Who is Cosmin Mihailov?
A kid that grew up in a small city in Romania, in a low income family, that taught him that hardship is just part of the fun of making your dreams come true. When he was 10 when he discovered the word “niche” and felt that one day he will be part of a niche industry.
In 2008, at the age of 20, he moved to the UK where he discovered specialty coffee and dedicated his time towards learning and meeting amazing people that make this industry so enticing. After 5 years in the UK, several cities and many shops later he decides to move back to Bucharest, Romania, to help kickstart the specialty coffee industry back in his home country. Often feeling like a stranger in his own country, it will take 3 years for him to make his dreams come true. Now he owns and works in one of the most progressive shop in Europe and gets to travel the world, talk about coffee and compete.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
As a kid, my family was not very well off, and I remember during St. Noel (6th of December), my mom and dad came to me and my sister and said that we won’t be getting any gift due to the fact that we were not doing so well financially. We weren’t upset and we accepted that they tried their best to offer us a good life. As we were sitting in the house, we went to check our boots (that was were St. Noel leaves his gifts) since we heard a noise in the hallway. We had an orange each, and a chocolate.
That is the most vivid memory I have, the bright orange, the smile on my sister’s face, and my parents look. A look that tried to hide their sadness of not being able to give us more. Well what they didn’t notice is how happy we were, not because of the orange, or the chocolate, but mainly because we had the best parents in the world.
If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I believe that all I have achieved, even if I had a harder start in life, is a big part of who I am, and it all lead to me achieving my dreams (owning and running my own shop) in only 8 years since I started my journey in specialty coffee. I believe that hardships and mistakes is what makes us better humans. We become more compassionate and understanding towards others.
What do you feel most proud of?
Bloom Specialty Coffee (my shop) and my team and colleagues that put just as much passion in this project as I do, and the fact that we as a team managed to get nominated as one of the 5 best shops in Europe alongside some people I look up to. Whilst working with Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, I was inspired by him to start believing that if I want something, there is nothing stopping me. I dreamt of having a shop that is not tied to one roaster and one coffee and to be open about what coffee is and can be. The shop’s concept was inspired from Max’s Colonna & Smalls in Bath, but I also added a bit of my own experience of how the shop works and feels from the customer’s point of view.
If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?
Having been poor for 80% of my lifetime, I learned that possessions mean nothing. Money is just a tool and that the most important thing in life are the people you surround yourself with. It probably sounds cheesy, but things break, money gets spent, shoes get worn out, those things are not everlasting, but a friendship can be.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
I wish that by that time my actions and my life have said all I had to say. Hopefully they were good enough and maybe inspiring for some. That is what I want my legacy to be, the fact that there is nothing stopping from achieving what you dream of apart from patience and a steel stomach.
What is Sloane Coffee Roastery?
My newest passion project is Sloane Coffee Roastery. I have put a lot of time in creating a roastery that caters towards the needs of a passionate coffee shop owner, and there are no compromises made in what we think to be coffee from the highest quality driven farm out there. As a shop owner in the last year, I managed to have over 87 different coffees in the shop, from different roasters all around Europe. I realised that consistency is a major issue and that is something that I want to focus the roastery on,
What is your favorite kind of coffee?
Coffee is such a complex product and the more I learn about it, the more undecided I get about my favourite coffee and my favourite method. Right now I am loving an amazing coffee from El Salvador Pena Redonda, and this is one of the first El Salvador grown at 1900 m. I love it as an espresso or in a V60. Next week might be a different coffee on a different brewing method.
In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?
Mainly in my own shop. If not, you could find me in Two Minutes, Boiler, Artichoke or Steam in Bucharest, and when I am travelling probably in Full Court Coffee in Bristol, Colonna & Smalls in Bath, Assembly in London (UK), The Barn and Bonanza in Berlin.
What does a perfect day look like?
A morning in bed with my two cats, coffee at Bloom with the love of my life Miruna, and roasting coffee in the evening at Sloane. Oh and having my phone off all this time.