go out there and discover nature.
– What would you say to people who don’t know much about coffee?
Don’t underestimate the power of starting your day with such a wonderful ritual. Coffee isn’t just a drink, it is a moment to pause and to enjoy the simple pleasures. But also know that, if you start, you may never stop.