Whenever you speak to specialty coffee people, you’ll almost always hear their story with that one coffee they had that changed their lives forever. Usually, it’s this extremely delicious espresso they had somewhere or a filter coffee that blew their minds.
While I’ve had many, countless in fact, coffees that have left an ever-lasting impression on me, there are some that I can recall so vividly as if I had a cup just yesterday.
One such coffee was a washed Ethiopian from Wote, roasted by Parlor Coffee in Belgium who we first and last featured in May of 2015. Pretty much seven years ago.
Founded by Bram Smitz and his girlfriend back in 2012, Parlor was undoubtedly one of the very first specialty coffee roasters in the Belgian capital and for the first decade, they also had a café where the business originally started, yet, last year they decided to sell the café and focus entirely on roasting.
And that’s not all. Since Bram’s girlfriend Yumi is from Japan, they also have an excellent selection of Japanese teas.
“This makes this coffee both tricky and kind of fun to work with”
By selling their café to focus entirely on the roasting business, Bram and Yumi followed in the footsteps of other roasters like Koppi who decided that running a roastery and café at the same time is not for everyone.
This might surprise many, especially those budding café owners who have the ambition to start roasting but as Bram said: “When you have a café, it’s not just about the coffee. People want pastries, food and other types of drinks and it’s easy to loose your focus.”
Consequently, Brussles has lost one of its highest rated cafés but Bram also didn’t exclude the possibility of opening something else in the future. “Time will tell”, he stated with a wink.
When it comes to the coffees that Parlor works with, the quality levels are extremely high. Since 2013, Parlor has been a close partner of Nordic Approach from whom they also sourced that said Wote back in 2015.
As a small roastery, Parlor cannot yet afford to engage in literal direct trade and thus puts its faith in the hands of Nordic Approach and other great importers who do the sourcing legwork for them.
They are also the ones who sourced the curious and exciting Estrella Divina from Peru that Parlor will roast for the upcoming February 2022 Coffeevine box. Curious because it was produced by a co-op of farmers who all grow different varitals on their small-holder farms and the coffees are then blended at the mill. This means that you don’t really know for sure what the exact percentage is per varietal and that some batches taste different than others.
“This makes this coffee both tricky and kind of fun to work with,” Bram elaborated. Peru is still in its infancy when it comes to specialty coffee but it has huge potential and the few Peruvian coffees that we have featured so far have been outstanding.
We’re thrilled to have Parlor back in one of our boxes and we hope that you’ll enjoy this coffee as much as we did.