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Interview Laura van der Have: Bitter and Real, but first coffee!

How often do we get caught up in this stupid doubt, to not step into this new experience? We often live around our dreams, but not really in our dreams! Something, that Laura van der Haven has changed. Where she has approached her goals, worked extremely hard and most important – She believed in herself and her idea! A passion combined with her work, simply «Bitter and Real», true love for coffee and the people behind it! An interview that presents a young dynamic woman, which shows that pretty much everything is possible with a good amount of intention!

Hi Laura, could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about where you from and what you do?

Hi Tanja! So yes, my name is Laura, 27 years old, from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. I grew up on an estate near Rotterdam as the daughter of a gardener/gastro entrepreneur. I started snowboarding when I was 8, on family holidays in Davos. I loved it instantly. After high-school, I went to Davos to work as a snowboard teacher for a season but of course, 1 season wasn’t enough! I met Minos, who was working in LAAX, and moved there too.

I am the co-owner of Bitter & Real coffee roasters. It is a craft coffee roastery & high-end coffee catering company. We bring kick-ass coffee and home made treats to festivals, conferences etc. in a sustainable way.

I know you from LAAX as you are a passionate Snowboarder, what pops up in your mind when you think about snowboarding and LAAX?

PROGRESSION in PARADISE! Everything is built around the idea of constantly moving forward. I love that. In the snow park of course but also the way LAAX handles energy resources, the audience they attract… Also I really love that in LAAX there are so many awesome girls pushing the limits of snowboarding. It’s so inspiring!

You are now more or less on holiday mood in LAAX, what has changed in the last few years and how did everything start with Bitter and Real?

Starting a company requires a lot of time and energy. I’m snowboarding way less than I liked to, but I also really love being in LAAX as a tourist… Just riding for fun, hanging out with old friends and being totally free.

The first idea for staring an Electrically powered coffee van came while Minos and I were spending a winter season living in an old van in New Zealand. We brewed coffee (camping style) in exchange for a warm shower or a ride up the mountain. Gypsy style, but super fun!

The season in LAAX after that was our last. End of season we got tired of partying too much, I fucked up my knee and we wanted to start something that lasted a little longer, where we could decide everything and build our own dreams… So we just bought this old trashed Citroën van and started planning!

How would you explain the name Bitter and Real and who else is involved?

You better be Bitter & Real than Sweet and Fake! An old Rock & Roll saying, anyway that’s what I’ve been told. It really matches our way of thinking. It also refers to coffee as it is a (pleasantly) bitter product.

Minos is the co-owner of Bitter & Real. He is the technical brains and head coffee roaster. I take care of the design, content, create recipe’s etc. In summer we have a team of up to 20 people that work for us.

It`s all about coffee, I guess some gusto related people call it a real passion to find that perfect taste that is way bigger than only pushing a bottom. How would you describe your passion for coffee?

I think it is more about finding your own style in coffee. That is exactly why we started the coffee roastery. We’re more in control of what coffees we buy and we create roasting profiles that fit our style. At the same time on festivals the challenge is to serve high quality coffee at an extremely high pace. We can serve 250 coffees per hour per coffee bar!

Following Bitter and Real on Instagram, presents a very special mood on every kind of event you are at. I guess even a non-coffee drinker wants to try a coffee with your presentation. Who created that concept and where do you get inspired of for all of those ideas?

The fusion of the ideas from a coffee loving gastro kid and a nerdy Swiss mechanical engineer led to this concept. Minos’s mission was to convert a 1971 Citroën van to Electric a make it function Off Grid while powering badass coffee gear. (Off-Grid: With the battery pack the coffee truck can function an entire day with no external power supply.)

For me, the mission was to take third wave coffee bar quality and atmosphere to places where you least expect it. Inspiration comes from everywhere! Coffee bars in Portland and Berlin, Elon Musk, our own vegetable garden…

What’s your favorite coffee to drink?

I can’t decide so it’s a shared first place!

  • Flat white made from a washed Ethiopian coffee with fresh organic full fat milk.
  • Kenyan filter coffee brewed with Aeropress. (a super simple coffee maker designed by mister Aerobie Frisbee©)

What will the journey look like for this upcoming summer? Any plans made jet?

From the first weekend of may until the end of November we move the Coffee Truck and the Wheelbarrow bar from one place to another. The first big festival is Here Comes The Summer on the island of Vlieland. A super nice festival where sustainability is very important. All in the Dutch dunes. You can find a list of upcoming events HERE, sadly until now we only work in the Netherlands…

Cover Photo – by Sophia van den Hoek
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