Jessica and Maik share twin passions, coffee and plant-based. To them, they’re two sides of the same coin – living well, living better for the planet. Together, they run a coffee-based business (KoffieRevolutie.nl), aimed mainly at the home barista – “a sort of start-up manual for serious coffee lovers”. Jessica also offers pro barista training online and on site as well as being a regular judge for national competitions; while Maik is the internet marketing maestro, running their Vegan blog, with two cookery books already out there and a third in the making.
Jessica was the first to discover the world of coffee, via a chance conversation with a barista while working as an intern in event management. She recalls, “I was instantly hooked. It was a real eye-opener to find out just what went into every cup of coffee!” She and Maik then travelled to New Zealand and Australia, where coffee culture was far more established and ‘coffee shop’ had a rather different meaning than it did in their native Netherlands! They returned inspired and primed to become coffeepreneurs.
What do they love about what they do now? Maik answers this one. “It’s the connection with people – coffee is the great universal ice breaker. Everyone loves coffee, it’s such a low barrier.” He loves the fact that making someone happy can be as simple as remembering how they like their breakfast brew – it’s a part of the job that he thinks baristas sometimes forget. “Yes, you have to make good coffee. If it doesn’t taste good, they’re not going to come back. But it’s just as important not to hide behind your machine!”
And what makes a great cup of coffee? Freshly roasted, well brewed, no sourness or bitterness. Like good wine, with a good coffee you should be able to taste the origin. But they both agree it’s very personal. As Maik says, “What’s the best cup of coffee in the world? The one that you like!”
And what made them veer towards the Vegan? It began by deciding never to eat animals again. “We love them too much”, says Jessica. From there, Veganism was far from the unrealistic, extreme option they’d thought it to be. It was simply the logical next step.
It’s hard to believe Maik once worked in a butcher’s shop and was a confirmed carnivore who thought a meal without meat just wasn’t a meal! He was the first to go full-time 100% plant-based in 2015, and Jessica followed soon after. “This is more than what we eat. It’s who we are. It’s how we raise our children.”
“Going plant-based was actually just the simplest option. And it’s not hard to do. Even eating out is no problem (and I love great food). Just ask nicely (in advance, if you can) and most chefs love rising to the challenge!”
As do baristas! Jessica and Maik love the fact that plant-based alternatives to dairy have improved so much over recent years. As Maik says, “Taste-wise and in the way they perform in coffee, they’re so good now you’re really not losing anything.”
Price can still be a barrier in coffee shops, with plant-based priced at a premium compared to dairy. Jessica and Maik naturally think it should be the other way around!
He thinks the next game changer for makers will be transparency and honesty. “Clean eating isn’t just about what’s in the foods, it’s where it comes from and how it’s grown."
Maik believes, ”Consumers don’t just make a choice based on taste or their own personal health – much as they matter. They’ll pick the product made by a company (like Alpro) that doesn’t source soya from rainforests, doesn’t buy their coconuts from countries that use and abuse monkeys and doesn’t ship oats from the other side of the world when there are fields full of them just next door. People are much more aware of the issues facing the planet, and now more than ever, the choice of food we eat is an ethical one.”
And when they’re not being serious about living lighter or creating the perfect cappuccino? With two small children, free time is in short supply. But they still love travelling. “Every city visit turns into a coffee shop safari!” Or you might find them saddling up their bikes and heading out into the nearby forest, or sharpening up their Latin dance technique at a salsa class. This is one couple that doesn’t stand still for long!
"Going plant-based was actually just the simplest option. And it’s not hard to do. Even eating out is no problem (and we love great food)."
Jessica & Maik
Jessica & Maik
Amersfoort, The Netherlands
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