This week, 32cup turned two. It made me reflect on how we got to where we are today, and I came to the conclusion it’s all about one thing: finding passion in what you do.
Sixteen years ago I had a life changing discussion with one of my best friends. He was testing me about why I wanted to quit my studies. I was nineteen and of course there were only four things on my mind: money, big cars, big houses and parties all across the globe. To obtain this, my friend said I had three options: real estate, entertainment or ICT. Two weeks later I started my first job in real estate. Eight months later I quit. There was no fun in it, even if I was making ten times more money than my friends.
Those eight months in real estate did teach me one thing: you have to let your passions be your guide in life. Ever since that time I have let my passions in life guide my way, which has brought us to where we are today with 32cup. Every day I’m having fun, every day I get amazed at least once, every day I realize what a crazy and exciting world we’re living in.
I realized that a lot of the people with whom we work in origin or in the consuming countries are very likeminded. Passion drives them, passion makes them write blogs in the middle of the night, passion puts them on planes to origin even if they have too much work, passion makes them select every red cherry and kick out the floaters, passion leads to pride.
I also realized the importance of putting passion in what you do in the contrasts I encountered. In a blog I read on the Flemish foodie Kobe Desramaults of restaurant In De Wulf, it was so clear how much passion this guy puts into his work. When I visited a 3th generation coffee roaster I spoke to the mother of the house at 9h in the morning who was preparing her shop for the day with so much love and dedication. A roaster friend of mine decided to stop roasting for his customers and instead take a leap by following his dream to open up a slow coffee bar. All of them talk with such contagious passion about what they do.
On the other hand I had a depressing discussion about the cheapest coffee with somebody who couldn’t find another solution to win/survive than by finding the lowest possible prices for most stable as possible coffees. There was no passion – the only mainspring was making profit. I also spoke to a banker who’s job consisted of making numbers and selling credit cards, something in which he didn’t particularly find a lot of joy.
These contrasts between jobs weren’t as surprising as they were confronting. They easily made me see 32cup is on the passion-driven side of things. It’s our passion to find a coffee that’s right in so many different ways and offer it to the right roaster. Every week we meet new roasters who feel our passion complements theirs, resulting in long-lasting relationships.
However, we shouldn’t be naive and think passion makes the world go round. Without our solid structure in coffee logistics and the necessary financial means, we could be as passionate as we are, but not much would happen.
We’re glad there’s a lot of coffee people out there who have the same passion for coffee. Roasters convincing every single one of their customers of their unique product, proud producers showing their advanced farms and their hard work in growing coffee, the president of the cooperatives who want to thank us for the trust and durable relationship,… all those people reward us and push us in so many ways we sometimes feel too slow.
So for all of you having trouble waking up in the morning and get started – try a better coffee, grown, shipped and roasted with passion… it will make a big difference.