I’m Mihaela Iordache, romanian barista working and living in Paris.

Two years ago I hated coffee. When it wasn’t entirely flavorless it was bitter, and putting up with it for the caffeine alone just made no sense. One day, in search of wifi, I stumbled upon a specialty coffee shop. The passionate baristas there helped me engage with the craft of coffee, from its origin as a distant seed to its destination as a uniquely flavorful drink. I’ve been working full time in coffee now for eighteen months. Contrary to the city’s reputation, it is because of the parisian specialty coffee scene that I discovered coffee and learnt everything I know today.

One of the baristas I just mentioned told me of the cuppings held regularly at Belleville Roastery. This was February 2014. Until that day, I hadn’t really fallen in love. Then something happened. I broke the crust and, at first sniff, I was suddenly five, in my grandmother’s kitchen, while she opens the oven and the smells of her dear cakes pour out. I was spellbound. I found a home in coffee, and eventually changed my life to be able to work with it. That moment and that first coffee I tasted – Belleville’s Hunapu (Antigua Guatemala gem) – hold a dear place in my heart to this day.

I like my coffee fresh, respectfully crafted and served without too much fuss. I usually have espressos but would never say no to a good filtered coffee. I drink considerably less now than when I started but I taste much much more.

I found coffee because I allowed myself to be curious about things around, even little insignificant details. My own life felt like quite a mess so I was sincerely questioning the value of everything. This made room for wonder. Wonder made room for enchantment. Enchantment made room for purpose. You asked me what I would say to people who don’t know much about coffee… I would tell them what I tell myself every day: Be curious! That’s when stars align!

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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”.