Exploring Man Met Bril Koffie’s Coffee Hotel and European Road Trip Adventure

We join the journey of Laura, a retrofitted Citroën HY, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and explore the “world’s first coffee hotel.”


Photos courtesy of Man Met Bril Koffie

Picture this: a 1971 Citroën HY van, christened “Laura,“ retrofitted to electric perfection and armed with fine coffee gear. Last month, this stylish van embarked on a two-month adventure across Europe, with a mission as bold as the espresso it serves.

Laura is not your ordinary coffee van; she’s a coffee-slinging stunner on a grand mission. The goal? To extend a heartfelt invitation to as many members of the European coffee world as possible, encouraging them to sign up for the Residency Programme at the “world’s first coffee hotel” by Man Met Bril Koffie. This unique initiative promises to foster a pan-European coffee culture by bringing together coffee and hospitality enthusiasts to live, work, and inspire one another.

We reached out to Paul Sharo, founder of Man Met Bril Koffie, to learn more about the coffee hotel and what his vision is for the Residency Programme.

Paul Sharo, founder of Man Met Bril Koffie, stands in front of what will be the coffee hotel.

The Origin of Man Met Bril Koffie

Paul was born in Rotterdam, South Holland, and moved to the U.S. when he was 2. He spent his early years there before returning to his Dutch roots at the age of 13. According to him, his entry into the coffee industry was less of a conscious choice and more of a destiny. “I really couldn’t do anything else. I rolled into it and can’t imagine a life without it now,” he says.

The brand’s unique name is a nod to a chance occurrence. While Paul was working in a restaurant, a customer left a review referring to him as ”Man Met Bril,” meaning “the man with glasses.“ This seemingly mundane incident took a caffeinated turn when, while learning how to roast coffee in the restaurant, he set off the fire alarm. This earned him the affectionate nickname ”man with glasses coffee” from the kitchen staff.

Man Met Bril Koffie café and roastery is a hub for coffee lovers, located in the heart of Rotterdam’s ever-evolving urban landscape.

So, when the time came to open his own roastery and café, the name stuck. Today, Man Met Bril Koffie has been recognized as one of the premier coffee roasters in Amsterdam, and for good reason. The café stands out in the Rotterdam coffee scene for its strong local presence, a charming, high-quality coffee bar, and an ambitious venture: what he dubs ”the world’s first coffee hotel.”

The Vision Behind the Coffee Hotel

Paul’s innovative coffee hotel concept aims to foster a deeper connection with coffee, with attention to detail extending to the smallest features, such as in-room coffee-making options, and reaching greater heights through initiatives like the Residency Programme.

Jacko van Dijke, the community manager of the Residency Programme, is currently on the road (with Maya the dog) on a mission to spread the word about the coffee hotel.

The coffee hotel promises an experience like no other for both guests and visiting coffee professionals. Paul explains that it’s meant to be a sanctuary where the love of coffee is celebrated and explored in myriad ways. Guests can expect to immerse themselves in the world of coffee, from tasting exquisite brews to discovering new methods of coffee preparation. For coffee professionals, the Residency Programme will offer an opportunity to live and work in this coffee haven, forging connections, sharing knowledge, and igniting inspiration.

Laura on the Road

Throughout the European tour with Laura, the goal is clear: to create an enthusiastic community of coffee lovers who will become the first residents of the coffee hotel. The mini-events and collaborations along the way serve as a bridge to connect people with the brand and its vision. ”Our goal is to create an enthusiastic group of first residents, embracing their existing passions in new and exciting ways,” Paul says. ”We are also exploring the possibility of opening a coffee hotel in South America.”

As part of her European tour, Laura will be visiting 24 cities across 12 different countries. Each destination has been carefully selected to showcase the diverse coffee culture present in Europe.

Ultimately, the vision of Man Met Bril Koffie and the coffee hotel is to offer people an opportunity to enjoy something they already love in a fresh and exciting way. It’s about transforming the everyday love for coffee into a richer and more immersive experience, inviting all to share in the passion and artistry of the brew.

If you are interested in becoming one of the first residents of the hotel, you can sign up here, and you can follow Laura’s tour around Europe through the café’s social media. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Man Met Bril Koffie and the coffee hotel.


Vasileia Fanarioti (she/her) is a senior online correspondent for Barista Magazine and a freelance copywriter and editor with a primary focus on the coffee niche. She has also been a volunteer copywriter for the I’M NOT A BARISTA NPO, providing content to help educate people about baristas and their work. You can follow her adventures at thewanderingbean.net.


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