How did DAK come to be and who makes up DAK?
DAK was founded a year ago, by Veronique Lagarde and Louis-Philippe Boucher. We are two Canadian expats with a passion for coffee. It all started very naturally. Over the last few years, we both developed a passion for coffee in our own way, albeit simultaneously! Veronique gave English lessons to consultants when we lived in Milan, that is how/why she was (sometimes against her will) introduced to the Italian coffee bar tradition, and to Italian espresso. Louis, on the other hand, had always been drinking coffee. Living together in different cities (Montreal, Milan, London, Amsterdam), he was struck by how different the coffee culture can be from one place to the other. This passion then grew into a desire to learn more about the product, the industry and to eventually (after a few years) dive right in and start a business!
What is DAK's purpose/mission?
We think it is noble that the specialty coffee industry has such a strong focus on paying the farmers their fair share of income from the sale of coffee. At DAK, we want to take it a step further and celebrate the farmers that are going above and beyond, and innovating into new processing methods, new varietals, etc. We try (and we love) to source coffees that are unique, exotic and mind-boggling, and we are happy to pay a hefty premium to bring them to market.
Hot take: How would you describe the coffee scene in Amsterdam? Overrated or underrated and why?
Tough question… On the one hand, there is still a significant presence of commodity coffee, but, on the other hand, there are very talented specialty roasters (Friedhats, Whitelabel, Bocca) with their own cafes. I would like to see a bit more multi-roaster cafes and more diversity in the coffee scene, so I would say it is a bit overrated.
BEST coffee you ever had...where?
We are lucky enough that our job consists in large part in cupping many different coffees, so we get to taste a lot of different stuff. One of those has really stuck with me: it was our first thermal shock Colombian, and we were blown away! The taste reminded me of a strawberry pop tart. Funny enough, the importer had to send the samples to a lab to make sure they were no flavour additives added to the coffee, it was so crazy!
What's one thing about DAK that most people don't know?
We actually get a lot of questions about our logo, is it a man or a woman? The truth is, the ambiguity was intentional, we cannot seem to agree on whether it is a man or a woman and we like it that way! We used a very talented Canadian artist to design the logo and the concept was to have something that is easily recognisable, clean, cool and also a bit mysterious.
What do you want to change most about the coffee industry?
For us, one of the most satisfying things to do is to convert a “commodity-style” coffee drinker to specialty coffee and to hear them say how they cannot go back to their old coffee anymore. The industry remains heavily reliant on equipment in order to be able to brew quality coffee at home. I think there have been some improvements (aero press, commandante, etc.), but I would like to see even more such that the barrier of switching from commodity to specialty is removed.
I am currently a big fan of the origami dripper with kalita filters. Because I work from different locations (home, office, roastery, on the road, etc.), I do not always have access to an EK-43 to grind my beans and I find the flat-bottom filters in the origami are more forgiving on grind size/consistency and brew high quality cups.
Tell us about one of the coffees featured in this month's box!
Our best seller: the Borazon. It is an anaerobic processed coffee from Costa Rica with intense notes of Cinnamon, Ginger and Raspberry, just like a cinnamon bun. It is so good, I would almost call it a dessert coffee!