The EstoniaCoffee team brings you an interview with Marten Selirand. On one of our standard routes with bus no. 16, we noticed a cafe with a bike in the storefront. We went out, had a coffee, and asked the owner for a quick interview sometime in the future.
The future is today. Let’s see what Marten has to say.
EstoniaCoffee – Interview With Marten Selirand
Interviewer: Jozo Salmanic, writer for EstoniaCoffee
Interviewee: Marten Selirand, bike mechanic, visionary, cafe owner
Date: Tuesday, August 2023.
Meeting place: Ratas & Kohv, Tallinn.
EC: You are 15 years in the bike business, but recently into the coffee business. How did it all start?
Marten: I was in the situation when I was thinking about what I would do. My wife started a new job. Our youngest child was only a year old. So, one day, I was standing near the gates to Hipodroom, and I had my toolbox in my hand. A passerby asked me to change a tire on his bike, and I thought, why not? That was the initial spark. I had a tiny workshop in that area, but I was already thinking about a place where you could drink coffee while getting your bike repaired. I had that small workshop for ten years and then moved to this one. However, this space where we are sitting now, until last September (2022), was a game shop. When they moved out, I decided to make a move. It was a challenging and risky decision, but it was worth it. Our cafe is five months old now.
EC: The interior is impressive. Who was the mastermind behind it?
Marten: My wife designed it, and I made everything. Well, not the tables. We bought those. They can rotate, and you can adjust their height, so they are multifunctional. For instance, when we have an open mic night (from Comedy Estonia) or live music, we can lift the tables and remove the chairs to get more space.
EC: Your whole family is involved in running the cafe?
Marten: Yes, it’s 100% family-owned. My middle child is a barista, and she works most of the time. The whole family attended barista courses in King Coffee Service, including me. We also get our coffee from there. It’s a special-made blend for our cafe, made by Rocket Bean. Next year, we plan to broaden the offer and add some extra beans for devoted coffee lovers.
EC: I am still amazed by how well the cafe and bike store get along.
Marten: We are not just that. This space is also an art gallery. All the pictures on the wall are artworks. We change them every few months. You can even buy one if you like it. We also have live music concerts, stand-up comedy, and many other events. We also have a separate room in the back of the cafe. It can accommodate up to 30 people, and you can rent it for private events, team buildings, workshops, seminars, and similar occasions. You can find out more on our webpage and social channels.
EC: Can you tell me more about your menu?
Marten: We get cakes and pastries from trustworthy pastry makers. We just don’t have the time to make them by ourselves, as we have too many other things to focus on. But they are always fresh, and we keep a broad selection.
Our coffee menu is unique because our lattes are different and named after bike terms and components. We also like to add a personal touch to every latte.
EC: Have you considered adding Aeropress, Chemex, or French Press to your menu?
Marten: Not at the moment. We’ll see how the year will go and how to move on. Our workspace behind the counter isn’t yet large enough to accommodate those methods, as they require extra space. We already offer cocktails and plan to broaden our offer of breakfasts, and that all takes space.
EC: What are your plans for the future of the cafe?
Marten: As we’ve observed an increasing number of international guests, one of our upcoming steps is translating everything into English. We also plan to implement a loyalty system where you get a free coffee after a certain amount of purchases. We already offer a 5% discount if you bring your own cup. Also, we plan to widen our beer section with some Estonian craft beers, but more on that in the future.
As I had no more coffee-related questions, we went to the bike repair shop, a cozy (and incredibly tidy) place behind the cafe. A young mechanic was fixing somebody’s bike. I was asking a million questions per minute, as I wanted to know everything about bikes, and Marten was patient enough to answer all of them. We won’t write about that, as the Estonia Coffee team doesn’t know enough about bikes. If you want to know more or have a bike to repair, visit Ratas & Kohv.
Ratas & Kohv website: https://www.rattaosad.ee/
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/CYxwFUoeeKeMidL49