World Barista Championship Interview - John Muli

John MuliIt’s time to introduce you to John Muli, a World Barista Championship competitor who hails from Kenya and knows coffee inside and out. John grew up on a coffee farm and is familiar with all things related to coffee.

As a child, John diligently worked on his family’s coffee plantation. This enabled him to learn all the aspects of coffee growing, from the weeding to the mulching to the eventual pruning, where he would hand-pick the berries and then pulp them. In other words, he knows all the stages, “from tree to cup.”

It’s no surprise that when offered the opportunity to work in a coffee shop, he took the challenge on with zest. His inherent passion and eagerness to learn even more about coffee paved his way to a career as a barista. John feels that this experience has “changed me from steward to a champion and barista professional.” Today, John represents Dormans, which have 11 branches placed across Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya. coffee from Dormans coffee shop

As a barista, John really enjoys the aspect of meeting and training with others like him from across the world.  He also loves the fact that baristas are willing to share their knowledge as well as stay open to new challenges. As he puts it, there are “no shortcuts” in this career and it’s important to stay passionate and open to learning new things. Equally important is the willingness to “have all the knowledge about processes of coffee from tree to cup” and the ability to identify “coffee characteristics.”

As a veteran of a major coffee-producing country, John takes pride in the coffees he brews. Although he is content to drink and brew Kahawa chungu, a traditional Kenyan “very boiled coffee which is bitter, “ John also prides himself in other brewing methods.

He has 3 main techniques that he especially favors. One of these styles is the Sufuria method, where water is boiled to a certain temperature, the “bunner” is switched off, medium ground coffee is added and then it’s covered for about 2-3 minutes, leaving the “concoction” to brew further and create a rich coffee.
traditional Kenyan coffee

Another method John uses is the plunger (some know this as a “French Press”), in which water is boiled to 92-96 degrees Celsius, (198-205 degrees Fahrenheit) coffee is added and then, after 2-3 minutes, the brew is “pressed down gently and the coffee is ready to drink.” The final method, Aero press is when water is boiled, filter paper is filled with ground coffee, hot water is then added and everything is stirred. Once the coffee is ready, it is pressed down gently and can be enjoyed. John adds, “you can wait for brewing time or press straight the way you want your coffee to taste like.”

John really lives for coffee and even has his own signature drink, a “Minty macchiato” (home-made mint syrup, espresso, frothed milk and a mint leaf garnish). If you’re ever in his neck of the woods, be sure to check it out! In the meantime, we thank John for sharing his affection for coffee with us and wish him only the best.

John Muli at work

John Muli with his espresso machine

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.