If there is one thing this world has in common, it’s a flair for coffee. Today, it’s time to meet Raja Muthusamy, who hails from the UAE and is the RAW Coffee Company Training Manager.
Raja was introduced to the world of coffee through Kim Thompson, who established RAW in 2007. He quickly climbed the ranks from waiter to barista and in 2010 was crowned the UAE’s Barista Champion.
He first tried coffee at the young age of 6, when his mother brewed some coffee blended with chicory. By the time he was 22, he tasted his first specialty coffee and liked it immediately, as “it was very fresh.” Today, his favorite beverage is the cappuccino, with a double Ristretto shot.
Although Raja has tried various types of coffees, he doesn’t care for flavored blends. He does, however, enjoy getting his hands deep in the coffee-making process and is experienced in the “roasting, profiling, cupping, training and technical” aspects of coffee. He feels that this helps him to learn and grow in the industry, even if he doesn’t specialize in any one area.
Just as he easily advanced in his career, Raja also starred in the barista competitions. To date he’s already been in 2 competitions and will be participating in the competition in Bogota, Colombia in June. At his first competition, Raja was faced with 30 competitors and he placed 3rd.
By his second competition, he won the title. For him, the “show looked like a film fair award show” and his nerves “were the same as before writing my state board public examinations.” When he was announced the UAE Barista Champion, he was so ecstatic he didn’t even know how to express his feelings. In fact, “it was the happiest moment in my life.”
Being a barista takes dedication, which is something Raja certainly has an abundance of. We hope that he’ll continue to grow as a barista and wish him the best of luck in the future!