My Story : a life in coffee
My partner says that like the proverbial Obelix, I fell into the coffee vat at an early age, and have lived and breathed the drink ever since. Be that as it may, my life’s work has been coffee and when I launched Sweet Bean Coffee in August 2019, it was to fulfil my dream of creating the bean I love, right here in the Lake Geneva region.
I began my journey in the coffee-growing highlands of Papua New Guinea, where I lived on and supervised a 98‐acre coffee estate and managed a roasting and exporting company. From there I moved to Singapore, to be roaster and buyer for a specialty coffee chain: very happy years when the specialty industry was just taking off in Asia. Next followed an exceptional posting as the coffee buyer for the original specialty coffee company, Peet’s Coffee of California whose founder, Mr. Alfred Peet, is credited with starting the specialty coffee revolution. I was arguably the last to learn from the man himself, but more than that, at Peet’s I had the privilege of working with and for people whose very fibre and essence is about quality coffee. I am grateful for the many industry luminaries who have shaped my career path, but the years at Peet’s rank amongst the most special. In this post I travelled the world over, searching for specialty coffees and writing the stories of those who produced them. It was a magic time, surrounded by the best of the best.
Nevertheless, my wanderer’s spirit eventually led me away – I am, after all, the granddaughter of a Kurd - to follow the lure of the mountains, and move into the shadow of the Swiss Alps. I spent the next five-and-a-half years as the guardian of coffee expertise at Nestle-Nespresso, a company with an extraordinary sustainability program that despite its size, is truly best-in-class for its work with farmers. It was an honour to have been a part of their efforts to dignify the lives of coffee farmers.
From planting to roasting to exporting to sourcing to writing...I’ve never really done anything but coffee. And I think it's an eminently worthy occupation.
I truly believe that life is too short to drink anything other than the best, and no coffee should be “too good” to blend. Whether single origin or blend, I feel only the finest ingredients I can find should be used. This devotion to quality is the cornerstone of Sweet Bean Coffee. There can be a lot of mediocrity around us and we’re all faced with moments of compromise. Let your daily coffee, at least, be a singular moment of satisfaction, hand roasted to bring out pure deliciousness.
Today, my aim and daily joy is to roast the best coffee I can find, to bring you the stories of why it’s so good, and to share it with other lovers of delicious coffee. My style of roasting was significantly shaped by the masters I worked with at Peet’s: I aim to roast coffees fully, bringing into balance their inherent acidity, whilst developing rich body. I am unapologetic about roasting in the way that I find is the tastiest myself. I trust that if I love drinking it - hefty body and rich aromatics – that others will too.