Modern Belgiuan roasters are making waves globally
Don’t be fooled by the appearance of a small country with nice old buildings because the specialty coffee scene is booming in Belgium and we are discovering many fascinating new roasteries there. Belgium these days is proving to be a lively place full of coffee surprises!
Mok was founded in 2012 by two-time Belgian Cup Tasters champion Jens Crabbé. He opened his first location in the small university town of Leuven known for craft beer then the second cafe in the capital city Brussels where the roastery is based.
Mok continues to work with the same producers year after year, with the twin goals of creating long lasting relationships and sourcing the best coffees available and was awarded the 2nd Best Specialty Coffee Roaster in Europe & Middle East. Jens, himself is a bit of a godfather to the modern specialty coffee scene in Belgium and many roasters including the other three in this set have close links to Mok.
Previously known as white label, Mok released their new Boxed Series just very recently. This range features the best possible coffees available and are always scoring around 90 often with a unique process too, rare varieties and the highest scoring lots.
In Cusco where the antient Inca locates has incredible agricultural diversity. Hugo Pareja is believed that the original Geisha seeds got cross-pollinated with other varieties from the same area, creating what they have named the “Inca Geisha”, a mutation of the Geisha variety that is unique to this particular environment. Keeping all the stunning flavours of the Geisha but not corresponding 100% genetically with it.
Antwerp, about 40 kilometres north of Brussels and only 15 kilometres from the Dutch border, is famous for its port (the second largest in Europe) and is the home to Rush Rush Coffee. The roastery was founded by Simon and Nanigui which was born out of their passion for coffee. With Simon in coffee roasting and Nanigui in cooking, the couple's enthusiasm for "things that taste damn good" has been distilled into the soul of the roastery.
With stunning design and delicious food for over 2 years, Rush Rush has already become one of the most desired coffee destinations in Belgium.
Alex Bermudez who is a co-owner of the El Paraíso farm came to the world of coffee under the influence of his famous brother Diego Samuel Bermudez. The coffee is anaerobic fermented for 72 hours and then thermal shock process is carried out.
Rush Rush Simon's World Aeropress Championship2nd place winning recipe
Dose: 18g - 156ml
Grind size: 23 clicks on Comandante
Water temp: 85°C
- Upright position using dry 1 Aesir Filter
- Pour 140ml of water & stir three times
- Put the plunger in and pull it back
- At 1:15, start pressing for 30 seconds
- Add water for a total weight of 156ml
- Total Brew Time: 1:45
In the heart of the historic city of Halle, not far from Brussels, Veerle and Lowie founded Brander in 2017, which started off as a café-cum-roastery. In 2023 Brander evolved into a purely roasting in order to focus exclusively on sourcing excellent coffees and achieve their "minimalist" approach.
They source the best coffee beans preferably from micro-farms that care as much as possible about producing great coffee. Veerle, Lowie and the rest of the team choose beans with the highest standards of quality, cleanliness, sustainability and traceability in mind, purchasing only fresh, seasonal produce.
Villa Luz (WOW series)
Strawberry, Melon, Jammy
Roast Type: Filter
Process: 15 days anaerobic natural fermentation
Producer: Emilson Mosquera
Brander recently launched their WOW series designed to showcase the most exotic, rare and captivating coffees, promising an unparalleled sensory experience. These micro-lots are typically very limited releases as the fermentation methods are very labour-intensive, time-consuming and risky for producers, resulting in small lots.
This farm was recognised in the TOP 10 of various competitions and auctions such as 'The Best of Cauca' & 'Colombia Land and Diversity'. This lot comprises only the healthiest and most dense cherries, packed with flavour. After a prolonged fermentation at low temperature (15 to 18℃) for 15 days while still in the cherry, the coffee is sun-dried on African beds for an additional 15 days.
Brander Lowie's Aeropress Recipe
Dose: 16g - 290ml
Grind size: 30 clicks on Comandante
Water temp: 90°C
- First pour: 100ml, in a circular motion
- 15”: gently swirl the brewer for 5 seconds
- 30”: add 150ml of water in a circular motion
- 1’00: plunger in
- 1’25 -> 1’45: press through until the hiss
- Add 40ml of water (bypass)
Wide Awake is located in Brussels' trendy Dansaert district where there are many cafes & bars (and even a mere street away from Mok). Wide Awake was originally founded in 2019 after a simple chat between two people who discovered a shared love of good music, the wonderful chaos of Brussels, and coffee. They are Rutger, who originally worked for Mok and Senina who trained at Assembly Coffee in London.
Coffees by Wide Awake are released under the names in their different ‘Series’, usually inspired by songs or music albums. Each Series represents a specific taste profile and hosts different seasonal microlots throughout the year.
Candied Cherry, Kefir, Cacao, Pineapple
Roast Type: Filter
Process: Yeast Inoculated (Cima) Dry Natural
Kibingo washing station
Variety: Red Bourbon
Kibingo washing station is renowned for its high quality lots, due to it’s perfect positioning in a mountainous area at 1893m above sea level in the Kayanza commune.
After harvest, this lot of Red Bourbon cherries was placed in containers and CIMA yeast was added. The cherry ferments in this environment for 36h and is then dried for 2-3 weeks on African beds. CIMA was specially developed for coffee production. It helps control fermentation and boosts sweetness, brightness and complexity. The result is a high quality cup with funky fruity notes.