hero image Florian

Florian

Meet Florian, a seasoned barista and co-founder of Stooker Specialty Coffee, who has a deep-rooted connection with BounceSpace. His journey in the coffee industry started years ago and has evolved into a mission to bring quality coffee and a sustainable approach to the forefront. We sat down with him to delve into his story, his vision for Stooker Specialty Coffee, and his passion for coffee.

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So, Florian, I seem to be drinking Stooker Specialty Coffee beans every day! How did your coffee end up at BounceSpace?
Haha, I’m glad to hear that! My connection with BounceSpace began in 2012 when Onno, my current business partner, and I helped set up Lot 61. During that time, BounceSpace opened, and we established a small espresso bar there where I worked as the barista. We got to know the community and made many connections. After we left to start our own company, Stooker, the connection faded. About a year and a half ago, Jorn from BounceSpace wanted to take their coffee offerings more seriously and needed expertise. We saw an opportunity to return, collaborate, and create something exceptional, transforming the coffee corner into a vibrant, educational space.
You don’t just deliver coffee beans, right? Can you elaborate on Stooker’s concept and what sets it apart?
At Stooker, we focus on three main components: quality beans, skilled baristas, and top-notch equipment. But it goes beyond that. We offer comprehensive support, from bar setup and workflow optimization to barista training. It's about creating an entire coffee experience, not just serving a drink. We aim to share the story behind the beans, the farmers, and the journey of the coffee itself. Our approach is holistic—we look at everything from the design of the coffee bar to the sustainability of our practices. We believe in creating a seamless experience where every cup of coffee tells a story and every interaction is an opportunity to learn and connect. It's not just about the end product; it's about the entire process and the relationships built along the way.
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Why is it important to share the story behind the coffee beans?
Transparency and sustainability are at the core of what we do. Knowing where your coffee comes from and understanding the effort and care that goes into producing it adds value. It’s crucial to highlight the farmers' stories, their practices, and the sustainability efforts involved. This not only enriches the coffee experience but also promotes paying a fair price to the farmers and better practices in the industry. By educating our customers about the origins of their coffee, we help them appreciate the complexity and beauty of the process. It's about fostering a connection between the consumer and the producer, which we believe leads to more thoughtful consumption and a greater respect for the product. Moreover, it supports farmers and communities, ensuring they receive fair compensation for their hard work.
The specialty coffee industry seems quite niche. How has it evolved over the years?
Specialty coffee has grown significantly. Initially, it catered to a select group of enthusiasts, but it’s becoming more mainstream. People are willing to go the extra mile for quality and sustainability. This shift reflects a broader trend in consumer behavior, where people seek out products that align with their values and are willing to invest in better quality. When we started, specialty coffee was a small, almost underground movement. Now, it's a significant part of the coffee culture. Consumers are more informed and interested in what they drink. They appreciate the nuances and are curious about the stories behind their coffee. This change has allowed us to reach a wider audience and make a more substantial impact.
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There’s often talk of ‘coffee snobbery.’ What’s your perspective on this?
Coffee snobbery can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it represents a deep appreciation for quality and craftsmanship, which is great. But on the other hand, it can create barriers and intimidate people who are new to specialty coffee. At Stooker, we try to strike a balance. We want to educate and share our passion without alienating anyone. It's about making great coffee accessible and enjoyable for everyone. We believe in celebrating the complexities and nuances of coffee while also being approachable and welcoming. The goal is to enhance the coffee experience, not to make it exclusive or elitist. That’s why we started our academy where we train all the baristas who work with our coffee, both in the hospitality industry and for consumers. We encourage curiosity and learning at every level, whether you're a seasoned coffee enthusiast or just beginning to explore the world of specialty coffee. 
"Coffee is more than a drink; it's a journey from bean to cup that tells a story of passion, sustainability, and connection."
I have the feeling that the specialty coffee industry is quite male-dominated. What’s your take on that?
It's true that historically, the coffee industry, particularly in roles like roasting and ownership, has been male-dominated. However, there are positive changes happening. More initiatives and organizations are promoting diversity and supporting women in coffee. It’s about creating opportunities and breaking down barriers. At Stooker, we strive to foster an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive. We see more women entering the field, and it's exciting to witness the shift. Gender diversity brings different perspectives and skills to the table, enriching the industry as a whole. We have collaborated with initiatives that support women in pursuing careers in coffee, such as a training program and a platform for their voices to be heard. We have sourced coffee from cooperatives made up entirely of female farmers and worked with importers in Rwanda who help female farmers acquire land for coffee cultivation. We stand for equality in terms of gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation, and we apply this belief in practice wherever we can. Currently, our team is 25% female and 75% male, and we aim for 50% female representation.
Coffee is often seen as a social beverage. What makes 'having a coffee together' such a central part of social interactions?
That's an interesting point. Having coffee together has become almost a cultural institution. It's more than just drinking coffee; it's about connection. In many cultures, sharing a cup of coffee is an excuse to gather, talk, and bond. It serves as a social lubricant that brings people together, whether for business meetings, catching up with friends, or even first dates. Coffee shops often serve as communal spaces where people feel comfortable and welcome. This social aspect is ingrained in the very act of "having a coffee," which has evolved into a ritualistic experience. The warmth and comfort of a good cup of coffee can create an atmosphere of relaxation and openness, making it easier for people to connect and communicate.
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What’s your vision for the future of Stooker and your role in the coffee industry?
Our goal is to continue pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in specialty coffee. We want to expand our partnerships and bring our sustainable and quality-focused approach to more places. Personally, I’m passionate about education—helping people understand and appreciate the nuances of coffee. Whether through training or simply sharing stories, it’s about making a positive impact and empowering others. We envision Stooker as a leader in the industry, not just for our products but for our commitment to sustainability and education. We aim to be a source of inspiration and knowledge, driving positive change in how people perceive and consume coffee. Our future involves more collaborations, innovative projects, and continuous improvement in our practices to set new standards in the coffee world.
Sounds like sustainability is important to you, how do you incorporate that into your personal life? Is it something you want others to be inspired by? 
If there’s one thing I’d like to leave with, it’s the importance of being mindful of the choices we make. Whether it’s the coffee we drink or the way we live our lives, every decision has an impact. By choosing quality and sustainability, we can make a positive difference in the world. And of course, always savor your coffee—it’s a small joy that connects us all.
Text: Janna Nieuwenhuijzen
Photos: MADEBYSEM
Studio: Parq Studios
Links: Stooker Specialty Coffee

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