Qinyi and Ludo: Coffee Insurrection Hero Chapter #46

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Qinyi and Ludo: Coffee Insurrection Hero Chapter #46

Coffee Insurrection
Published by Tanya in Coffee Insurrection Hero · 19 March 2022
Tags: QinyiLudoInterviewNaga_CoffeeRixensartBelgium
1- Introduce yourself: who are you, where are you from, where do you work and  what’s your job.  

We are Qinyi (from China) and Ludo (from Belgium), the founders of . We live in Rixensart a small town in the heart of Belgium. We are just two of us, so we wear and share many hats.  

Ludo: I am 43 years old. I am an art director and a photographer. My role at Naga is of course the image (packaging, logo, photo,…) but also the selection of coffees from our various importers and the establishment of a roasting profile with our chief roaster, Kris.

Qinyi: I am 34 years old. I am an accountant. I mainly take care of accounts, orders and  prospecting. I also take care of our e-shop with the help of our web master Flavien.
2- When and why did coffee become important to you?

Ludo: I have started drinking coffee quite late in my life, when I was around 30 years old,  following my job in a café in Soho (London). But it became really important when I started traveling in Japan. Contrary to what one might think, Japan (and most Asian countries) is  a big consumer of coffee. And when the Japanese do something, they do it perfectly.
Qinyi: When I met Ludo 5 years ago :)  

3- Do you remember the first coffee you had that was more than “just a cup of  coffee”?

Ludo: For most of us, we grew up with commodity coffee. The first time I discovered there was more to "grandmother's coffee" was in Japan almost 10 years ago. A place like only them can design, with several origins on the menu including a coffee from the Himalayas. Since that day I have been curious and passionate about coffee.

Qinyi: 5 years ago, when we went to Shanghai, I had the pleasure of drinking and seeing a siphon method coffee. I was dazzled both visually and tastefully.

4- What’s your favorite thing about going to work in the morning?

To start the day whit a good coffee ^^

And of course improve our knowledge about coffee.

5- What’s your favorite brewing method and why?

We are particularly lovers of slow coffee (pour over). Thanks to this method, the flavors of coffee are sublimated and each temperature tells us an other story. Every day we drink our coffee with Origami and Kalita wave filter.

6- Which is the best coffee you ever tasted?

This question is really difficult :)
We drank so many incredible coffees that it would be impossible to choose just one. And for good reason, an unforgettable coffee will depend not only on the time of day but also on the place and the people with whom you share it.

However, we have a wonderful memory of having tasted a V60 from a Natural Chiang  Mai (SL28 x Caturra) at found by chance in the heights of Chiang Rai in Thailand with my cousin and his wife. Exceptional.

Qinyi and Ludo
7- Is there a country of origin that you tend to favor coffee from? Why?

Without hesitation Thailand, which we fell in love with 2 years ago, and especially the north, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The relationship of Thai people with specialty coffee is incredible. There are café  everywhere and each one more magnificent than the other. Naga was born after our trip to introduce those specialty coffees and put a spotlight on the cultivators from Tropical Asia countries. Driven by the desire to introduce fans to different, authentic coffees with  refined aromas.

8- Suggest us a roastery to check (not the one you working at/you use at work).

Again, it's hard to pick just one. But we really like the work and the quality of the coffees  from (Bel), (Bel) or (Fr) . In addition Kris (Tane), Tanguy (Gust) and Dajo (Muda) are really nice, passionate and generous.

9- What’s the most important things you’ve learnt while working in the business?

That entrepreneurship is difficult. Especially in Belgium. Very few people know about specialty coffee and even fewer of Asian origin. We hope that with passion and patience we will manage to convince and win the hearts of people.

Commodity coffee is increasingly communicating with specialty coffee codes and it is important to explain the difference and why specialty coffee is better and more expensive. For this you have to be honest and transparent, communicate the slightest information such as the producer, the origin, the year of harvest, the score... all the information that the commodity coffee will not be able (or will not dare) to communicate.

10- How your work and the specialty coffee world are coping with Covid and the  new challenges for hospitality?

We are new to the specialty coffee world. Naga exists because of (or thanks to) Covid so we cannot compare it with the before. However, in view of the situation, we wanted to  start with an e-shop and multiply partnerships instead of investing in a physical location. But we think that in a way, the lockdown and telework have allowed people to rediscover  the pleasure of brewing a good cup of coffee.

11- How do you see the specialty coffee scene in 10 years?

In our opinion, the Specialty coffee will keep increasing and probably specialty Robusta  will take an important place soon. But what we are afraid about is the consequence of  global warming in the next 10 or 15 years. Coffee require a lot of water and soon we  might face a shortage.  

12- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

To be honest we are very carpe diem :)
By December at the latest, we see ourselves returning to Asia to meet our coffee farmers. Of course our dream would be that in 10 years we have our own coffee shop where people can come and taste our coffees, but also discover other treasures from Asia.

13- Any last word? Any tip or suggestion you wanna share with someone that  want to start this path?

You have to be passionate, patient, hardworking and well supported. Despite this, do not be afraid of failure because it will also allow you to learn. Be honest. Be yourself. Be Specialty coffee.

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