Our Launch and the Nordic Coffee Festival.

Our Launch and the Nordic Coffee Festival.

The definition of a blog could be that it’s usually a month to late. I had the good intention to do this write up straight after the festival, however a delayed accumulated exhaustion fell over me once we got home. For the weeks, months prior I had been working tirelessly towards the launch. A combination of 12 to 16 hour days for production during the week  as well as administration and endless planning of the festival and development of the brand. The first two months of 2024 were dedicated to this project, every day, every hour, every second was put into this final stretch of launch Paso Paso. For days and nights I was plotting, typing away, calculating, discussing, roasting, cupping, packing. The hundreds of details taunted me at night and could keep me up for hours. Nevertheless, even in just a few hours of sleep I would not be tired, the excitement as well as self-imposed pressure ensured that I was pumping with energy each day. It was after the festival, that this effort showed me how much energy it had taken. For days I slept, ate and took a lighter pace at work to recover. I am well aware that this is a marathon and not a sprint, so, a fair reason to come in a couple weeks late with the blog.

Tired but happy with a box of Paso Paso coffee

Prior to travelling to Gothenburg I made a short stop in Breda for our soft-launch at Kamu. Back in 2016 I was desperate to get a job as a barista and wrote to every single coffeeshop to get behind the espresso machine. I actually copy-pasted the same message to all shops, and forgot to change the name. Ralf, who just started Kamu could see the humour in that and hired me against all odds. At Kamu is where my specialty coffee career started and there could not be a better place to start Paso Paso, talking about full circle. 


Presentation at Kamu

The festival as well as the launch were of course, more than worth the effort. Three years after having the idea for Paso Paso this project finally came to life. In many different forms, both digital as physical a vision finally became tangible, for me, my partners and the world. Personally, it was essential to launch at a coffee festival and the Nordic Coffee Festival in Sweden was a perfect fit. It’s an innovative take on the coffee festival, focused on consumers and sustainability, just like us. All the while, it’s in the Nordics that may be the toughest market out there. And standing side-by-side with the best roasters of the world definitely put our product and concept to the test. As part of the festival I did a presentation of Paso Paso which was the cherry on top of the cake to formalise the launch. With all this, our company didn’t just become another website and IG account among many others. With this, we feel like we really made an appearance in the coffee industry. We put ourselves out there and confidently put our vision and products out there.


The festival itself was a wonderful grind. I couldn’t be more grateful for the support of my wife Vale, to lay down the scalpel for a couple of days and transform from surgeon to barista for the weekend. She actually studied days ahead of the festival to learn all about the coffees, process and varieties. The producers and company vision were already well-known to her of course. Despite endless logistical planning many things still go wrong. As this was my first time exhibiting at a consumer coffee festival I had no idea how much coffee to bring, under the banner of better too much as too little we brought 200 bags, much of it in our suitcases which were incredibly overweight. Vale ran around the airport to buy shopping bags to bring some of the bags aboard and fill the cabin with the lovely Paso Paso aroma. The flight itself was actually a nightmare as we were landing in the middle of a huge storm, we had to do a stop & go and I feared we’d have to turn back or land in Stockholm.


Re-packing our bags last minute

Fortunately we got all the coffee onboard, survived the flight and made our way to the festival venue. The team at Nordic Coffee Festival did an amazing job and my former colleague Filip was even kind enough to let us stay at his community apartment. As part of the sustainability initiative we weren’t allowed to attached anything to the booth walls or write on them, as they’d be repurposed for a next edition. We found some clever ways to hang shelves from the top, we probably were the only exhibitor there who attached shelves with surgical knots to back of the walls. Together with Vale we decorated the booth, improvising there and then how it’d look. This took of course much longer than expected and after the travels and decoration we were pretty beat and the festival hadn’t even started yet. Vale went to our temporary home and I continued to the drink, as a coffee professional I can’t miss the drinks to mix and mingle. Here I met Brodie Vissers who pursued a path I once considered as digital creator for coffee companies. It’s funny how small decisions from the past have played out, but I saw myself in him if I had done things differently in the past.


Setting up the booth

The next day the festival kicked off, it took us a while to find our flow. We were brewing all of our six coffees in six different Vandolas. The Vandola is a hand-crafted clay pot inspired by pre-Columbian art made in Costa Rica. Not only do they represent the Paso Paso brand, it also is a great eye-catcher and conversation starter at the festival. The visitors of the festival were very engaging and loved the brand, story and of course the coffee as well. It was hugely motivating and empowering to get so much great feedback. Beyond the visitors the other coffee roasters, many of them my former clients also came by to try the coffee and support the project and their validation meant the world to me. We were able to sell quite a good number of bags right there at the festival, guiding the consumers through our different coffees and finding the coffee that’s the right for for them. Nevertheless, we didn’t come close to the two hundred bags we brought. The second day found our flow from the first minute and served even more people as the day before. As many visitors came both days we were very happy to see folks come back to purchase a coffee they had tried the day before. And some even called our coffee ‘the best of the festival’, an enormous motivator and empowerment for a company that literally had just launched. It almost hurt us to break down the booth, I wanted to keep it up forever. We carefully packed everything back into our suitcases and embarked on a long journey back home. All the gimmicks will make a reapparence at the roastery so the feeling will live on.


Shoot out to our packing help Anghy & Fran 

The launch was a huge success in my opinion, finally seeing all our work materialised was long over due. It is nice to work on an idea, you can also call it save even. But it is so much nicer to work on something tangible. Now, however, it is no longer save. Now it is time to put in the work and share our story with the world. After some relative rest the last 2-3 weeks it is now time to roll up our sleeves and make sure our coffee hits the shelves around Europe.


Stay tuned for the next blog!

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