I know Jerry from Toronto

Born in Toronto, discovered in Paris, based in Antwerp.

Specialty coffee subscriptions with a touch of art.

Who was in the October box 2021?

First a coffee in Halle (BE) then art and coffee in Utrecht & Amsterdam (NL) and then ending in the most peaceful place on earth Vík (ISL) for more coffee and…

BRANDER COFFEE

Halle-Belgium

This roastery catches our eye because of its clean boxes with a cute little monkey on them.
Their coffee could charm us immediately.
From the heart of the historic city of Halle near Brussels, brander Coffee. 

We would love to hear your coffee story.
We started our roastery, coffee bar and concept store in 2017. Looking to escape the rat race, we started brander out of passion for light roast specialty coffee. Against the backdrop of an accelerating society, we believe in slowing down and enjoying the good things in life. We do not believe in compromising, but keep on searching for the best coffees and roasting them to highlight all the flavours that make them distinct.

Halle, where can you get some relaxation?
Halle is a beautiful small city, only 10 minutes by train from Brussels. You can stroll around the old city with the beautiful basilica and discover some very nice shops and eateries. Of course there is also the Hallerbos, with the stunning purple carpet of bluebells in spring, which attracts people from all over the world.

Your logo, the monkey.
How did you come up with this idea?
Elegant and distinguished, but cheeky at the same time. Titus, our monkey, is like our coffee: stylish with a twist.

What can we expect from your coffee?
Any advice on how to brew it properly?
Grown high in the ranges of northern Burundi and washed by the same clean mountain waters that feed the Nile River, Gahahe is a four-time winner of Burundi’s Cup of Excellence. This particular batch of washed bourbon beans has an incredibly nuanced flavor profile. The fully washed processing brings a crisp vibrancy not typically found in coffees from Burundi. On first sip you will notice a floral bouquet of violet before landing on intense notes of yellow plum and baked apple. Gahahe becomes more juicy and crisp with each sip.

We are pretty sure you’ll agree that this Gahahe is exceptional with crisp notes of violet and plum!

This Gahahe is super with all brewing methods. Our favourite is this simple Aeropress recipe:

20g Gahahe medium coarse grind
Water 85°C
1 pour of 300ml in 35 seconds
Plunger in at 1 minute
Press slowly from 2 minutes for 25 seconds.

“Enjoy!”

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DAK COFFEE ROASTERS

Amsterdam-The Netherlands

This month, we are not going to go that far.
Our first coffee roaster also comes from The Netherlands.
Like Jerry, they have roots in Canada.
For the moment they roast their coffee in Amsterdam.

Hey Louis-Philippe and Veronique.
Would you tell us something about yourselves?
We are both Canadians from Montreal and both come from traditional business backgrounds: marketing/branding for Veronique and Finance/Web development for Louis-Philippe.

We moved around quite a bit to study/work and so we have learned to enjoy coffee across different cultural settings. We were always amazed at how different people can enjoy their coffee is such widely different ways. This curiosity grew into a passion and eventually into a business!

You have travelled a lot.
What coffee experience have you memorised?
Great question! We used to purposely (before the pandemic) travel to visit coffee places and try renowned cafes across Europe.

One visit I will always remember was when we went to Truth Coffee in Cape Town South Africa. David Donde is a bit of a legend in the Cape Town specialty coffee scene so the coffee delicious. What I will always remember, however, is the decor of his Steampunk-themed café, it is wild but fun!

Jerry loves your illustrations.
Can you tell us a bit about who made them?
We love them as well! I wish I could say one of us has this great talent, but we have been working with an artist, Valery Lemay  for the last two years now and she is fantastic! She is based in Montreal and designed our main logo (on the bags) as well as the limited edition illustrations we use. We met through a mutual friend for whom she designed an album cover and have been working together ever since.

She really is an illustrator as opposed to a graphic designer: all illustrations are actually hand-drawn and subsequently digitised. Scoop scoop, perhaps there will be one for the coffee used in this box.

We often see you appear in other coffee subscriptions.
How does this work and what do you think of it?
We love taking part in subscription boxes. It is a great way to have our coffee discovered by consumers we may not normally reach!

We know taste is subjective and we think there are so many great roasters out there that it is a great way for coffee lovers to try different coffees, roasting techniques/styles etc.

From a business perspective it is also quite attractive. We get bulk volume of retail orders without the marketing costs associated with reaching such numbers of retail customers. WIN-WIN!

 

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The coffee that is featured in this box is a Honey Pink Bourbon from Juliana Guevarra. This Colombian woman is a superstar and she has developed her own organic farming methods.The coffee if fermented twice, once with as much mucilage to enhance the natural sweetness of the coffee and a second time for 60hrs. The result is a very elegant cup with notes of grapefruit, rose hips, cherry blossom, lychee.”

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A film set for many international films, without mosquitoes, snakes or poisonous spiders.
The land of beautiful and strong people.
In summer, there is 24 hours of sunlight.
The ideal place to look for specialty coffee and yet we don’t find much here.
But Skool Beans roasts delicious coffee here from their yellow school bus under the watchful eye of Sir Jeffarious Edwardious The First Of Vik.

