When a friend took me to Bonanza Coffee on Berlin's buzzing Oderberger Strasse back in 2006, I felt disturbed and suspicious about the whole thing. This had nothing to do with my beloved old-fashioned Italian-style espresso places where I'd usually have a cup of the dark, bitter drink. It took me years to understand this new kind of coffee, to taste, to smell, and appreciate the whole complex flavor and aroma profile; to accept that an old tradition was taken in the hands of a bunch of young people to experiment and to create something different with the good old coffee bean that's been a part of our culinary heritage since at least the 15th century.
Young Kiduk Reus, one of the founders of Bonanza, was one of those kids - curious, brave, and fearless, and ready for a new chapter in his life. After studying design at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam and at the Rietveld Academy of Arts in Amsterdam, after successfully working in the advertising industry, he felt that Berlin was calling his name in 2004. He packed his bags, the vague idea of starting a speciality coffee shop at the back of his mind. That was the beginning of a time that would later become known as the worldwide Third Wave Coffee Movement.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, adopted at the age of 4 by an American mother and a Dutch father, Kiduk grew up in the Netherlands in a town famous for cheese, in Gouda. Food played an important role. He remembers being a picky child knowing exactly what he wanted to eat and what he didn't. His palate was already refined, a skill that would come in handy later in his life. In the following years, Kiduk learned what would become a mantra in his life: I need this, it needs to be better, I improve it. And then, miraculously (or not), other people pick up on it.
Understanding that he has to be the motor to bring movement to his ideas, he always had the soul of an entrepreneur. Not waiting for others to come up with something great or to improve something existing, he jumped in first to create what he needed to move on and fulfill his mission. So when he started the first Bonanza coffee shop together with his partner he knew he wanted to roast his own beans as soon as possible to simply reach and keep the quality that he had in mind.
Coincidentally, Kiduk noticed that some old cast-iron equipment - stored in an old airplane hangar by a friend of his and that he had access to - was the best possible equipment for roasting coffee beans. So he jumped on the occasion and spontaneously started a business that would in the end finance Bonanza for a long time. He bought the old parts and machines, added new parts to make them work even better, and became the Berlin man to supply roasting machines to all the big names in the speciality coffee roasting business worldwide. Blue Bottle, Seven Seeds, and about another 250 coffee roasters went to Kiduk Reus' workshop and got their vintage equipment, customized by Kiduk himself and his growing team of mechanics.
Kiduk says he listens to his mind more than to his feeling. His intuition is definitely absolutely reliable. Many of his decisions seem random at first but then turn into something great.
For this podcast episode, Kiduk teaches me how to make the perfect hand-brewed coffee. You can find all the blog posts about the podcast episodes including my guests' recipes on meikepeters.com under 'Meet in Your Kitchen'.