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, the second four here, now, on to the 9th-12th competing baristas, baristas who came from different fields into coffee. Check back tomorrow for the final four.
No. 9 Tommy Cheong, 24 of Brew and Bread started as a Part-time at Brew and Bread to pay off his university tuition fees. After graduating from UNITAR, he decided to start his career with them, learning everything from cultivation, processing, roasting and brewing. As a barista, he loves putting a smile on his customers’ faces with the coffee he serves. Nine months into the world of coffee, his motto is to “work hard and play hard” and is your regular guy hanging out with friends and family outside work hours. He will be using coffee from their in-house roasting machine, the Giesen W6 Drum Roaster.
Tommy is one of the two competitors coming from the same coffee company – Brew and Bread – will that be a sort of advantage for him?
No. 10 Ang Bo Ling, 25 of Three Little Birds studied to be a psychologist in the UK, but he became a barista instead. Like most baristas, he started with latte art before moving onto appreciating different varieties of coffee, different brewing methods, different tastes and roast profiles of coffee. He now has 2 years of experience under his belt and continues to enjoy growing with his colleagues, customers and the coffee industry. Out of coffee, you can find him among books, music and movies. Naturally, he will be using Three Little Birds’ Roastery’s coffee, roasted by Joey Mah.
Recently, the Black Eagle competition espresso machine can be seen at Three Little Birds’ Roastery. With such resources going into this, what can we expect from Ang?
No. 11 (Akira) Turn Suet Ling, 25 of COFFEE: NOWHERE also started with latte art and worked in the industry from June 2014. Like other baristas, she had to learn the other skills like tamping and frothing before going into latte art. It took her some time to get it right but when she did, it gave her a sense of achievement. Before working in coffee, she was an accountant in a company, In her free time, she plays guitar and the drums. Well, mainly drums, according to her.
Akira is one of the two baristas from Johor competing this weekend. Does she hold a trump card in hand with a mystery roaster?
No. 12 Mel Leu, 28, of Departure Lounge was in the filming industry the last five years before turning to coffee. She also is a runner-up at the recent Battle of Baristas Competition in Penang last year*. What she enjoys about coffee is the customer engagement and educating customers about specialty coffee. She will be using a Singapore-based specialty coffee roaster and will reveal more during her routine.
Departure Lounge has a rich history of previous champion baristas gracing their doors. Can we expect the same from Mel?
Pictures and answers were provided by competitors and have been edited for clarity and length. Words by Joachim L.. Picture edit by Shean Tan. We will also be launching a new version of our digital map next month for CafeHopMY (formerly CafeHopKL) featuring cafes around Malaysia, so, stay tuned!
* Correction 26/1/2015 – We made a mistake that Mel Leu was under a different cafe in BOBC. She was with Departure Lounge then. Apologies for that confusion.