When we visited Coffee Twins in Munich, just after 10 min of observing the two owner brothers at work, it was obvious that we have to write a Barista Story about them. Jonas and Daniel Fondaj are 21-year-old twin brothers from Markt Indersdorf, Germany.
At such young age, they already have 6 years of experience working in the industry. Starting in various areas of the hospitality business: from dishwasher, and kitchen staff, right up to baristas in various cafés. For a bit more than a year, they are proud owners of a cosy neighbourhood cafe in Munich called Coffee Twins.
While initially organising the interview, we asked both brothers to answer the questions separately to get to know their points of view but they instantly replied:
“We only answered your questions once on purpose because in coffee we always have the same view and opinion. It is a must-have if you want to run a cafe together. We must both pull at the same strength otherwise our coffee shop wouldn’t run. You have to work hand in hand and trust each other blindly. Until now, we have the same CV, we have the same experiences and the same school classes, jobs, etc. Team for life!”.
Isn’t it beautiful? Enjoy the Barista Story of Jonas and Daniel, exceptional coffee twins!
Jonas & Daniel, what are your first memories of coffee?
We visited our grandparents every day, who drank a cup of filter coffee in the afternoon. The smell of coffee also tempted us to drink coffee, but at the age of 6 we were not allowed to do it :). Sometimes, for once, we were allowed to take a sip from the cup.
What inspired you to pursue a career in the coffee industry, and how did you get started? What did you do before coffee?
When we were teenagers, Munich hadn`t had many specialty cafes, only the famous Standl20 at the time. It’s where we drunk our first very good coffee that tastes different to a usual one. So we decided that if we open a coffee shop, then we will serve very good coffee, where you can experience new tastes like in Standl20.
During our school time, we dealt intensively with the topic of coffee and how to open a cafe.
We visited different coffee shops and observed the strategy and the concept behind them. We took photos and noticed all the things that caught our eye. All gathered in like a personal cafe book.
At the age of 16, we did a coffee tour in Berlin. Like coffee junkies we visited all the good coffee shops and coffee roasteries we could find and collected even more inspiration for our place.
We decided to do an apprenticeship as a pastry baker in a little bakery near to us. We wanted to bake all the baked goods by ourselves and didn’t want to offer convenience products. It was a hard time that was also a lot of fun because two of our colleagues supported us very intensively. Without them, we would never have passed the pastry exam.
And how did you get the skills necessary to open the cafe?
The vibe in a cafe, the community and the smell of freshly ground coffee from a professional barista inspired us to start working in the gastronomy scene. We earned our pocket money from part-time jobs in cafes during our school time. We lived very frugally and saved every cent for our big dream, our own specialty cafe. Our great role model was and is the specialty coffee roastery JB Kaffee: Johannes you are our great role model!
After our pastry baker education, we randomly found a little location to make our dream come true. Actually, we didn’t want to open a cafe so soon after our apprenticeship, but the opportunity was within our grasp so we thought it was now or never. If our cafe fails, at least we tried. With all the motivation and hard work before that, we made our dream come true.
Tell us a bit about your cafe – Coffee Twins.
Coffee Twins is a small neighbourhood cafe, like a hole-in-the-wall-coffeeshop in Dreimühlenviertel next to the Isar in Munich. We not only attach great importance to coffee but also to homemade cakes and pastries and supporting local dealers. It`s a place, where you can pick a quick coffee or you can sit in and have a small break from everyday life and have a nice talk with other people. You should come here to rest, just be happy and enjoy a good cup of coffee and cake. We have a lot of regular customers, even though we only opened on March 3, 2022. Again and again, new customers discover us by chance because we are so inconspicuous to see from the outside or come by on recommendation.
You run your place as twin brothers. Do you argue often? Or rather arm in arm help each other with duties and inspire one another?
A big advantage is that you can rely on each other blindly. As twins, you have a completely different interaction, not just regular brothers. The relationship between twins cannot be easily compared to that of normal siblings. The Coffee Twins wouldn`t run without each one of us, like coffee without water!
Most of the time we have the same opinions, if not then we can always discuss it. We support each other every time. We also push each other to grow and develop skills like for example latte art.
What kind of experience do you want your customers to have when they visit your place?
Our guests should feel comfortable, equal as to-go or sit-in guests. We serve different types of filter or espresso beans. Every guest can choose between beans from JB-Kaffee and get a new experience with coffee flavours. It’s always nice to see customers coming back and saying that they never had a coffee like this in their life before. Little by little you can see that they are attaching more and more importance to good coffee and are dealing with this topic. Some even become coffee nerds!
What is your favourite part of the day in your cafe, and why?
The morning spirit. The vibe of the morning rush to put a smile on guests’ faces and make them happy. The smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns and cakes is indescribable. You never know what the day will bring, what people will come today and what unique opportunities and things you will experience.
Henry David Thoreau, an American writer wrote: “Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” So you should enjoy every day, every simple moment in your life. It’s wonderful if you can do that anytime!
How do you stay motivated and inspired to keep improving your coffee-making skills?
Drink a damn fine cup of filter coffee and exchange thoughts with other positively driven people! Munich has a small highly driven coffee community. We support each other and exchange know-how. Also visiting other cafes to get more inspiration and impressions.
We read every Barista Story by European Coffee Trip because they always bring new motivation and enable a completely different perspective than you have yourself. It was a motivator before we opened our cafe and still is. Hiking or going for a stroll in nature always brings a clear mind and new energy and ideas.
What are the current trends in cafes in your region? Are there any trends you promote yourself and would like to see more often in other places?
A big common trend is plant drinks. More and more people drink plant-based coffees, not only because there are vegans but because of the taste.
We promote the trend of homemade stuff instead of convenience products and know where it comes from. People want cakes and pastries that taste like made by their grandparents. They want simple cakes again and not the over-sweetened ones from the industry.
What do you think is the most important quality for a barista to have, and why?
A barista should have social communication skills because they work with many different types of people. Making very good coffee and interacting with customers is very important and staying cool in rush hours. At least to have fun and spread good vibes!
What coffee challenges are you looking forward to? Any new projects or collaborations?
We want to have a small but strong coffee community that is open to new experiences in coffee.
We always try to serve good coffee and bake very good cakes and pastries.