Roaster profile: Shokunin Coffee
Highly specialised coffee roaster Shokunin from Rotterdam is offering us our first-ever coffee from Myanmar, an emerging origin country in South East Asia
Jelle van Rossum and I go way back. All the way back to when I first started The Coffeevine as a hobby blog about my favourite coffee bars in Amsterdam and I started running dedicated walking tours to some of the city’s finest outlets. Jelle, as it turned out, attended one of my first walking tours all those years ago and we’ve been continuously crossing paths ever since.
This collaboration between his specialty coffee brand Shokunin and us is not the first time that we’re working together – Jelle once roasted our Man met Bril feature – but it is the first time that we’re collaborating directly with his own company. Jelle has, in fact, two companies but applies a very separate approach to each one. While Stielman Koffiebranders is a more every day kinda coffee roaster, Shokunin is focussed entirely on sourcing and roasting very unique and outspoken coffees, many of which he sources via This Side Up, a company that we have been close friends with since its inception.
When Jelle first started Shokunin last year, it lit a bright spark of interest amongst coffee lovers and coffee professionals in The Netherlands. Here was someone who was known to have a very thorough technical knowledge and a passion for taking things further than many others and after taking over Stielman Koffiebranders, Jelle was able to clearly differentiate his offering for different customer groups.
With Shokunin, he aims to find small interesting lots that shine the light on specific processing methods, regions or varietals that you might otherwise not come across so easily and as it so happens, he will be providing us with our first-ever coffee from Myanmar for our upcoming May ’19 coffee box.
Myanmar is one of those still slightly mysterious countries that not many people have visited, but I was lucky enough to experience this beautiful nation when it first started opening up to international tourists back in 2007. My friend and I spent two weeks travelling around the country from Yangon to Mandalay and back via Bagan. Sadly, despite its efforts to become more democratic, it has also been in the news for its horrific war crimes against the Rohingya people.
Yet, the coffee that we picked from Shokunin also comes with a message of hope because the farmers who produced this coffee used to get oppressed by opium warlords until they decided to take fate into their own hands and start growing high-potential specialty coffee. Today, there is a small but growing community of coffee farmers who are turning their backs on drugs and towards making Myanmar an exciting new coffee origin that we hope to see and taste many delicious coffees from in the future.
This particular pick is from Hopong Bant Sauk, a small community that got support from a local NGO called Winrock who taught the farmers how to produce high-quality natural coffees and with the help of This Side Up, they found a distribution channel to coffee roasters and consumers all over the world. Expect a thick syrupy body with hints of banana and strawberry jam.
I’m excited to welcome Jelle to our May ’19 coffee box where he will be joined by Kiss The Hippo from London and Sloane from Bucharest who are also offering two totally exceptional coffees to our customers next month.
All boxes ship on 20-05