Please tell us a little about yourself:
I am a Belgian, living in the UK. Barista Trainer and Account Manager for Climpson&Sons Coffee Roasters.
Started in coffee 2.5 years ago, and competed in the UK Barista Championships after three months of working in the industry. Got a bit carried away after that, and got the ‘competition-bug’. Getting to push yourself and be a better barista than you were the day before, is such a great way to progress and meet people within an industry that I’ve come to love so much.
I quickly found out that brewing was much closer to my heart than anything espresso related. After a DQ in the national finals of last year’s UKBRC, I came back this year, only with the intention to win. And I’m over the moon that I actually did. Love setting goals, working hard and achieving them.
How did you get started in coffee?:
Used to work for an art gallery (in line with my studies), but decided I needed a more dynamic environment for me to feel happy and alive. Had the idea of opening a little gallery/workshop space, combined with a cafe. A close friend of mine, who had been working in the specialty industry for years, told me to that in order to do so, I would need to know a thing or two about coffee because—dixit—”it’s not just pressing buttons”. Turns out it really isn’t, is bloody interesting, and I never really looked back on the idea or the art industry in general. Long live my job!
Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:
2016 UK Barista Championship – Regional London heat
2017 UK Brewers Cup 2017 – National Finals (DQ)
2018 UK Brewers Cup Champion
What are you excited to do while you are in Brazil?:
First and foremost the competition—of course. Meeting other national champions and sharing experiences. Brewing some amazing coffees and doing what I love. Other than that, this is obviously also the perfect opportunity for me and the entire bunch at Climpson&Sons to go see some of the farms in Minas Gerais, which we work with on a daily basis. Very exciting!
What is your favorite coffee brewing method and why?:
Kalita wave—flat bed, horizontal extraction, evenness in the cup! Always and forever.
What coffee-producing country most interests or excites you?:
Difficult question! Probably Kenya.
What are your interests outside of coffee?:
Spending all my money on great food and wine I can’t afford (mmm), singing, running
Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognize, or who helped you to prepare for the competition?:
My colleagues at Climpson&Sons, Matt and Emily, who coached me throughout. Beyond The Bean, for making me their BTB Bursary winner this year. Taking away the financial strain of competing for baristas is such a great initiative, very glad to be the lucky one this year. Very grateful for their advice, overall support and sponsorship.