Brussels Coffee Week just wrapped after a caffeinated 7 days of roasting sessions, cuppings, filter coffee workshops, latte art competitions, and much more. About as accurately-named an event as you will find, #BCW19 had me running all over Brussels experiencing new cafés and diving head first into the coffee scene. While beer and breweries normally find themselves in front of my lens, immersing myself in Brussels coffee culture and the folks who drive it forward was a welcome change!
While it’s not hard for me to enjoy an event/festival/weekend morning focused on coffee, Brussels Coffee Week took it a step further by putting a major emphasis on sustainability. Sustainability in coffee bean sourcing, production, packaging, and many other stops along the supply chain. It’s promising to see this becoming a larger part of the production conversation and on the minds of consumers.
To start the week, I attended a Coffee Collective cupping at My Little Cup. Callum Hare from Coffee Collective talked about their sourcing strategies, their transparency in pricing and how much is returned to the producers financially, and even introduced a new bean that is fermented in plastic buckets!
The next evening I found myself listening to Alpro’s head of sustainable research and Billiecup founder, Ineke Van Nieuwenhove, talk about sustainability through cow milk alternatives and by introducing a new reusable cup. Thanks to Knits & Treats for welcoming everyone into their shop. This was followed up by a filter coffee workshop at Kaffabar where attendees learned different methods of brewing with both an Aeropress and Chemex. Team Aeropress here!
Thursday got a little heated. After searching long and hard for the speakeasy-esque entrance to Cantine, I watched a round robin latte art tournament full of non-dairy milks, an automated milk frother from Perfect Moose, a ‘televised’ boxing ring, and a three-man jury comprised of two coffee experts and a rapper. I would say this was the highlight of the week!
Lastly, #BCW19 wrapped with a roasting workshop on Sunday at the newest roaster in town, Wide Awake Coffee Roasters. Rutger and Senina are both coffee fanatics experienced in sourcing and roasting and can certainly teach you a thing or two about how to roast the perfect bean. I’d recommend their Juicebox roast from Ethiopia. Apricots, Golden Kiwi, Yellow Plum, Cherries. This blog was actually powered by a Juicebox if we’re being honest with each other.