WBC Countdown: Barista Champion of Zambia Mirriam Simasiku

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

Mirriam:  I worked at the Chikumbuso orphanage in Lusaka.

BMag:  How did you get started in coffee?

Mirriam:  Blue Moon Cafe trained the Chikumbuso staff, and I got interested in coffee and got employed by them.

BMag:  What was your first amazing experience with coffee?

Mirriam:  Participating in the Zambia barista championship. The first time I participated, I got disqualified because of going  overtime. But I got very determined to win the competition and compete in the World Barista Championship.

Mirriam 2

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

Mirriam:  Bob Keating from Blue Moon Cafe, who got me first interested in coffee.

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

Mirriam:  I would like to see Zambia change from a tea-drinking country to coffee-drinking country, and I would like for people to want to learn more about coffee.

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

Mirriam:  Alejandro Mendez, 2011 World Barista Champion, because he is also from a coffee-producing country (and I have met Raul already). It would be nice to get tips on how to bring coffee culture in producing countries to a better level.

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

Mirriam:  Any Zambian who wants to learn about coffee.

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

Mirriam:  P’zazz at Ababa House in Lusaka, Zambia. They make almost as good coffee as we do.

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

Mirriam:  Guatemala. Raul Rodas is such a great barista, and I would like to see where his coffee comes from.

BMag:  What are your interests outside of coffee?

Mirriam:  Baking and cooking.

BMag:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Mirriam:  I would like to have my own coffee business.

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

Mirriam:  Teija Lublinkhof, who  helped to train me and organize this trip.

About Sarah 933 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.


  1. Am just wishing Mirriam all the best. This is Brian from Wonderbake Livingstone, Zambia.

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