• Demystifying the coffee value chain,  The Bean

    A passion for coffee past and present

    Stefan Bracht’s coffee obsession took root as his expanding collection of coffee-making paraphernalia grew. His assembly of antiquated hand roasters, brewing equipment and grinders soon became a focal point for the growing community of coffee lovers in Berlin. Frequently, they would meet in the basement of his architectural practice to talk, brew and taste coffee. His first coffee shop, Kiez Coffee Bar, was already one of the early pioneers in the city’s burgeoning specialty coffee scene. But Stefan still needed a home for his historic array of coffee equipment that he had amassed over time. In a joint-venture with Karlheinz Rieser, of Coffee Star, the duo decided to combine both of…

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    Where two worlds meet

    It was a long but revelatory wait for a bus that nudged Lukas Zugar into first discovering specialty coffee during a spell of travelling across China. The 30 year-old founder of Dos Mundos – meaning ‘two worlds’ – decided to kill some time by heading into a local coffee shop offering a range of single origins on the brew bar. “They had many ways of preparing coffee from different origins”, he remembers, “it was the first time that I realised how coffee could be so delicious on its own. Coming back to the Czech Republic, I looked for the same experience”.   Lukas’ interest in coffee was fired up even…

  • Demystifying the coffee value chain,  The Bean

    Quality and transparency is the new black

    Neues Schwarz is a striking-looking coffee shop where a harmonious balance of form and function meet. Nestled in the town of Dortmund-Mitte, in the eastern Ruhr region of Germany, the coffee shop’s understated central espresso and brew bar helps to put the spotlight on the real star of the show. A Probat P12 roaster also takes pride of place to one side of the coffee shop which complements the practical two tone surroundings. The open-plan interior communicates a strong ethos at the heart of the coffee enterprise. From the meticulous design aesthetic to the roasting operation and regular cupping sessions – the enjoyment and appreciation of specialty coffee is clearly…

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  • Demystifying the coffee value chain,  The Bean

    Keeping it in the family

    The Rast Kaffee roastery lies next to a train line in an industrial area on the outskirts of Ebikon, a small village near Lucerne in central Switzerland. Housed in a large warehouse, the imposing exterior conceals the passion that takes place inside. Neither is there any obvious front door to the roastery, rather an industrial-sized elevator that whisks you to the first floor that opens out into a vast production area framed by palettes stacked with sacks of green beans. The air is full of the rich aroma of freshly roasted coffee.    With a beaming smile, the fourth generation in the family-run business, Beatrice Rast, introduces herself and starts…

  • Demystifying the coffee value chain,  The Bean

    The nomads with a mission to put specialty on the mediterranean coffee map

    Jordi Mestre’s journey into specialty coffee began on a wet and windy day on the streets of London’s East End with a cup of coffee that changed his life. Lovingly brewed out of the back of a coffee cart in Whitechapel the founder of Barcelona-based coffee company, Nomad, recalls how he tasted one of the most memorable coffees he had ever had: “It was a cold, rainy, early morning. I had everything against me to enjoy this coffee and despite the conditions, the coffee was the most amazing I had ever tried”. Inspired by that singular sensory moment, Jordi’s one-month stint to learn English in the capital turned into a…

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  • Demystifying the coffee value chain,  The Bean

    Inspiring the next generation of women coffee roasters

    The team behind Swiss-based Gipfelstürmer Kaffee stumbled into coffee in the most unlikely, and punishing of circumstances. After pushing their bodies to the limit in training sessions for the triathlon, their first instinct was to recover after a long swim with a reviving coffee. It was a hard-won qualification for the Ironman competition in Hawaii in 2007 that brought them into first contact with specialty coffee. “In Kona, it was refreshing to see this new coffee culture that was different to Switzerland – it was a fun way of expressing coffee so we decided to bring this experience back home,” says co-founder Denise Morf.   Denise, along with her business partner Simone…

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  • Demystifying the coffee value chain

    Roasting on the wild side

    For the professional ice hockey player turned roast master, Leonard Wild’s journey into coffee was never straight forward. Shortly after hanging up his blades from a career playing for the German Ice Hockey League, he decided to open a popular build-your-own sandwich store near Munich, Germany. His quest to serve the best coffee in the area propelled his fast food enterprise to become the highest coffee-income generating shop in the Subway franchise worldwide, he proudly claims. When Leonard decided to sell his shop in 2008, he had already been keeping the flame of an old 12kg Probat alive during his spare time for more than two-years. This innate curiosity and…