Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ivan Verschueren

Caffenation history classes :

The summer of 2002 and I'm sitting in my backyard at the Haantjeslei with a friend called Ivan Verschueren.
We first met in 1997. In those years Ivan was a sales representative for Lavazza. We had a meeting once, but in our coffee supplier search for our Pitten & Bonen juice and coffee bar, we finally picked Segafredo.

No hard feelings from Ivan, who was a sporty guy and even with coffee from the 'competition' on the grinder he visited us at least once a week and we became friends.

That day in 2002 he was going to work for Cook & Boon and I was as a consultant working on a 'Soup and Coffee' project in which the client asked me to get some info about this Cook & Boon coffee, that was hyped a lot in Antwerp those days.
While sitting in the sun and drinking some beers Ivan thought that I wasn't the right man to work with existing coffee company's. Better, to him, was to seek companionship with a small specialised coffee roaster somewhere. And even better; starting my own company.

For me it was a totally new idea and I wasn't interested. I had one consultancy job on the roll, a second one was coming in and I was not very reluctant to start something that serious immediately.

Half a year later, when both consultancy jobs unfortunately ended/failed, I started to think differently. By that time I met Jean Vermeulen who was the right roaster/companion to start working for myself. The project was an espressobar with coffee bean sales - retail and wholesale.

June 2003 Caffenation Hopland opened doors and now 6 years later we're a well known named in coffee land Antwerp and surroundings.

Ivan now works, since a couple of years, for Rombouts (Holland) and we still meet up from time to time.
Last time was at the Belgian championships 3 weeks ago.
Ivan was standing next to me when Kenny was announced winner of the championship with a Rombouts coffee on the grinder.
I felt really happy for Rombouts and Ivan, people with a big coffee heart.

So Ivan, again thanks for the top tip that day long ago. A small tip, but oh so important in my life and, if I may say, in this of so many Antwerp coffee lovers.

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