“In 2012, I was contacted by a Dutch Investor to start up a new company in Vietnam in the poultry supply chain, with a strong focus on Food Safety Management and Quality Certification.
My wife Claudia and I planned a visit to Vietnam to familiarize with the country, culture, people, society and business opportunities. It was love at first sight… and six months later, we moved permanently to Vietnam with our sons Victor and Remy, the eldest 2 years old and the youngest a baby of just 3 months old. We chose to set up the poultry company in the Central Highlands, more specifically in Bao Loc, Lam Dong.
At 900 meters above sea level, Bao Loc offers a moderate climate, fresh environment and big potential for agricultural activities. We choose to live there as a foreign family, because we believed it was the only way to truly familiarize with the culture and habits of Vietnamese people, and understand the thinking of Vietnamese farmers.
Needless to say that it took us time and effort to mingle in with the local people, who made us feel very welcome and offered their help when needed. Even our kids went to a local Vietnamese school for a few years -as the first foreign kids ever-, and it was truly amazing to see how fast they made friends in class, even without knowing the language.
Our house was literally located in between the coffee plantations, and from our poultry business, we became a supplier of bio-fertilizer for the Vietnamese coffee farmers. That’s when the idea of starting up a coffee business came to life… We already had a close connection with the coffee farmers and local people, the experience about setting up a company and food safety system in Vietnam, and the potential sales network.
However, we were still looking for a local, passionate business partner with strong knowledge about coffee who shared our longterm vision about authentic flavors, pure coffee and food safety.
Through our network, we got to know Linh, son of a coffee farmer, young, educated, dynamic and the kind of person who could talk about coffee for hours. Our coffee idea became a plan, our plan became a business and BELVICO was born….”
“My parents have been coffee farmers in Bao Loc their entire life and I spent almost my whole childhood there: planting trees, harvesting, drying, selecting, processing, it was a fantastic way to deeply experience the farming side of the coffee business in all its aspects.
While my sisters started up their own coffee and tea farm, I left Bao Loc at the age of 18 years to study in HCMC. Besides studying, HCMC was also the place where I learned more about roasting, cupping and the consumer’s coffee preferences.
After finishing University, I returned to Bao Loc and worked in various industries, but never really felt passionate about what I was doing… My dream was to work with coffee every day and start up my own coffee business…
A few years ago, I heard about Kay and his family through related coffee farmers and we immediately connected very well. We started up Belvico together and I really feel like we are a perfect combination: the European vision about authentic flavors, pure coffee and food safety combined with Vietnamese knowledge about coffee farming, processing and roasting.
Frankly spoken, I could never have imagined that I would sell coffee from the trees I planted together with my father when I was a child. There is no greater satisfaction than getting a compliment from a client about our coffee…and we will keep working hard every day to keep our clients astonished with our products…