But first, coffee: How many cups of coffee do you drink every day?
I don’t drink so much coffee as people would expect. I guess it’s around 3-4 cups. But what’s for sure, I try/taste a lot, as well. It’s to control recipes and ratios, just like a cook.
Tell us something about yourself and your café in Ixelles?
Since I was a student, I’ve been working in the hospitality industry as a waitress. I always wanted to open my own place (but not especially a café). In 2013, I found a job at Café de la Presse here in Brussels. When I arrived there, they changed their coffee supplier and I met the guy who roasted the coffee. It was this moment that kicked-off my ‘coffee life’. I worked there during three years and learnt everything about work as a barista. In 2016, someone proposed a place/shop to me. I visited it, and Fika’s story began.
If you had to choose: flat white, cappuccino or latte?
Cappuccino. For me it is the drink containing milk that has a good balance: you taste the body of the coffee and enjoy it with the sweetness from the foam and warm milk.
Why did you call you cafe ‘Fika’ and why did you open it in Brussels (if there’s a reason)?
Brussels: it’s just the life that decided.
Fika is a combination of a culture that I like (Scandinavian) and my passion for coffee. I wanted to open a place about coffee culture and the coffee break, not especially a copy of a Swedish café.
Also, one of the most difficult things when you start a business is to find the name: it should be short, easy to remember and easy to read/pronounce. ‘Fika’ came naturally with my concept.
What is “Fika” for you? What makes a perfect Fika?
“Fika” for me is ‘to take a time for a break’, ‘take 5 min or more if you can, to relax with a drink and/or a snack’.
What’s special about your coffee? Where does it come from?
We only serve specialty coffees. This means the coffee have a score that reflects in quality. I work with 2 roasters (as my main suppliers): Café Capitale (a local roaster based in Brussels) and April, from Copenhagen. We change coffee origins on a regular basis, depending on what the roasters’ selection is and how the harvests look (coffee also has seasons, and change depending on the country it’s from).
Do you feel the coffee scene in Brussels and in Europe is developing fast? What do you think will be the next big trend?
Coffee is already a big trend, but when it comes to Europe, it’s developing faster in countries like the UK, The Netherlands or Sweden than in Belgium.
Do you bake the pastries yourself?
Some, but not everything myself. From the beginning, I work with Fanny, our part-time baker. But yes, the concept of ‘Fika’ is to bake everything ourselves!
What do you prefer? Semlor or cinnamon bun?
(She laughs) – hard question! I like both, but Semlor is only eating during a certain period and it’s a bit heavier than a cinnamon bun. I can’t eat a Semla every day, a cinnamon bun I can!
What’s hardest & most fun about having a small business/cafe?
The concept to do/manage everything yourself is hard but it’s so rewarding!
A small shop attracts loyal customers. The café been there for 2 years already and the interaction with my customers has become a friendly relationship. You feel like home at ‘Fika’.
What do you like most about Brussels?
It depends on the area you are in. What I like about Brussels is that the atmosphere is nice: the human size of the city with capital city advantages and all the different nationalities…
What’s the cosiest place in Brussels for you?
Is it arrogant if I respond Fika? (Joana laughs) Every day I try to make the shop as cozy as possible, it’s my job!