Ine Vanheyste, founder and CEO of Belgian Blenders is on a mission to introduce Belgian coffee and its roasters to the world and bring them to the fore.
Italy may be world famous for its coffee and its coffee culture but few people know that the Antwerp harbour in Belgium is store to the world’ largest coffee warehouses in the world with the capacity to store 350,000 tonnes of coffee beans in over a million square metres of space.
Out of this international trade from Antwerp, over many years, small Belgian coffee roasters have emerged using an artisanal method and low temperatures to roast the coffee beans and make high quality coffee known by coffee lovers.
Building on the knowledge of her father who has been working in the sugar business and who knew many of Belgium’s top coffee roasters, Belgian Blenders have selected coffee from 7 Belgian coffee roasters to offer a range of 14 different coffees.
The seven artisanal coffee roasters of Belgian Blenders each ensure an extremely careful selection of the best coffee beans. Every specific blend is roasted according to tradition to obtain a unique taste that has been mastered by the coffee roasters.
The range is mainly composed of Arabica coffee with a few of the selections including a small percentage of the Robusta been. Belgian Blenders is also offering 3 single origin coffees from Colombia, Nicaragua and Guatemala.
“Belgium may be known for its chocolate, beer or french fries but it is not known for its coffee. We would like to change that,” Ine told Food and Wine Gazette.
“I like to compare coffee with wine. Many like to drink a glass of wine with a lunch or dinner, at a reception or special occasion. In any of these moments, one can enjoy a different type of wine but it is not possible to do the same with coffee even though it is very rich and different. Today, consumers are more demanding and looking for the best flavour, authenticity and an artisanal approach and it is for this reason that we created Belgian Blenders,” she said.
The company launched in October of last year and has slowly started to establish itself. “Our second client was the VIP protocol lounge at the Brussels airport and the overall reaction has been very positive.”
Coffee comes from firms such as De Draak, the Gent based Belgian coffee roasters from Flanders that have been established since 1864 to Cafés St. Médard from Dinant, Wallonia which has been established since 1983.
The company is exporting its first batch of coffee to Malaysia in the coming days and is set to reach an agreement with a famous UK store to stock its coffee there.
The coffee is available not only in coffee shops, restaurants and select hotels but it can also be purchased directly from the company’s webshop.
Having studied marketing and communications, Ine has experience working for several years with Pepsico, Chiquita, Johma, Vandemoortele, Alpro and Diageo. This experience has given her knowledge of sales and distribution in the business as well as how to develop a brand.
She inherited the love for coffee from her father. Together they dreamed of creating a company focusing on quality and Belgian Blenders combines her passion for coffee with her work ethic.
Belgian Blenders is one of the official partners of Dinner in the Sky currently taking place at the Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels from 8 to 18 June.
The seven master coffee roasters of Belgian Blenders are:
De Draak: Elisabeth Scheerlinck – owner; Philippe Franssen – owner & roaster, Gent, Flanders. Company established in 1864.
Maeskes Roem: Karl Callebaut – Owner & Roaster; Moorsel, Flanders 2nd generation – company established in 1925 by his father.
Cafes Grand Duc: Luc Demblon – Owner & roaster; Bressoux, Wallonia; 3th generation – company established by his grandfather 60 years ago.
Style Coffee: Lorien Heyvaert – roaster, still working with her father; Londerzeel, Flanders; 3th generation,– company established in 1978 by her grandfather.
Carantos: Kristof Duthoo – owner & roaster; Blankenberge, Flanders; 3th generation – company established in 1948
Cafés St. Médard: Michaël Maquet – owner & roaster; Dinant, Wallonia; 2nd generation, still working with his father – company established in 1983
Viva Sara: Peter Deprez – owner & roaster; Vichte, Flanders; 2nd generation,– company established in 1987