Interview: I'm Zdenek and I roast coffee

When I grow up, would I like to be an astronaut, a garbage man, a fireman or... a roaster? Okay, let's not get our hopes up about kindergarten kids wishing they could make a living roasting coffee as an adult. Of course, that's mostly because they don't drink coffee themselves. Apart from seeing their parents sipping the hot black beverage out of the nicest mugs they have at home in the afternoon, the world of coffee doesn't really concern them. But when they grow up, the door to coffee starts to open. Some of them like the smell of freshly roasted coffee so much that they decide to smell it every day. They become a professional barista or even a roaster.

Zdenek, think back to your childhood. When you were, say, six years old. What did you want to be?

I'll admit I've been searching for an answer to that question for a while. What I remember most was a garbage truck that could empty garbage. I loved that at the time and played with it relentlessly. So as a kid, my dream was to be a garbage man.

When did coffee catch your attention? How did you get on the path to coffee, the roaster and the Spa?

I was introduced to coffee by my wife Terka about 8 years ago. It all started with coffee from Tchiba, which we prepared at French Press. Gradually coffee grew into a hobby. When I really enjoy something, I try to do it properly. And that's exactly what happened with home brewing.

I started to discover other coffee options and other roasters. I was figuring out what I could do better. Then there were a couple of coffee events I went to, like thePrague Coffee Festival and The Filter in Brno. That fueled my passion for coffee even more. Kuba (CO-CEO of Spa Coffee, ed.) kind of paved the way for me. When I moved from Brno, I was looking for a new job. That's when Kuba contacted me and offered me a job in the roastery.

What inspires and motivates you on this journey?

It's great to taste coffees from different roasters, which is always a great inspiration for me. The motivation is undoubtedly the knowledge that I can gain and also the whole team that we are leading.

You're a roaster at Spa Coffee. Why did you become one and how has this decision affected your life?

I studied civil engineering at Brno University of Technology, as I have always been drawn to working with computers and road design with AutoCad makes that possible. Anyway, after I tried this profession, I found that I got burnt out a lot. I like to have fun and meet people. This job allows me to do that. In addition to interacting with my colleagues, I like to talk to our customers. We maintain long-lasting friendly relationships with them.

When they say: the best cup of coffee. What do you remember?

In 2015, I lived in England for a while. That's when I started to get more into coffee and find out more information. Traditionally when I plan a trip, the first thing I do is look for coffee shops to visit. Only then do I find out what else is interesting in the area. Back when I lived in London, I really wanted to visit Prufrock. I had a cappuccino there then and was just thrilled with it.

What about the worst one?

Without a doubt the Standard coffee on the cupping.

Meet Zdenek in person at one of our regular cuppings or roastery tours.

As with all of us, I suppose sometimes work goes well and sometimes it just doesn't go your way. Confess to us. What has really gone wrong during your career at the roastery, and conversely, what are you proud of?

I'm happy for the fact that clients come back to us and like our coffee. If they didn't like our coffee, we couldn't operate because we roast coffee for them. I try not to look back too much on things that didn't work out. I take lessons from them to do better next time because I approach everything with a certain humility.

Coffee has a way of charming people. That's why for most of those who work with coffee, coffee is a joy, a hobby and a love. What do you enjoy about coffee?

There's more than one thing I enjoy about coffee. On the professional side, I always look forward to delivering new bags of green beans and then testing them. For me, it's important to find out new information about coffee and to educate myself over time. When training is successful, for example, I'm very happy about it. Of course, I also shouldn't neglect those moments of peace that can be enjoyed on the weekend with my family and coffee.

How would you describe your working day in three words? What does your morning look like and what is your favourite part of the day in the roastery?

Beauty alternates with splendor. That's a slogan we use quite often. ???? I need a relaxed morning and no rushing around. At 6 o'clock I get up, prepare breakfast, which I eat in peace and I can go to the bus that will take me to Luhačovice. I'm sure what I like the most are the morning hours, when you are full of energy and can work properly.

You and Lázeňská. This is definitely a topic in itself, but if you had to sum it up, what do you like about working in Lázeňská? Is there an interesting and memorable moment that comes to mind when you say Spa Coffee?

I like the attitude we have towards our customers. We try to be friends to them and make them good coffee. Our portfolio is broad. From roasting coffee, to coffee machines, to grinders, to being able to teach them how to serve good coffee. Which is definitely what I like. All of us at Spa have it set up that way and we work together in that sense.

Moving our roaster from Giesen W15A was memorable. We are based in a former bakery and had to carry it down the stairs there. The width of our doorway was exactly one centimetre. We called 8 strong men to help us get it down. It was all done.

What's the direction of your life's journey? Where are you headed? What is your professional and personal dream and goal?

I've already set my path. Back to where I grew up. To Uherský Brod. I used to always tell myself I'd never live here. I wanted to live in a big city where there's a little bit of life. I changed my mind about where I wanted to live. The dreams I want to achieve now are far away, but I believe if I want to, I can. But I will present them to you when I do. ???? What is my goal now? To keep Spa Coffee going and still be able to make good quality and delicious coffee, just the way you like it.