We wanted to get to know the final 16 for the Malaysian Barista Championship this weekend. (see our previous post) We dropped an email trying to get to know more about them, their side interests and also, a sneak peak as to what to expect during their routines. Check out the first four here, and the competition heats up with the next four featuring the defending champion and a World Champion Roaster.
No. 5 Tan Keng Zhi, 28, of MyEspresso Cafe in USJ21, has been in the F&B Industry for five years. In that time, he had a cafe, Green Planet Cafe (more food focused) but his curiosity in coffee drove him to work at MyEspresso Cafe. He enjoys working with coffee and serving people as a barista. Dedicated his life to coffee (We’ll call him the coffee monk from now on!), he believes in both the scientific and artistic aspects of coffee, linking the both together. He will be using Highlander Coffee from Singapore this weekend.
Keng Zhi also recently was top three in the Malaysian Aeropress Championship held last year. Will his signature drink feature an… Aeropress?
No. 6 Tan Yaw Tzong, 24 of Coffee Concepts Company, Johor Bahru, has been in the coffee world for nearly seven years. His first job was in a cafe when he was 17 and everything he learned, was on the job. What he loves about being a barista is that he believes he can change lives by delivering an experience through a cup of coffee. Yaw Tzong is also an NBA and EPL fan. He has been working very closely with Abert, owner/roaster of Mods Cafe, Melaka for his competition coffee.
So this makes the 6th entrant very much a Southern Peninsular Malaysia team!
No. 7 Jason Loo, 28 of The Red Beanbag Cafe, Publika, the defending champion of this competition is back to defend his title. He began as a barista two years and eight months ago as he was curious why each cup of coffee can taste different. So, he gave up his job as a chef and became a barista at Red Bean Bag and enjoys the customer interaction that comes with the job, while ensuring each cup is well-crafted for them. He still bakes and cooks and is also a nature lover. His roaster will be Joey Mah from Three Little Birds Coffee. He speaks very highly of him, saying his love for making great coffee is indescribable.
Will Jason Loo be able to retain his title this year?
No. 8 Sam Tan, 27 of Coffee Stain, started working with coffee in 2009. She was helping her sister set up the cafe and began by learning how to make espresso. She realised how special this drink can be and saw how coffee connects people. Today, she still enjoys making coffee and loves to share her journey with customers and friends. Sam is also a dog lover, loves to travel and enjoys music. Her roaster will be Jacky Lai from Taiwan, the 2014 World Roaster Champion, who visited Kuala Lumpur during the Coffee and Fringe Art Festival last year.
With a World Roaster on her side, we cannot wait to see what is in store here!
Update 21/1/2015 1.50pm – Uploaded picture of Jacky Lai.