Tell us how you started roasting coffee in this yellow school bus.
It’s a really popular question, but the truth is slightly less romantic than the thought of me sitting in my little yellow bus with the fire on, roasting coffee watching the snow falling under the mountains in Iceland! The truth is, that I am very fortunate to have friends who own a local restaurant. They allow me to use their commercial kitchen to roast my beans and store my roaster. Roasting coffee releases a lot of fumes so you need a good extractor fan to keep the air clean enough to breathe safely. In the highest season when I am working 27 hours a day, I get a trusted team to roast for me under the strict guidelines of my curated roast profile. I am currently building a roast lab so that I can get a larger roaster than the 1kilo roaster I currently own. 

Jerry has read the incredible story of Sir Jeffarious Edwardious The First Of Vik.
Can you briefly introduce him to us :-)?
YAY, I love talking about Jeffrey! hahaha! I’m a self confessed coffee roast, cat lady! Jeffrey is my little ginger cat who forgot to grow into a full sized cat! He lost one of his back legs in April 2021 and since that time, he has won the hearts of anyone who meets him. He was attacked by a wild cat and while trying to get away, his leg was broken. We tried to save it but after several surgeries, we had to make him one leg lighter. He follows me to work each day, or hops in the van and comes with me. He roams the mountains in the rain, wind or shine and then snoozes next to the fire in the bus in between. I learned very fast that many customers only come to the bus to visit Sir Jeff and this resulted in him getting his own Instagram account! hahahah! @sirjeffarious He is the most loved, loveless cat in the land! hahaha!

In summer, you have sunlight day and night, do they drink more coffee than usual?
This will be a really interesting study actually! I opened in August 2020 and of course we were in the thick of the dreaded C virus so everyone suffered in business this winter. This will be super interesting for me to study this winter… I’ll keep you posted on that one! What’s most fascinating is how many American customers want Iced coffee when it’s snowing! Because of this, I have a snow cone espresso in winter where the customer fills up a cup full of snow and I pour their coffee of choice over it! 

How is the specialty coffee scene in Iceland?
This will be a really interesting study actually! I opened in August 2020 and of course we were in the thick of the dreaded C virus so everyone suffered in business this winter. This will be super interesting for me to study this winter… I’ll keep you posted on that one! What’s most fascinating is how many American customers want Iced coffee when it’s snowing! Because of this, I have a snow cone espresso in winter where the customer fills up a cup full of snow and I pour their coffee of choice over it! 

Apart from all the touristy sights, what can you recommend for us to do in Vik?
Hiking!!! Drinking as much tap water as your body will allow and breathing in the freshest air around! Hiking is otherworldly here and my main reason for moving to the south of Iceland. Try some traditional food…. Mmmmm, fried sheep face. (yuk!) Count the cats! There are so many! Come to Skool Beans!!!!… Then hit the local brewery! 

 

 

“I am allergic to coffee!!! Fun fact and it’s true!!! Even roasting I break out in hives and drinking it makes me as sick as a dog!!! When I learned to barista and roast in Melbourne I was taught sight, sound, smell and texture training. Why do it???… I love the science of it. If vegetarians can cook meat, if blind people can fly planes and if Jeff can hike mountains with three legs then I am perfectly capable of roasting beans! This is the first time I have written this in an interview!!!!”

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KORINNA VAN BALKOM

Amsterdam-The Netherlands

Known for its great artists such as Van Gogh and Mondrian.
The Netherlands is home to one of Europe’s largest developing contemporary art markets, with an incredible amount of young emerging artists contributing to the formation of the art scene.
We are very pleased to have this emerging talent as our guest.

Hey Korinna!
Can You tell us something about yourself?
Sure, thanks for having me! I’m an illustrator and fashion designer, live in Utrecht, love to dance and have a fascination for old, hand-drawn medical illustrations.

What originally made you want to become a illustrator/fashion-designer?
Recently, I went through my old archive boxes from my childhood and I was amazed at the number of drawings I produced. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, but here was the smoking gun: I literally drew all the time! And even though the quality of my illustrations improved over the years, the subject was basically the same as nowadays – I always drew (parts of) human or animal bodies.

What’s the best piece of advice you have heard and repeat to others?
Try not to compare yourself to others. Do not measure yourself by the number of followers or fame, because then you will never be enough. (And this is a lesson for life, I’m still struggling with this myself every day.)

Apart from your work, what else are you passionate about?
I am passionate about hand-drawn medical illustrations – a form of drawings that is used by doctors and surgeons. And although sometimes they show uncommon or nasty things (such as an illness, an injury or a deviation), I find the organic, spontaneous shapes and lines of the body so wonderful and beautiful. Both inside and outside, both ‘intact’ and ‘broken’.

What kind of projects do you like to work on?
I like drawing freely, without a goal, without an assignment. That’s when I feel the happiest and, moreover, that’s when the result is the best.

“Never stop trying.

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We sell specialty coffee,
and art