We asked Bonne and Rob a few questions behind Keen Coffee! We picked these lads as they are now roasting on the coffee roasters that Roasted Brown used to roast on the Delgany, Wicklow!
Tell us about Keen Coffee and why did you start roasting coffee?
Keen Coffee began after a couple years of competing in coffee championships. Bonne and I were baristas and met each other through the Utrecht coffee scene and became best friends.
I wanted to learn more and for me competing was the easiest way. Bonne helped me as my coach and together we became Dutch Brewers Champion in '15 and 5th at the Worlds.
Because of this we are very interested in every variable we can and could change in the coffee roasting process. From of course the brew recipe water and grind size, but how the coffee is processed and the way it was roasted is so also so important. When we started Keen we didn't think twice
about it, controlling all the variables and making an impact on coffee, and combining it with the drive to share our knowledge and keep learning about coffee in every way is for us our main drive.
Where are you from and how did you get into coffee?
We are both Dutch. Bonne is from the upper part of the Netherlands, Friesland. And I'm form the East part near Nijmegen but we both have lived in Utrecht for more than 10 years already.
What is the best coffee experience you’ve had ever?
Good one! I think cupping the first time the Anaerobic fermentation and tasting that well balanced cup with lots of cinnamon in it but also our first coffee origin trip in Central America where we visit lots of countries and farmers. One of my favourite memories was at Danilo's farm were we tried to pick cherries for the first time. He laughed so hard after we came back after a hour with almost nothing in our basket. Then we said we are not that good at picking but really good in brewing, and offered to come back the next day and make coffee for all the pickers. We brewed up a coffee that was already processed and ready from his own farm. Lots of pickers didn't even taste their own coffee they've been picking for years before. That was the first time!
Tell us about the coffees featuring in this months Brew Box?
Colombian coffees are always so vibrant and fruity in combination with a nice smooth body. This coffee is really good with milk or as espresso!
A black honey pacamara. El Salvador is really growing the last few years in naturals and honey coffees. Like last year we fell in love again with a pacamara coffee.
A winey dried plum and lots of raw sugar cane in it. We also find notes of chocolate cherry bonbon!
Can you tell us about the Costa Rican El Diamante that we did a limited edition release of and your experience with that coffee?
Oe. Yeah that coffee started it all in 2015, before Keen even started and we used it for competition and it landed us 5th place at WbrC It made us well known from that year on. People called it the Cinnamon Coffee. I think when we didn't compete with it and roasted it for Mathieu Theis in WBC 2018 it exploded. So many people and farmers are experimenting now with anaerobic fermentation.
But it all started back in 2015 with a idea of Esteban and a plastic bucket. Then in a RV tank for 60kg. Now he improves his processes more with a moving tank that rotates like a roasters drum does. He also improved lots with drying and used a solar past dryer to make profiles in drying so he is less dependent with the weather!
Tell us something uncoffee related about yourselves?
Rob worked in fashion as a sidejob when he studied in university! And I am a huge raw denimhead and workwear lover. My closest is huge haha.
Bonne is superhandy, he got this from his dad that is carpenter. Bonne designed and built to whole stand we had at Amsterdam Coffee Festival. He also studied landscape architecture. So he can name lots plants by name.
What's the plan for the future? World domination?
For now grow a little bit more so we all can live sustainably from it. I think the next dreamstep would be a bigger roastery. With a bigger training area.
Hopefully we can open up in a couple years a pilot store. As we both worked as baristas we love the vibe and community of regulars, and hospitality is in our blood. Making a cup of coffee and making people smile is the most fulfilling job in the world!