The UAE have taken to specialty coffee in the past ten years, pulling international barista talent to their growing cities. Jiwan Shrestha is a barista in Abu Dhabi, now working at Roxo Speciality Coffee (Instagram) after starting in high street coffee. In this interview, Jiwan outlines some ways for baristas to start and progress in the industry.

When did you start your career in coffee and how did you come across the industry?
I started my barista journey in 2017 at Costa Coffee in UAE. Ever since, I’ve always been passionate about my work and have looked for a ways to improve and grow my skills. While working in Costa Coffee, I got opportunity to join specialty coffee %Arabica UAE, and I’m currently working at Roxo Speciality Coffee - I'm proud to be in this field.

What's the status of specialty coffee in Abu Dhabi?
Well, the specialty coffee scene has become crazy, full of cafes and roasteries. New  competitors emerge each day, and coffee is part of most people's daily routine.

What types of people are suited to working in the industry?
Anyone with interest in F&B field and curious, passion to learn about specialty coffee.

If someone is new to coffee and looking to start out, what would you recommend they start with?
Firstly, I would say take barista training course from a barista training academy, then work somewhere.

Are there some central blog posts or websites that you go to gain more knowledge, develop further skills
Absolutely, there are so many popular SCA certified roasteries and coffee companies like Raw Coffee Company, Archer Roastery, The Espresso Lab, Seven Fortune and many more where you can get from bottom to top SCA training courses.

What's next for your career? What's on the horizon and what goals do you have for the coming three years?
My next move is working in coffee roastery to become coffee roaster and fully sca certified barista. My goal is competing latteart championship and winning the champion and hope to compete may more.. Never give up - keep your passion alive.

Follow Jiwan on Instagram at @baristajiwan