As with many people in our industry, Cory has followed a long and winding path before finding coffee. As an economics graduate from a small Quaker university in Indiana, he first worked in management consulting for a few years before heading to India to start a company with a childhood friend. After that project ran its course, he went back into consulting, to Costa Rica, and then spent another year in the United States. Cory then moved to East Africa, where he worked with the Technoserve Coffee Initiative for 4 years, based in Tanzania and Rwanda. The program spanned four countries and focused on doubling the income of 200,000 coffee farmers through improved agronomy and processing. From there, he returned to the private sector, working for Falcon Coffees in Uganda on supply chain development and then in the UK for five years as a senior trader focused on sustainability and specialty supply chains.
Cory joined 32cup in February 2018 because he was excited about the idea of being part of a group transformation towards specialty and value added coffees. “I think that, furthermore, what attracted me was the ethical approach and the fact that there’s still a strong entrepreneurial focus in the company,” Cory says, “[I love] the ability to go out and create our own change in the industry.”
Cory is the incoming Chairman of ACE, the organization responsible for managing the Cup of Excellence competitions. He is a past member of the SCA sustainability council, and qualified as a Q grader in 2010.
Sébastien Hoste started with 32cup in January 2014 as Chief Operating Officer after gaining his coffee chops with Sucafina in Geneva for 2 years.
Within 32cup, he’s involved in various fields like finance, HR, logistics and he’s also responsible for 32cup’s ISO certification.
His favorite thing about working with 32cup is the variety in the job and to be able to work with a great team of colleagues.
In 2006, Aurelie moved from Burundi, where her parents are coffee exporters, to Belgium, for her university studies. As one of the earliest to join the team, Aurelie has a wealth of experience in a variety of positions at 32cup.
Aurelie loves the “cosmopolitan” air of the team, with so many different origins, languages and backgrounds. “To arrive in a small startup and learn from scratch,” Aurelie says, “you get to do everything, which I loved.” In such a job, she stresses, “you don’t arrive at a moment where you say, ‘I know everything,’ it’s impossible!” and that’s what excited her about 32cup from the beginning. Previously as logistics manager, and now, as a trader, Aurelie learns something new everyday and handles a variety of projects.
Even in university, Sofie was a self-described “coffee freak.” While studying translation, she’d spend her free time trying new brewing methods, buying beans from roasters all across Belgium and Europe and “being an annoying customer who goes into coffee bars and ask questions.”
After graduation, just nine months after 32cup opened, Sofie applied for a position. She was put in charge of setting up cuppings, roasting, writing about coffees and more. “That’s how I learned a lot very fast,” Sofie says.
In 2015 she achieved her Q certification and gradually took on more work managing the quality control department. She started working on purchasing and soon became specialty buyer for Colombia, Peru and Guatemala and support for purchasing for Rwanda, El Salvador, Burundi and Brazil.
When she started at 32cup, Sasha worked in the quality department sending out samples and preparing cuppings. Soon, with her excellent management and organizational skills and her facility with Ukrainian and Russian, she added logistics support for clients in Europe and beyond and sales for clients from Ukrainian- and Russian-speaking countries to her daily duties.
Sasha’s most incredible coffee experience to date was when tasting Ethiopian naturals for the first time. It was like “a whole new world,” she says, “a 180 degree difference.”
For Sasha, who immigrated to Belgium from Ukraine with her husband a few years ago, working at 32cup makes “it easier to feel at home here [in Belgium].” She loves the 32cup work environment because there’s “space for growth [and] initiative” and her coworkers feel more like family or close friends than simply coworkers.
Originally from Egypt where he played professional football as a goalkeeper, Amir came to Antwerp while studying for an international MBA in Brussels. After working at a marketing agency and in HR recruitment, Amir was intrigued by a posting for a position in logistics at 32cup.
Now a core part of the team, Amir’s work is one part admin and one part logistics. On the admin side, he works on payments, receiving documents from purchasers and putting them on file, sharing documents with the warehouse, and more. On the logistics side, he helps get orders moving, does invoices, and works with the finances.
Before joining 32cup he just knew “coffee as capsules” but now a whole new world is opening up for him and he’s “discovering how huge it is.” As he works at 32cup, Amir wants to share “the story behind the farmers that we [buy] from” and demonstrate the ways 32cup is dedicate to helping them secure their livelihoods.
Bavo came to 32cup after completing volunteer work in Rwanda in the summer of 2018 where he helped streamline processing and provide market access for a new export company there. Before Rwanda, Bavo spent over a year volunteering in Central and South America on a number of coffee farms. While originally from Belgium, Bavo also spent a year and half living in Bristol, in the UK, roasting coffee.
His main focus is sales in Southern Europe, including Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece, as well as the UK. Bavo also spends time working in quality control on sample roasting and cupping. Additionally, he works with the purchasing team and is responsible for sourcing coffees from Honduras, Nicaragua and Indonesia, as well as exploring new origins from which 32cup has not yet imported coffee
Veronique has been with 32cup since 2016 and is responsible for sales to roasteries in Benelux. Her work hinges on building relationships and includes visiting and contacting clients. Being on the road visiting clients is her favorite thing about working with 32cup. After all those years, “…you start to know what they need and want,” Veronique says. She also organizes cuppings to introduce clients to new coffees as they arrive. She wants to show that “we are really strict on quality.”
Veronique is married and the proud mother of two “little ladies.” Her time spent at 32cup is meaningful to her: “Most important [are] the family moments…we have here with 32cup,” she says, “everybody grows together…we support each other. We’re a little bit of a small family [too].”
Vendula was initially searching for a job in pharmaceuticals when a friend forwarded her the post for the logistics position at 32cup. Attracted by 32cup’s unique advertisement wording, she came in for an interview and “immediately [we] clicked.”
Originally, Vendula was hired for logistics export. In that capacity, she arranges the orders, does the contracts and invoices, facilitates transport, and releases coffees. She communicates daily with transport companies, smooths over problems in shipping, and makes sure nothing is forgotten.
When she first started at 32cup in was 2015, there was a boom in specialty coffee and roasteries in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and other countries in Central Europe. Thanks to her language skills in Czech and Slovak, Vendula also became the point person for sales in those countries.
Thao, a Ho Chi Minh city native, worked for Sucafina before joining the 32cup team. Working in logistics, she follows shipments, contacts clients, customers, exporters banks and much more. She’s excited to earn more experience working in specialty coffee merchant. She knows the supply chain of East Africa inside and out and is ready to help facilitate purchasing and shipping coffees.
In her spare time, Thao enjoys learning about skincare and beauty regimens. She is learning about the effects of food on the skin and what kind of products to purchase for specific skin types.