Boréal Coffee Roasters, Geneva

It was time for us in the German part of Switzerland to hear something from the French right? And by something I mean some coffee related news. Let me tell you a bit about Boréal, the roastery I had the pleasure to visit while in Geneva.

Boréal Coffee Roasters actually started off five years ago with a coffee shop – the one in the bank district (at Rue du Stand 60) – and later on they opened up the small one (at Rue du Mt-Blanc 15) and decided also to roast. In the beginning quality wasn’t something they strove for, but it soon became and there was no going back. They are Fabien Decroux, head roaster and Julian Caron-Lys, shops’ manager.

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During my visit at the roastery I had the pleasure to talk with Fabien and one of Boréal’s more involved into roasting baristi – Etienne Rat-Patron, we cupped some coffee and discussed the meaning of life..no, I’m kidding, we just drank more coffee. But they told me interesting things about Boréal’s history, maybe nobody would be surprised when I tell you that Fabien brought his passion for coffee from Australia. And also that they don’t try to be elitist and understand their customers.

I got on to something interesting when we started talking about coffee sourcing. Boréal is part of something like an alliance between rosters all over Europe (Haenowitz&Page Coffee Roasters in Basel are also part of the alliance) who work together to buy high quality coffees from different cooperations and then share between themselves. Here we talk about huge amounts of green beans, which are impossible to acquire in smaller quantities. The name of the alliance is Roasters United, and even though an organization like this have existed for quite some time, now it is official – there’s a name and soon there will be a logo of the alliance. It’s important to point out that this is not a company and everybody can join.

Of course during my stay in Geneva I’ve got to visit also the both of their shops. It came to my mind that in fact Boréal is one of the most successful roasteries in Switzerland, they also have these two cafés, which are busy all the time, and it’s a shame that there’s almost no communication between the French and German part of the country. They also try introducing filter coffee in the smaller shop near the Cornavin station. Except their single origin coffees (one Sumatran and one Ethiopian at the moment) they also have a different guest coffee each month – there were beans roasted by taf when I was there. You can enjoy a V60, aeropress for 4.90CHF and a syphon for a bit more. Filter coffee doesn’t bring a lot of profit at the moment, but it sure is changing. It takes time but people are starting to recognize it as a quality product and most importantly spread the word for it.

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