How did you come up with the business name?
The story started long ago. The idea came from Gábor, who was renovating coffee machines while dealing with roasted coffees. Once he met with the specialty culture, and after a good cup of coffee this OMG experience impressed him so much, that we just knew it is the perfect name. It covers everything we would like to express.
The experience was followed by a mini-roaster, soon a bigger one, and now we have a 5kg roaster for Gábor, and fantastic green coffees that we can choose from.
How long have you been in business and how did the idea start?
I think we can agree that coffee can be addictive, not just the drink but also the profession.
Me, I’m pretty young in the coffee world. I started as a barista, and though I loved the flow of the rushes, the grinder dial-in, I wished to get a better insight into coffee. At that time Gabor was starting his roastery and needed help. As we knew each other, he asked me to work with him and do the green coffee stuff for the roastery. I gladly said yes! I feel very lucky not only to be a part of a quality oriented coffee business, but to get the chance to control the system. Since then we have made a lot of quality improvements, such as sensory and green coffee training, which have all led to better understanding of coffee-science.
What is your role within the company?
As it is a small company of 5 people, I wouldn’t say I have a title. Everyone has responsibilities, and one special task. Gabor is the owner and he is responsible for the roasting, my responsibility is to manage the green coffee and the quality control, and also, partner contacting belongs to me. We also have Frigyes, who is the best if it’s up to sales, and Richard and Zoltán doing the service for coffee machines. Together all of us are here to improve and get better from month to month, and so far I think, we have done really well!
For me, when choosing a job, the team was always the main point. Working in a good team that helps and wants to improve is the best that can happen.
All in all, although we have had to slow down a bit, we keep hopeful.
How has your business been affected by COVID-19?
COVID-19 just arrived here out of a sudden, on one day we though it wouldn’t be as serious as it became the next day. As our roastery mostly serves cafés, restaurants and hotels, we had to face a large setback, just like other businesses that are in connection with hospitality and tourism. With the growing prohibition of social access, our partners had to close their places, causing the unemployment to rise.
Now, as we see, good coffee is not a thing that people can miss from their everyday lives. So we are guessing that the basic need for coffee won’t vanish, it will be transformed into the online version. In this case we now have to catch up with all the roasteries who already had web shop. Even cafes are now selling their goods online for home delivery.
How has your country been affected?
In Hungary we just got the curfew last Saturday (28.03), but I guess people are doing fine. In the beginning, of course everyone was panic shopping here as well, no toilet paper, no flour or sugar, some supermarkets still lack of the basic goods. Although, businesses are closing up from day to day. People got calmer lately, they are also afraid of getting the disease, so they take care of themselves and of others.
The city centre is also like everywhere else: almost totally empty.
I have to take a bus to get to my workplace, and I would lie if I said that I do not enjoy my private buses as everyone is at home.
At the beginning I was afraid that everyone will be locked in their homes, as all of my hobbies are done outside, but luckily riding out of the city is not prohibited. So I can do my horse training as before, but I only leave my house when I must, eg. for work, to take the dog for a walk or for shopping the necessary things. With family and friends we have started to do online gatherings, which can be great fun, after everyone finds the right button. Our grandparent are staying in their house, my father and his brother takes care of them, helps with the shopping, so they can be safe.
What do you (usually) enjoy about living in your town?
It’s the fizzle. Budapest never sleeps, and never lets you sleep. Some years ago I couldn’t imagine myself in a big city, challenging the daily rush, the long distances. But all in all I am really happy to live here. Despite being a big city, we have so many opportunities to get handcrafted things, find quality small businesses, buy zero waste.
But if I had to choose just two things, I would say that craft beer and specialty coffee. That’s what Budapest is the best at.
Where’s your favourite place nearby to visit?
Along the Danube you find countless beautiful places. One of my favourite are the Remete Caves, in the Börzsöny hills, just right in the Danube Bend. The caves up there are carved into the cliff, in three levels. So, if you are up for dome rock climbing and you can make it to the top, but the view is really breath taking from the bottom as well.
Danube flows all around, on the opposite side you have the Pilis hills, with the castle of Visegrád and some little village sports. The route that leads up there is pretty adventurous and rustic. Nagymaros and Kismaros are nearby and both have amazing and quiet riverbank, so if you just feel overwhelmed by the rush of the city, take a short ferry trip, and hike up.
Is there a hidden gem you’d like to share?
My little hidden gem is the other part of the Danube bank. Not a far travel from Budapest, Göd has an amazing Danube side. In late autumn the river stays low and you can walk along gravel. It is also a place to slow down, and get a bit out of the city.
Which is your favourite coffee / origin and why?
It depends on the particular coffee. I would say that my favourites are the natural Ethiopians, but there are always coffees that prove me wrong. Last time, we had a Costa Rican natural lot called Tirra. Even the green smelled like rum punch. It was so complex, sweet and yet so clean, that I would say, I do not have any favourite origin – I have that favourite lot.
What’s your favourite brewing method?
V60, the smaller cone. Works all the time.
How do you take your coffee?
Preferably in a break. Drinking coffee isn’t a process that can be interrupted. It has an important role, like restarting thoughts, or just relaxing.
How did you come to work in coffee?
Accidentally. During university, I thought that I knew a lot about coffee, so I searched for training that would give me certification and the routine. However, as it was expected, it turned out that I know nothing about coffee, but I was sure that I wouldn’t stop there. I was studying tourism and coffee business is not so far from that. Before, I always imagined myself as a tour guide, but after moving to Budapest, I realised that I feel much more interested in developing my coffee knowledge, than gathering dates and anecdotes of buildings.
What’s life outside roasting like for you?
I’m either in the stable, trying to learn how to jump precisely with a horse, but long trail riding is my favourite activity. The stable is pretty close to the Liszt Ferenc Airport and also close to the city, so we have limited options to the trail routes, but we have enough place to go wilder canters just to raise our blood pressure a bit. Also, with friends sometimes we manage to organize hiking. But as all of us are working as baristas, it is always challenging to match all the shifts.
When home, we mostly take long walks with our dog, or we go hiking somewhere close by.
Also, I still work as a barista, part-time, so some part of my free time is filled with coffee and customers.
What would you be doing if you weren’t roasting? Maybe you already have a side project?
I guess I would work with horses, and do coffee as a hobby. Not much diversity!
Where was the last place you travelled to?
It was a small town in the near of Budapest, called Esztergom. Despite of it’s small size, it is one of the greatest Hungarian cultural heritages with the oldtown and the Basilica, and also has plenty of hiking options.
What was the last book you read?
The title was ‘Bonebrigade’ translated literally, written by my favourite Hungarian writer, Rejtő Jenő. Most of his novels are based on the humour of misunderstandings, also the literal use of the Hungarian language. His novels were once translated to German, but made no sense. It was like watching the Brooklyn Nine Nine in Hungarian: funny though, but it kicks better in the original language.
What’s your biggest passion or love?
It’s to get to know interesting people and memorable stories.
How and what do you do to unwind? Maybe you have a tip for our readers? Do you have a mantra you live by?
It’s again to stories. I guess the best partner for unwinding are books where you can get away from the actual situation to live in another century, meet with other stories, and so on.
Also, just get together, chatting, sharing our stories is a good way.
As for a mantra, I love to use Markus Aurelius: ‘Everything we hear is an opinion not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.’ So be sceptic and accepting.
And take care of yourselves in these hard times.
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