Recently, we sat down with EBS Phuket graduate and bartending entrepreneur Nicolas to hear about life after the course and his newly founded start-up, Couchtasting.
How would you sum up your EBS experience?
EBS gave me the opportunity to get to know other cultures from all over the world, to understand them, to make friends for life, and to have time to rethink where I want to go with my career. Thanks for that!
Tell us about life after graduating from EBS.
My life after EBS changed a lot. I originally trained to be an Event Manager and assumed that, after the course, I would simply return to my job with some extra hospitality skills.
However, my time in Phuket changed my mind!
My experience at the school was instrumental in determining my path in life. I have learned how much fun, joy, and happiness come into my life when I pursue my passion and do things that I love.
With the EBS qualification on my CV, I applied directly to AIDA Cruises to make use of all the skills I had just learned and to combine traveling with work.
I was immediately hired as a bartender on one of the Caribbean routes for half a year... I was extremely happy to continue my bartender journey.
What was your new job like?
It was exhausting (working 10-14 hours straight) but highly educational. Over the course of the 6 months, I was used in all 8 bars. I spent the longest time in the vinotheque, where I first came into contact with tastings. There I conducted gin, rum, whiskey, wine, and champagne tastings with the holidaymakers.
Is this what inspired you to set up Couchtasting?
Essentially, yes. My enthusiasm for tastings spread to my friends in Germany and they gifted me a wine tasting voucher for my birthday - one event held per month. We tried to schedule to go all together but with our different jobs it was impossible and 6 months later we gave up. Only 5 of the friend group could go which was really disappointing!
The day after, I got to thinking: what if people could decide exactly when and where to do their own tasting? It was at that moment that the idea of Couchtasting was born!
How does Couchtasting work?
Couchtasting is a start-up that creates boxes for a tasting experience in the world of spirits, wines, and delicatessen. We put together different tasting boxes and post them, ready for the moment that best suits our buyers. You can do your own tasting from home easily, calmly, and comfortably. When and with whom is up to you.
We put a lot of love and passion into the selection of the individual elements of the boxes so that every tasting moment is unforgettable.
Our first box is a gin experience tasting box and contains four exclusive versatile gins as well as special nosing glasses for maximum enjoyment. We throw in a delicious snack to stimulate the palate in between sips and a card game for added fun during this social event. The main attraction, of course, is the series of videos that guide you through the evening and explain the history, taste, smell, finish, and special features of the products. A playlist and scented candle complete the package and set the perfect “couchtasting” atmosphere.
Was it difficult setting up a business from scratch?
It was a bit daunting, yes, but everything’s easier with drive and passion. I founded Couchtasting in August 2019 and have been working on it full-time since October 2020.
I was able to integrate what I learned from my time at EBS perfectly into my business. In fact, since April 2020, I have been regularly inspiring my 125,000 followers on TikTok (@couchtasting) with cocktail tutorials. It is not uncommon for me to take recipes from the EBS textbook. EBS played a large part in my journey, feeding my fascination with spirits from the first day of the course!
What are your plans for the future?
My plan for the future is to be number 1 in Germany when it comes to alcoholic tasting boxes. I would love to bring out cocktail boxes and cocktail recipe books to inspire many people to learn the great craft of bartending just as EBS inspired me back in Phuket. And who knows, maybe we can set up a project together... I would be very happy.