This month, we have the pleasure of catching up with Andris, the Founder and Head Roaster of Andrito Coffee Roastery. Over the past five years, we’ve had the opportunity to cultivate a strong relationship with Andris, and we continue to be impressed by his remarkable achievements in Latvia’s coffee industry. Andris’ commitment to coffee education is truly inspiring, and we’re eager to hear more about his journey. During our conversation, we explore the exciting developments at the roastery and discover what Andris has been doing in his free time.
Tell us a little about you and your role in Andrito Coffee Roastery
I’m a 43-year-old Latvian coffee entrepreneur who co-founded Andrito CR 11 years ago. My role is to lead my team, work with green coffee quality and suppliers, and inspire people to have a better cup of coffee every day.
Tell us about your journey in coffee.
It started before we established Andrito CR. But in that time I had enough experience to do something more in coffee – roasting is how we give character to coffee. And I have so many characters to discover! After my barista period, roasting was a dream for me – one step back in the coffee chain, but a significant step forward in the coffee world.
At Andrito CR I started with everything – planning, roasting, facility layout, sourcing equipment and green coffee, packing, sales, and client service. This journey brought me new knowledge in the coffee space and business while allowing me to make new friends and partners locally and abroad.
What were you doing before you started the business?
In 2002 I started as a barista at a brand-new specialized coffee shop in Riga. At that time nobody there knew what “barista” meant😊 The shop owners were travelling to Moscow at the time and visited some of the coffee shops there. Just with the visual memory of what they saw there, they came back and told us how to do to make nice rosettas in a cappuccino. We had no idea how to make it, but just by our own way we discovered how to make smooth and silky milk and improve our results. At that time our milk jugs were little pots, no one could really teach us, there were no videos, no pictures – almost nothing! The Internet was slow and empty at that time! But we were very enthusiastic about coffee and decided to go and visit World Barista Championship 2004 in Trieste, Italy – my jaw dropped when I saw how Luigi Lupi was pouring rossetas, hearts, and apples in a cappuccino – Oh, my God, no way – this is was a wow factor. I asked him – may I purchase a milk jug? – and he said NO! From that day that was my only goal, to get one of these magic milk jugs.
Later from 2006 to 2010, I was a barista trainer here in Latvia for Paulig Coffee Company. I gave my energy to coffee and received it back with a good international experience. I also participated at WBC2006 in Bern, World Latte Art 2008 in Copenhagen and a year later in Cologne. At that time World Coffee events reached a much bigger size and level – so the roasting industry already was there and I was so inspired. But before coffee, I spent many years as an academic musician – singing in mixed choirs and travelling to many countries around the world for this.
If you had one day in your city, how would you spend it?
Riga is beautiful at any time of the year. I like to ride my bike on summer evenings and enjoy the old town towers, the new centre, and the river promenade.
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
My hometown is Ogre City, 35km from Riga. I have lived in Riga for the past 25 years. I have a nice house with a green yard and I really like taking care of my lawn from early April till October.
Tell us about the future of Andrito Coffee.
Step by step to grow – this is what we have done for the past 11 years and develop new coffee concepts whilst making more strong connections with our producer friends at origin.
Is there anything you like doing in your spare time?
Oh, I have a family – a wife, and 3 kids. They have different interests and hobbies. So, we spend time a lot together travelling and learning. But I have time for myself too – during the spring/summer season I`m a speaker for BMX races, during the year I host different kinds of events, and I am an improvisation enthusiast.
During wintertime, I like cross-country skiing in my hometown Ogre, where very nice tracks are located. And table tennis – oh, this is my thing. Several times per week I go to my table tennis club for training. This is the reason why we don’t have a table here at the roastery – otherwise, I would not focus on coffee at all😉
What is your favorite origin, coffee varietal and processing method?
I honestly appreciate every origin. I have travelled to Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, and Panama. I really like washed Huehuetenago Guatemalan coffee, and Colombia is always a perfect choice. My credit goes to natural Colombia coffee – sweet and wild at the same time.
Do you have a Mantra you live by?
Loaded with positive energy. Surround myself with positive and smart people.
Be honest to myself and to others, no matter what.
How do you take your coffee?
In the morning at home, I brew using a French press as I like structure and richness.
At the roastery, I take a cappuccino or two.