– 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.

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Thomas Wyngaard est fondateur de OK Coffee et un des rares experts en Café de Spécialité en Belgique francophone. Il est consultant indépendant, enseignant (certifié par la Specialty Coffee Association de janvier 2018 à avril 2021), tour-ist et broadcaster. Après avoir été formé en France, en Pologne et en Estonie, il fait ses armes chez les meilleurs en Belgique, pour ensuite migrer pendant presque 2 ans à New York où il a officié comme conseiller et formateur. Au-delà de la formation sur les métiers du café, il collabore avec des torréfactions belges engagées sur la reconnaissance du café de spécialité, œuvrant ainsi à un monde meilleur “one bean at a time”.