It’s not quite the May we expected but we are excited to be working with a new (to us) roaster and have the chance to share great coffee with you. This month our feature is Rotterdam based, Schot Koffie.
We hope that you and your families are safe. We look forward to moving out of this situation. In the meantime, we are here for you with great coffee, essential products for home brewing, guides to getting the most from all of this and of course, interviews with our roasters; full version on the website and a taster in the box! This month we were speaking with John Schot.
interview by: Kris Thurbin
What drew you towards speciality coffee?
I started my coffee journey when I left University in 2005. I was offered a job in the back office at a coffee trade house in Rotterdam. After two years in the back office I moved into a trading position. I was trading commodity coffee and started travelling to producing countries to visit exporters and farms. I was trading general commodity quality, but was sometimes cupping amazing qualities. This really prompted my love for specialty.
What was the prompt for starting your own business in coffee?
I started roasting samples at work and really liked the process of roasting. I decided to buy a small roaster myself to get better at it. I brought home some nice coffees from work. Friends and family started asking me for these really tasty coffees and slowly it started into a business.
How was the local coffee scene when you began?
When I began roasting coffee in 2011, specialty coffee scene was almost non existent. Maybe there were two or three dedicated coffee bars. The first specialty coffee roasters started to appear within the city.
What are you most proud of, in creating your own business?
Probably most proud of the customer base we have built over the past few years. We have slowly but steadily built a really loyal customer base through partnership and delivering consistent quality.
A lot have them have been our customers for years and have become friends rather than customers.
How much do you get to work with producers and any particular highlights?
There are a few producers we have been working with for years. One of them is Juan Pablo from Argote specialty coffee. Their farm is located in Genova Colon in the Narino region.
This year we did our first fermentation experiment with them: a semi washed coffee. We took the fermentation process used by one of our producing partners in Thailand, Beanspire, the exporter of the coffee explained the process in details. We copied it to use it in Colombia.
The aim was to reduce the acidity and increase the body of the coffee.
The result was a very nice and balanced espresso coffee. We were really excited about it and are thinking about increasing the volume for next year.
How is the local coffee scene now?
In about 2013 the specialty coffee market really started to hit off. Tourism increased and living in the city became more popular again. This lead to an increase in coffee bars and restaurants. Specialty coffee scene is really booming. A lot of new bars are popping up and the overall quality of coffee in the coffee bars is increasing.
This month’s feature coffee. Great range, what do you like about them?
It’s a really nice collection of flavors.
Colombia washed La Portada Pink Bourbon (Picture of the farm above)
This was the first Pink Bourbon we ever bought and we were really impressed by the intesity and perfume like florals. The coffee is produced by a young couple that moved from Bogota to their parental house in the countryside of Huila in the area around San Agustin.
They replanted the 5 acres of the farm with only Pink Bourbon Variety. Because it’s so difficult to pick (it difficult to see when the coffee is ripe), they decided to use only 5 acres. They only work with two other pickers to be sure they can produce good quality. This is the first crop they are selling. Previous two crops were very small and not good enough in quality.
The coffee is so sweet, with amazing florals, very layered, citric acidity and flavours of tropical fruits and grapefruit.
Ethiopia Washed Wolichu Wachu
The Wolichu Wachu washing station was founded in 2017 and serves 4,500 local smallholder producers in and around the town of Haro Wachu, in the Urga district of Guji in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. The average producer here farms on half a hectare of land, and delivers coffee in cherry to the washing station, where it is processed.
We like this coffee because of it’s classic Sidamo flavours: peach, black tea and lemon. They are very distinct and easy to recognise.
Costa Rica Aquiares Estate Natural Anaerobic Pacamara
We were looking for a competition coffee and asked a friend who is a central american buyer at Ally Coffee if he could recommend something. He sent us this coffee and it was an instant favorite of all the cuppers that were present at the cupping.
We love the intensity and depth of this coffee. Every time this coffee is on the cupping table, it will overpower any other coffee.
The coffee is very sweet, strawberry and bubblegum aromas. In the cup you will find flavors of orange, bubblegum, pomegranate and tropical fruits (pineapple). It’s got very nice complex acidity.
The roast is pretty light, but you can also use it for brewing espresso.
Any recommended brew methods?
We mainly brew with V60. In our experience it brings out the best in terms of balance, sweetness and acidity. We tried the coffees in Aeropress, V60 and Chemex and V60 was a winner every time.
I normally like to ask what you have planned for the next 6 months…but the world is in a funny place right now – how is business, how are you adapting, everything aside what are your future plans?
Business is still quite good for us. Our customer base is mostly consumers, coffee bars, and ice cream salons. Most of them are still open for take away. With most people working from home, home consumption has really taken off.
So to meet our customers, we decreased the shipping cost.
Difficult to make plans in these crazy times, but it’s been a wish to open a small coffee bar, with top notch coffees.
Are there any industry competitions you like to take part in?
We’re a bit ambiguous about competitions.
We like the part where we get to search for amazing coffees. To do all the experimentation on roast profiles and the brewing recipes. We’re not huge fans of getting on stage and making presentations. So we prefer to geek out at the roastery…
We participated in Roast Masters at the Amsterdam Coffee Festival last year.
We were top of the group after the first round (about coffee roasting). Sadly we did not make it to the finals because we messed up the second round where we had to do a presentation. That’s clearly not our cup of tea… ☺
This year we roasted the coffee for Aissam Tallagui for the Dutch Barista Championships (DBC). He did very well in the qualifications and is now in the DBC finals. Finals were supposed to take place at the Amsterdam Coffee Festival, but they were postponed due to Covid.
They are now scheduled for middle of September, hopefully the competition will be held this time.
Any words of wisdom or hope to send to our subscribers at this time?
Not all Geisha coffees are great….
Keep safe and drink lots of great coffee. Support your local business in these difficult times and look after each other.