A crossroads for connection and viral positivity: The Coffee Virus

More and more people are discovering Startup Village – a unique spot in Amsterdam Science Park. At the (literal) centre of its converted shipping-container offices, park residents are getting together in a unique meeting place: The Coffee Virus. This is more than just a coffee and lunch spot; with a whole concept behind it, it’s a conveyor belt for new ideas. Time to grab a coffee with The Coffee Virus owners, brothers Floris and Ollivier.

What’s the idea behind The Coffee Virus?

Ollivier: "Getting to know people and then connecting them with each other. Personal contact is indispensable. We do this in a variety of ways and the most important thing is that you are sincere and interested in the person sitting opposite you. For example, we’re currently developing a toolbox for our staff. In the box, among other things, there are questions and methods that can be used to connect people. If you ask the right questions, you get the right information, you can find the right people and make the right connections. The Coffee Virus wants to be a crossroads for connection and spreading viral positivity."

"The Coffee Virus offers a meeting place, so you soon find the right people"  

In what other ways are you doing the connecting?

Ollivier: "We host various events, such as the nerd lunch and the Venture Café. But we also notice that we can play a bigger connecting role in the park, for example, for interns and startups – the University of Amsterdam students who are looking for an internship with the startups here in the village. They can do a lot for each other. And we’re the ideal place for people who just want to start up on their own, too. If you only work at home, you don’t encounter people and you don’t talk to anyone. The Coffee Virus offers a meeting place, so they soon find the right people."

"Espresso beans are a good combination with meat"

Does The Coffee Virus fit well into the environment of Amsterdam Science Park?

Floris: "Certainly – The Coffee Virus is very science-based. If you run a café, it’s important to have the best coffee. But is that the same thing for everyone? I had the best of the best coffee, the best tools, really everything was of the highest quality. Yet still someone came up to me and said, ‘I don’t like this coffee’. I thought a lot about it and concluded that coffee is a personal thing. So how do you provide the best for everyone when tastes differ? I started researching, with a focus on flavours. We found out that coffee has three important taste profiles: sweet, sour and bitter. If someone orders a coffee here, we always ask: sweet, sour or bitter? This will be personalized for every individual."

But the research doesn't stop here for The Coffee Virus. They are doing much more research into food and drink and how to influence flavours. In the latest series of investigations, they examined coffee use in the kitchen. In their previous menu, it was incorporated into almost every dish, such as coffee butter or pork belly marinated in coffee.

"We are surrounded by startups, and the highly motivated and ambitious people who work in them, and there's a very good atmosphere here"

Floris: "We’ve made some interesting findings in these studies, for example that espresso beans are a good combination with meat, and filter coffee with vegetables. And we have lots of ideas for follow-up research on the influences of flavours. For example, we are going to start researching tea and water. It is so interesting to completely disassemble products. What matters, however, is that we serve the general market, as not everyone loves crazy stuff."

Ollivier: "Our location at Amsterdam Science Park feels very good. We are surrounded by startups, and the highly motivated and ambitious people who work in them, and there’s a very good atmosphere here."

What are your plans for the future?

Ollivier: "We very much want to grow The Coffee Virus, especially in multiple business buildings – we want to become their social heart. And that growth also has to do with our love of research: with two sites, we can’t earn enough funds to carry out our many investigations and taste influencing. What’s more, we’re also looking for future-proof solutions. In fact, we’re never done: people and environments are constantly changing, so we need to do the same."

Finally, be sure to come and have a nice (personalized) cup of coffee and bite to eat at a very reasonable price at The Coffee Virus.