The quest to serve high quality coffee is an all year-round endeavor at the ever-popular Café Frühling – meaning Spring Café. After four years’ catering for Basel’s growing thirst for specialty coffee, the Hohlmann brothers have expanded their Swiss-based coffee enterprise with a 12kg Diedrich.
Felix, who heads up the roasting operation is excited about the new addition to the family: “The Diedrich is totally different to the roasters I have used before. It has a different drum where the inflow of air is pre-heated. It stays between the drum and the bowl so if you give more airflow, you also give more energy”.
Demonstrating a tireless passion for his ongoing education in coffee, he quit his studies to join his elder brother Benjamin; one-time Swiss Brewers Champion (2014) and current German Cup Tasters Champion. The rising star in the specialty coffee scene founded and now runs the well-respected coffee training academy, Kaffeemacher.
Felix is also well known on the competition circuit in his own right and came second in the Swiss Barista Championship last year. He explains: “My plan was to come here for one year but I stayed for longer – now it’s been seven years already. In that time, I started to help my brother who was working in gastronomy. Then I began university but quit my business studies after a year because I was already to much affected be the virus called coffee passion. I focused more and more on coffee and planned how to continue my own education in the coffee world by doing courses and competitions. That’s how I learnt most about coffee. At the same time, we started Kaffeemacher, the coffee academy where I was assisting the trainers”.
The 26 year-old maintains that the academy, which runs the SCAE Diploma, remains neutral in the market where its students have access to a large range of different espresso machines, grinders and roasters to experiment on. The academy allows the brothers to focus on raising skills and knowledge in the coffee industry whilst Café Frühling offers the perfect platform for them to showcase their passion in specialty coffee to Basel’s coffee-loving public.
The arrival of their Diedrich enables them to do just this, he says: “Café Frühling is our coffee shop but the beginning of this year we have started a new roasting business which is called Spring Roasters. Our main focus is the coffee shop and home users. If there are other coffee shops and restaurants that want to know more about where the coffee comes from, they are welcome to work with us.
The defining moment that opened Felix’s eyes to the importance of a coffee’s origin and provenance was a trip to Nicaragua in 2012: “It was game-changing for me because you realise how many hands the beans go through until they arrive to Europe. When I came back in the coffee shop, I realised how much work is behind it when I push the button”.
In the spirit of collaboration, Café Frühling, continue to source their coffee through a ‘coffee pool’ with other roasters in Switzerland and Germany. One standout coffee was a pulped natural processed coffee from Sítio Forno Grante, Espirito Santo, Brazil, sourced directly though algrano. “It is much fruitier”, he adds, “it’s totally different to a normal Brazilian coffee. I would have loved to play a bit more with a filter roast profile as we roasted it for espresso last year. It was really like a cup profile where everybody can find something in there – no matter what the person’s experience”.
With Felix at the helm of the roasting operation and brother Benjamin keeping a close eye on quality control, the Hohlmann brother’s are looking forward to bringing a new season of Espirito Santo’s crop to the tulip-adorned tables of Café Frühling this year. And just as their Diedrich is sign of promising new shoots for Spring Roasters, their seasonal coffee menu for espresso and filter will continue to ensure that exciting new specialty coffees will continue to spring-eternal in Basel.
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This article was commissioned by algrano for the blog series Demystifying the Coffee Value Chain