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From Dishwasher to head of Quality Control & trainer Maestro: Unveiling Bilal’s coffee Journey

In the bustling world of coffee, where each cup tells a tale of craftsmanship and dedication, Bilal  Khan  stands as a testament to the transformative power of passion and perseverance. From scrubbing dishes to orchestrating quality control across five coffee havens, his journey epitomizes the quintessence of the coffee industry’s spirit.

Follow Bilal’s inspiring journey with us in this entertaining conversation

  • You’ve had quite a journey—from starting as a dishwasher to becoming a head of quality control. Could you share more about your experiences and the pivotal moments that shaped your career in the coffee industry?

My journey began in 2018 when I landed in the UAE, eager to carve a path in the coffee world. It wasn’t easy; two months and ten days of relentless job hunting led me to a humble start as a dishwasher in a cozy coffee shop. With each role—waiter, barista, senior barista, and finally head barista—I soaked in knowledge like a sponge. But it was the allure of specialty coffee that ignited my passion, propelling me to become a quality control maestro and trainer.

  • What motivated you to transition from various roles to quality control trainer? How did each role contribute to your growth?

The allure of specialty coffee beckoned me, urging me to delve deeper into the craft. As I journeyed from dishwasher to head barista, each role infused me with invaluable insights—grasping the nuances of flavor, perfecting brewing techniques, and mastering the art of presentation. It was a natural evolution driven by an insatiable thirst for knowledge and a desire to ensure every cup met the highest standards.

  • You mentioned obtaining 8 to 9 certifications from the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). Which certifications were most impactful for you, and how have they enhanced your skills? As a quality controller, what specific aspects do you focus on to maintain high standards in coffee preparation and presentation?

Embarking on the SCA certification journey was pivotal. Sensory and processing certifications laid the professional, intermediate, foundation empowering me to discern the subtlest of flavors and understand the intricacies of coffee production. As a quality controller, I meticulously oversee every aspect—from bean sourcing to brewing methods—ensuring adherence to stringent quality assurance protocols. Cropster’s tools have been indispensable, streamlining our operations and guaranteeing consistency in every cup.

  • Competing at the national level is impressive! Could you tell us about your experience in the UAE Cup Tasters Championship and the UAE Latte Art Championship? What strategies did you employ to excel? How do you balance creativity and precision when creating latte art? Any tips for aspiring baristas?

Competing in the UAE championships was a dream come true. While victory eluded me, the experience was invaluable. Precision and focus were my allies, guiding me through the intense challenges. Balancing creativity and precision in latte art requires finesse—a blend of technique and imagination. My advice to aspiring baristas? Trust your instincts, hone your skills relentlessly, and never underestimate the power of self-confidence.

  • Handling five coffee shops nowbl specialty coffee, Kaffie specialty coffee, 90plus specialty coffee his no small feat. What challenges do you face as a head of quality control across multiple locations? How do you ensure consistency and excellence? What qualities do you look for when hiring baristas and other staff members for your coffee shops?

Managing multiple outlets presents its share of challenges, from ensuring uniformity in quality to tackling unforeseen hurdles like inconsistent bean roasts. To maintain excellence, I prioritize daily checks, cupping sessions, and constant communication with our team. When hiring, I seek passion, adaptability, and a thirst for knowledge—qualities that align with our commitment to delivering unparalleled coffee experiences.



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