Something glows from Central Iran, 400km south of the capital, Tehran. In the capital of the Isfahan Province, barista Shayan Vakili serves at local specialty coffee shop, Meydoon Cafe. In this interview, Shayan outlines his entry into coffee, the role of coffee in Iran and how new baristas can learn their trade and progress within the sector.
When did you start your career in coffee and how did you come across the industry?
I started my career three years ago in Meydoon Cafe as a dishwasher and gradually became interested in the big and strange world of coffee.
What's the status of specialty coffee in Iran?
In recent years, many professionals have started working in the coffee roasting basin in Iran - their roasteries produce high quality coffee. But unfortunately, the people of Iran still consider good coffee as a bitter coffee - the hope is this trend is set to change in the coming months and years.
What types of people are suited to working in coffee?
In my opinion, anyone who is interested in coffee can work in this industry, but in this profession, you have to be very delicate, clean and careful in order to progress day by day.
If someone is new to coffee and looking to start out, what would you recommend they start with?
If one wants to learn from the basics of this industry, look carefully at the work of professionals for days and months! Having a good role model in this profession can accelerate progression noticeably.
Are there some central blog posts or websites that you go to gain more knowledge, develop further skills?
Unfortunately, there is no coffee site or specialized field in Iran. Usually people seek out old and famous people with the knowledge of this profession. They are are few in number - one is Saeed Abdi Nasab (Instagram), who really has something to say in this industry!
What's next for your career? What's on the horizon and what goals do you have for the coming three years?
I am currently learning to bake breads and I hope in the future to open a chain restaurant cafes that produces its own products. Producing bread and roasting coffee for example. My role model is Starbucks’ business.