Who is Alex Kitain?
I think it’s hard to answer this question without sounding pretentious. Everyone you meet has his or her own image of you, which is shaped by the circumstances of your first encounter and the relationship that develops after. I see myself as an ambitious, driven, goodhearted and generous individual who can also be a real pain in the ass, ha ha. I’m incredibly persistent, which drives some people crazy, but often leads to getting what I want. Overall I think I’m pretty nice though.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
I had a very nice childhood despite my parents getting a divorce when I was 11. I always had a really close relationship with my little sister with whom I regularly got up to no good and drove my parents and our neighbours to despair. Once we chopped up all of my sister’s Barbie dolls and threw them at passers by from our 3rd floor balcony. Our downstairs neighbour then proceeded to collect all the pieces, put them in a basket and place them outside our apartment door in an effort to protest our ‘unacceptable behavour’. Oops.
If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?
There is nothing worse than to live life with regrets. Of course I also have countless examples of situations where I should have behaved differently or things I wish I hadn’t said, but I prefer to look towards the future than to dwell in the past.
What do you feel most proud of?
When I first came up with the idea to start The Coffeevine as a guide to my favourite coffee bars in Amsterdam, I had no idea where it would go. Today my business partner Erica and I run Europe’s best coffee box and continue to publish tons of personally written café reviews that are read by thousands every month. I am so proud to see how far we’ve come and every time I walk into a coffee bar somewhere and the barista or owner knows The Coffeevine or someone posts a picture of our box on Instagram it just makes me think: wow, we did this!
If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?
This is a tough one. I think I would have to say my iPhone (music, books, internet), my coffee making kit (beans, scales, grinder, kalita, cup) and a bottle of habanero hot sauce.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
I want my ashes to be scattered from a mountain.
What is The Coffeevine up to now?
I can’t reveal too much yet because we’re still in the early development stage but we’re currently working on the launch of an incredible new product that will revolutionise the way we consume delicious filter coffee on the go. Keep an eye on our website for more details soon.
What is your favorite kind of coffee?
At the moment I am really loving my siphon a lot. It stood on my shelf for many months but after visiting Sidney Kao at Coffee Sweet in Taipei last September and discovering how he uses it to make spectacular coffees, I decided to brush the dust off and put it to use again.
I find it works really well with Ethiopian and Kenyan coffees, where there is a lot of natural sweetness in the bean.
In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?
Most of my time is spent in Amsterdam, with regular visits to my hometown Hamburg and Berlin. Naturally I have my favourite hangouts in each one like Scandinavian Embassy, Balz & Balz or Café Krenzler.
Whenever I travel elsewhere, the first things I do is find out where the best coffee is served in that city and usually I end up meeting amazing people there who give me tons of tips on where to go, what do do etc. Coffee bars are a great place to start any trip.
What does a perfect day look like?
I usually get up at 7 and hit the gym to get the day moving. I love breakfasts and I usually have a rather filling one, with a great cup of coffee of course. A perfect day is when it’s sunny and my partner and I go work from a place like the Zoku Hotel that has an incredible view of Amsterdam and, when we get lots of orders for our coffee box, because that makes us feel like we’re doing a great job.