Barista Champion of Kenya

Editor’s note: As we approach the beginning of the 2014 World Barista Championship, which takes place in Rimini, Italy, June 9 “12, at the SCAE’s World of Coffee event, we would like to introduce you to the National Barista Champions who all worked incredibly hard to earn a position in this preeminent coffee contest. Profiles of all 54 competitors will appear on Barista Magazine’s blog between Monday, June 2, and Monday, June 9, and can all be accessed under the category header “WBC 2014 Rimini.”

Eric Kithinji
Nairobi Java House Ltd.

Kenya's Eric
Kenya’s Eric Kithinji

Coach: Mutie Mbalo

About me: I have been a barista for 5 years and this is my first time competing at the world level. I just love making great cups of coffee and also putting a smile to my guests.

Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?
I studied to be a community developer but I got a job offer of being a barista in Nairobi Java House. I would say it was just curiosity that made me [take the job], but I used to drink coffee a lot.

How did you get started in coffee?
I first learned how to make filter coffee which was quite easy. There was no skill needed there. Then I moved on to making coffee using the espresso machine. Then coffee making became more interesting.

What was your first amazing experience with coffee?
When I first poured and made my first cappuccino.

Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?
Any person who has worked as a barista at Java. I always learn something new from them.

What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?
I would love to see more people drinking coffee especially in the coffee growing regions.

Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:
Matt Perger. He is very quick.

Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?
Brazil and Colombia. I would like to get to know how they process their coffee.

What are your interests outside of coffee?
Playing soccer.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Be a coffee luminary myself.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?
My coaches, Mutie, Alfred, and Peter. The roastery team, Tito and Antony, also the entire company for supporting me during the competition.

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