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  • Featured Barista: Rob Kerkhoff - Keen Coffee

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    Keen Coffee is a collaboration of baristas Bonne Postma, Rob Kerkhoff and Roasters Jan Schuitemaker & Tosca Schuitemaker

    My passion for coffee began in New Zealand back in 2008 when I was backpacking around the country.

    New Zealand had a coffee culture that was totally different from the Netherlands.It was all about going out to cafes, and a professional coffee making, while back in the Netherlands, we drank coffee at home, on the couch, with a cookie!

    I was fascinated by the espresso machines. I wanted to learn how to use them to make the delicious coffees that I was tasting.

    Inspired,when I got home to Utrecht, I landed a job at a Douwe Egberts espresso bar…And, with a little help from YouTube, taught myself latte art!

    After that, I got a job at The Village Coffee & Music. It was there that I focused more on how to calibrate the grinder and work with the espresso to extract better flavour from the coffee, instead of just focusing on making pretty latte art. Coffee culture came a bit late to the Netherlands, and The Village was one of the first real espresso bars, one of the only places that you could get a proper filter coffee.

    I learned how to use the Clever, Aeropress, and Siphon. It was a blast! And I was lucky to be a part of the team that won The Village the title of ‘Best Coffee Bar in the Netherlands’.

    I fell in love with the barista life: the scales, the grinder, and searching for that perfect cup of coffee.

    During this time I was also doing a lot of competitions. My first was at the Dutch Latte Art Championship, where I came in second place. The following year I competed in both the Latte Art and Barista Championships, which was insane, considering that they were only two days apart. Why I thought this was a good idea, I do not know. Despite my poor decision making, I somehow managed to win the best newcomer prize at the Dutch Barista Championship!

    Oh,and as if I wasn’t busy enough with competing, and working at the Village, I also started my own company, called Robocup. My slogan was “Part man. Part machine. All nice.” I worked the festival scene, serving up coffee at Lowlands and Pinkpop. At each festival I managed a team of 24 baristas, manning 4 La Marzoccos and 10 Technivorms, and serving up over 20,000 cups of coffee.

    Then came last year’s Dutch Brewers Cup. I worked for three months perfecting my recipes, trying out different methods, and adjusting grinds and water temperatures. I left no variable untested. All the hard work paid off and I took first place.

    Then it was on to the World Brewers Cup where I took fifth. The WBRC was a great experience. I met so many fun people who were also passionate about coffee.Plus, people who love coffee, also love a good party and a nice beer at the end of the day. We had a really good time.

    On a more serious note, it was really beautiful to hear people’s stories about their work and their own adventures with coffee. I learned so much from them, and I truly value the knowledge that I took away from that experience.

    I want to help other coffee lovers by sharing the knowledge that I’ve accumulated over the years. I’m hoping that together we can help take coffee to the next level.
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