Yes, April Coffee Roasters is here! We have long been excited to get an insight into this Copenhagen - based roastery and of course to try their coffee. Now is your chance - get to know Patrik Rolf, the founder of April.
How did you get into coffee and how did the journey to the creation of April go?
I was introduced to coffee by Matts W. Johanson who founded da Matteo in Gothenburg - Matts participated with da Matteo in a commissioned competition that I helped organize. After that competition, we continued to work together on a consulting basis. If it had not been for Matts, I probably would never have started with coffee. After two years at da Matteo where I mainly learned from their then Head Roaster, Christian - who now runs the coffee roastery Morgon. Was it time to go out into the world and get a new perspective on coffee and above all get better.
I ended up in Berlin and started working with the Five Elephant gang in Berlin. In connection with that, I continued to compete in various coffee competitions - which has always been a big part of my development in coffee. After three years in Berlin, and experience from two very different teams - da Matteo & Five Elephant - I had a clear picture of what I wanted the next step to be. First I consulted the coffee world to see if there was anything suitable. But I already knew then that it was time for me to do something myself. So I first decided in which city I wanted to start - it was close to being Melbourne, before I decided on Copenhagen - and since then it has been April.
What was the most gratifying versus challenging part of starting up April and taking it to what it is today?
The most gratifying thing has been not having to compromise on my values. The idea has always been - and continues to be - that if I can not pursue April in a way that represents my values, I would rather put it down. I personally do not need April, nor does the coffee world. April is there to show my perspective on coffee, and over the years, the perspectives that have come with our new team members. For so long, I have not encountered a challenge that, when you take a closer look, has been nothing more than an opportunity to get better, so the more challenges the better.
What is the most important thing you learned from your time at Da Matteo and Five Elephant?
Two very different perspectives, both with their strengths and weaknesses. The most important thing at da Matteo was Matts & Christian and everything they taught me. The most important from Five Elephant were the many challenges I faced, that I started competing internationally and Max & Hannes - who then worked for Coffee Circle - who both have played a central role in helping me find my direction - they both still do today.
How did you come to place April in Copenhagen? Never want to move back to Sweden? :)
Starting April was about not compromising, making the coffee I wanted to make and Sweden was not and still is not ready for it. I would have liked to have stayed in Sweden, but April and the company it is becoming could not have made the same trip in Sweden as in Copenhagen. Copenhagen has a quality level in many different areas that inspires to get better and develop. Unfortunately, it does not exist in Gothenburg, which I come from, in the same way.
We have the feeling that April is very much about learning and constantly continuing to develop, what are your tips for those who want to take coffee to the next level?
You can always get better. For those who want to get better at coffee, you should compete, it does not matter if you are a happy home brewer or professional, everyone should compete. Not just because the competition itself makes you better, but for the time you spend training and the people you will meet during the trip.
You have competed in coffee at a high level, can you tell us a little more about it and how you prepared for these competitions?
That's right, competing has been my way of learning more about the coffee world and it's something I hope to continue. The preparation, in addition to an active training schedule (every week for national competitions and every day for international competitions) is more about keeping a high level of what you do daily. In addition, I make sure to ask for help as much as I can. There are many around the world who have experience and knowledge and the "best" always share.
What is your vision and what direction do you want to take with April?
April will continue in the same direction as we have had since day one. It is about setting the bar for the modern roastery and continuing to get better. I want to be able to look back at what I and April are doing today in a year or two and feel that we have gotten better.
What do you want to say to those who drink your coffee?
Thanks. It is always fun when others choose to drink our coffee and it is always very much appreciated. Furthermore, they are welcome to contact us if they have questions or are curious about anything.