For the last couple of months I have been busy running my own espressobar. It is an adventure that I got involved in last October when I spotted an available (and affordable) space inside a concept store in downtown Rotterdam. For about two months my husband and I were busy buying stuff and building the espressobar before we went on a holiday and source trip to Ecuador for most of December. One week after we came back we opened Engrano Cafe.
During these months lots of new experiences have kept me busy because I was not so familiar with the work in hospitality industry. The three months that I worked for McDonalds when I was 18 doesn’t really count, right? For three years we served coffee to hundreds of customers in fairs with our mobile espressobar and I found it a very tiring but overall joyful experience. On busy days we couldn’t even keep the counter clean while we served as many espressos or cappuccinos as we could while people were queuing for 10 minutes to get them. On days with bucketing rain or above 30C and sunny we had not much to do, but then we had time to chat with the scarce customers. It was always nice to interact with other people and to let my passion go wild. Talking about coffee is almost as rewarding as serving a cup and see people enjoy it.
Or that is what I thought….
Now I can say, that to see and hear how much people enjoy a cup of coffee is much better! For the first time in my life I saw people spoon the last bits of their cappuccino from the cup. I have seen people “discover” how good coffee can taste. We have heard comments as: this is much better than any other coffee we have tasted. Or, this coffee is not bitter! Or, coffee has different tastes! We have seen our customers discover the layers, texture and tastes of a cup of espresso, with the same amazed expression of a professional coffee cupper.
And when we served coffee with milk, in cappuccinos, lattes or ice lattes we are now used to comments such as: we can still taste the coffee! Or a now classic: This ice coffee really taste like coffee!
One of my favourite moments happened not long ago: early in the day a young guy came to the espressobar and he told me that he likes coffee and he actually work at the moment in a store that sells a famous brand of coffee capsules. We talked for a while about coffee, the coffee farmers that I have visited and the roasting that I do. Suddenly he said he had to go to work but he will for sure come back, and so he did. That same day, close to closing time, he came back with a bag of coffee from Chiapas, Mexico. He got it as a gift from his brother and he wanted me to have it. I was touched! Since earlier that day he mentioned how interested he was in coffee from Galapagos (Ecuador) I served him an espresso from that coffee. He truly enjoyed it! Every sip. He smelled it carefully before tasting it. With every sip he described one more attribute: the textures, the flavours, the intensity, the after taste. He was so happy to taste this coffee and I was happy too to be able to bring this moment of joy to someone.