WBC Countdown: Barista Champion of the UAE Romeo jr Perello


cover 10.58.46 AM

Barista Mag:  Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?

Romeo:  I took hotel and restaurant management classes in college. I worked as a waiter at the Kempinski Hotel in Dubai, and before that, I was a hairstylist in the Philippines for seven years.

BMag:  How did you get started in coffee?

Romeo:  As a waiter, we had to learn to run the cafe and bar, as well.

BMag:  What was your first amazing experience with coffee?

Romeo:  When we had coffee training at the hotel, I was amazed by latte art.


BMag:  Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?

Romeo:  Mr. Amit and Sasha, the food and beverage manager of the Kempinski, because they saw that I have a passion for coffee and they told me to compete.

BMag:  What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?

Romeo:  There should be more help for the coffee farmers. We know the average coffee is $2 per cup,  but only one cent goes to the farmer.

BMag:  Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:

Romeo: Raul Rodas. I was amazed with his presentation last year.

BMag:  Name a barista you admire, and why:

Romeo:  Mr. Gotham from India, because he loves to share his knowledge with new baristas. And Mr. Mate Nezval, who trained me for the national barista championship.

BMag:  Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.

Romeo:  Her name is Nancy and she always comes two times a day to our coffee shop, and if we are closed, she says she will not go to any other shop because she doesn’t trust other baristas.

BMag:  Besides your own cafe, what cafe do you think everyone should visit?

Romeo:  The oldest cafe in the world.

BMag:  Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?

Romeo:  Nicaragua at La Bendicion because of the high quality of coffee.

BMag:  What are your interests outside of coffee?

Romeo:  Playing basketball.

BMag:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Romeo:  As a roastmaster with a coffee farm in the Philippines.

BMag:  Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?

Romeo:  To the people who helped me from the national barista championship, and who helped me prepare for the World Barista Championship: Mr. Ryan Rodhino, Mr. Keith Cox, Mr. Koen, my family, my colleagues at EuroCoffee, Mr. Russell from Monin, Mr. Gothan from Marco, Mr. Mate Nezval from Dallmayr.



About Sarah 934 Articles
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.