Welcome to February with Bean Bros…thank you for being part of our coffee journey and please enjoy your coffee.
This month is a great reminder for us of what we love to do at Bean Bros and how we want to provide for our customers. We are featuring, for the first time, a wonderful roastery from Belgium, who are genuine in their pursuit of doing the right thing in the right way.
It is a pleasure to present their coffee to you and we hope you enjoy your cups this month.
We took the time to catch up with Jens at MOK Coffee…
Interview by Kris Thurbin
Tell us a bit about MOK; the team, your offerings, your values…
We are a team of 16 young people, myself I am the only owner. I just turned 30 and started MOK when I was 22.
We have a shop in Leuven, where we initially started and for 4 years, also have a flagship store in Brussels.
Customer service and quality are priority, and we focus on long lasting relationships, our growth has been completely organic as we don’t do active sales and instead focus on existing customers.
Our goal is to only with work with producers we know personally and visited ourselves, to make sure we know what we are selling and can guarantee the quality.
There is NO commercial wind in our backs from investors, we own our own company and try to create the best possible product and a good working environment for our staff and the people we buy coffee from.
How is the roastery move going?
In fact, you are one of the first to have coffee roasted in our brand new roastery around the corner of our shop in Brussels!
In April we will open a wineshop and bar in front of the roastery called @nightshop.brussels serving natural wine and food.
What main challenges have you faced and nice surprises maybe (?) for the different parts of the business – roasting and café…over the last year?
We are super happy that we never really had to close down completely, and people keep queueing up happily facing the elements to support us and have some MOK.
Are you sourcing through established suppliers or any direct relationships with origin?
We connect and stay loyal to our suppliers but work with specialised importers for different origins as direct trade is mostly a marketing term and something for big companies who have the resources to import completely by themselves. Importation is a business on it’s own.
How do you profile for roasting – are there particular concepts you feel are specific to what you want to achieve, or put in the cup?
We don’t do OMNI roast as we believe different brewing methods need a different roasting approach to achieve a balanced cup.
We roast to showcase the true potential of the beans and sometimes make the decision to only release a certain coffee for filter or espresso depending on the profile.
Roasting is technical and complex, yet simple. We like to keep things simple and always search for better development to provide a coffee that is light in style but easy to work with.
If you need too much coffee to dial in or get a cup that is actually exciting, that means the roast or sourcing could be better. We are always curious to improve ourselves.
Any brew recommendations: recipes you would like to share
I’m sure most of the subscribers already know the basics of brewing and I find it hard to share recipes as every setup is most likely different.
For filter we brew around 60g/L and recommend using soft mineral water with low NaHCO3 which can mask the fruity notes of the coffee.
I recommend the subscribers to keep your brewing simple and focus on dose and grind size, making small adjustments to achieve the perfect balance.
Make sure the coffee is well extracted, yet light enough to have a pleasing drinking experience without astringency.
People can always hit us up on Instagram for extra help with their specific setup.
Whilst now isn’t the time to compete, what is your view on competition and are there any that interest you particularly?
There is not much competition happening in Belgium even without Covid, but I managed to become 2-time Belgian cup tasters champion. I really like this competition as it does not require a presentation or a lot of training, it’s something we do on a daily basis, cupping blind and thinking about coffee flavours.
We attended the roast masters by Allegra twice and will compete again when things go back to normal. We are also super excited to have received silver in “best specialty coffee roastery in EU and Middle-east last year by Allegra. An incredible achievement for a small company from Belgium :)
Do you have any significant plans for 2021?
Well getting our new roastery and shop up and running and hopefully being able to travel to origin again to meet producers.
Any words of wisdom or hope to share with our subscribers at this time?
Always aim for quality and take your time to enjoy a well processed coffee made by a company you like and shares the same values. I hope because of COVID people will become more aware of the environment we share and will consume more sensibly.
When you are doubting on spending a little more on coffee, compare the price to other things you consume, I feel a lot of people buy coffee still based on price and are not really aware of the amount of effort it took to get those beans to your cup in a sustainable way.
If you don't want to miss our next subscription box make sure to subscribe here