The 2020 COVID pandemic and the subsequent global lockdown, has ignited the passion for good coffee at home across the world. ‘Seven Questions with’ is a series of interviews with people we from Marzano Caffè have met on social media who are passionate about coffee and we talk about their coffee journey and what drives their passion for the art of making the perfect cup.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you and what do you do in life?
Lets start with the basics, my name is Baukje Leerink, I am 20 and I live in Amsterdam. At this moment I am in my second year of Hotelschool the Hague in Amsterdam. This study is focused on the management side of hospitality. Next to my study I work as a freelance barista on events and at coffee bars.
How did you discover your passion for coffee?
I have always had a love for hospitality, making people smile and delivering an extraordinary experience. When I turned fifteen I already worked at a restaurant in the kitchen. During the summer I was looking for an extra job. A local roaster in my hometown: Boot koffie was looking for some extra help that summer. I applied for a job there with no coffee experience or knowledge whatsoever. They took me in, I ended up staying 4 years and they taught me everything I know today. And that is where it all started. Since starting my own company two and a half years ago I have worked at events, coffee bars and I lead workshops.
What was it that made you decide to get serious about making coffee?
As I explained, I worked at Boot koffie for 4 years where my passion for coffee developed. After a couple months working in the coffee bar I noticed that coffee to me is more than just a job, it is a passion. It has become a bit of a cliche but it is true; coffee brings people together, it connects and it is embedded in our culture.
The story behind the cup is what made me get serious about coffee. I feel very passionate and passionate about connecting the coffee consuming world with the coffee producing world. These days people are becoming more curious about where their products are from and how they are made, they are curious about the story. It is beautiful to see that coffee roasters are taking this question seriously and they are sharing the story of coffee with the world. Educating people about the quality and origin of coffee is what drives my passion. I love when I get to share my passion and the story of coffee with others.
How did the COVID pandemic influence you and your coffee journey?
I mainly work at events so the pandemic put a hold on my freelance barista work. However, as one door closes, another opens and for me this is my instagram account. I went online to share my love for coffee and the story. I could have never imagined that the online coffee community is so welcoming and warm. I have connected with other coffee lovers from all over the world, they inspire me every day and I learn from them. I am looking forward to working with coffee in a bar again but for now I am so happy to have discovered this community online.
What is your favorite method of brewing coffee recipe and why?
I am on a journey with the Aeropress. Ever since James Hoffmann has dusted off his Aeropress, many coffee lovers have done the same, including me. I used to hate the overwhelming amount of possibilities of the Aeropress, but now I have come to appreciate its versatility. I think the beauty of this brewer is that it leaves so much space for the barista to be creative, to explore and to experiment. As for recipes I recommend taking a look at the winning recipes of the Aeropress World Championships which are displayed on the Aeropress website. These recipes offer a wide range of different styles to explore your Aeropress with.
If you can go back to when you just started with coffee, which advice would you give to yourself?
I would tell myself to stay curious and experiment. There are many rules in the coffee industry about what is considered “bad”. What I know today and what I wish I would have known a bit sooner is that the only way to improve is to think outside of the box, to break rules, and go against everything people tell you. This is for me what makes coffee so exciting. Everyday new things are discovered on how to brew even better, people question the rules, experiment and discover. The coffee world is always changing so what I would tell myself is, do not get stuck thinking in rules and dare to discover.
Where will your coffee journey take you next?
I would love to gain more experience through working for others, however, ultimately, after my college, my dream is to be a coffee consultant. Coffee in large hotel chains or restaurants is in my opinion still behind. It pains me to see a Michelin starred restaurant put so much thought and love into each ingredient and dish but then to close the meal off with a mediocre cup of coffee. For example, I ate at an amazing restaurant where they took 15 minutes to explain different olive oils to pair with my bread. The woman serving me told me about the different olives and their flavour characteristics and how the climate affected the taste of the oil. At the end of the meal I got an over extracted bitter cup of coffee with no explanation whatsoever. This felt wrong to me and inspired me to change this in the hospitality industry.