Kiah Parangue: From Coffee Enthusiast to Championship Glory and Inspiring Others

In an exclusive interview with “QahwaWorld,” professional barista Kiah Parangue shares her inspirational journey from a humble secretary at  Enterprises in the coffee industry to clinching multiple international championships. Reflecting on her remarkable career, Kiah recalls how her passion for coffee, initially sparked by curiosity, propelled her to become a formidable figure in the industry, showcasing exceptional skills and unwavering dedication.

Let’s delve into this exclusive conversation with Kiah Parangue, the Specialty Coffee Association Certified Trainer, and the proud winner of the 2023 Lavazza International Barista Championship and the 2023 Refill Roastery Battle of Barista Challenge, as well as the 2022 Lavazza Barista Championship.

To better understand you as an individual, could you share a bit about what drew you to the world of coffee, and how has your personal journey influenced your professional path in the coffee industry?

I started working in the coffee industry year 2017. As an admin/secretary working in a place surrounded by coffee and coffee professionals, i easily became so curious about coffee, that i kept on learning and up until now i am still learning.

Before i didn’t know how big the industry is, all i knew about coffee is that i enjoyed an instant 3n1 coffee. So many doors of opportunities have opened up for me, eversince is started working in this industry.

Training Program:

Can you elaborate on the Specialty Coffee Association Certified Barista Skills Training Program that you deliver? What key components does it cover, and how has it been received by participants?

SCA CSP Barista Skills teaches the essentials practical skills that is needed to work at a coffee shop, skills like how to calibrate machine and grinder, how to prepare espresso, create foam, texturize milk for different types of milk beverages, and create latte art as well as knowledge about the overall work flow in a café including customer service. I conduct this training in-person at goldbox roastery.

Coffee Calibration: How do you conduct coffee calibration sessions, and why is it essential in ensuring quality and consistency?

This is a very important part of the services we provide to our clients, we always visits our client, evaluate baristas on how they prepare their coffees as well as their customer service, and give them proper feedback and coaching. This is a win win for both us and our clients, we conspire to both our business’s success.

SCA Trainer Certification: As an Authorized Specialty Coffee Association Trainer, how do you ensure that your training aligns with industry standards and best practices?

there are so many accessible researches and it’s very easy to find new information now through online articles or podcast, plus I am very lucky to be surrounded by coffee professionals, so whenever they share some new information about the industry, I make sure to check and learn from it.

Barista Championships: Winning the Lavazza My Mocaccino Barista Challenge is impressive. Can you share your experience in the competition and any specific skills or techniques that set you apart?

Joining this championship is like a highlight of my career in this industry, also gave me the opportunity to travel and represent UAE. It is such a wonderful experience that pushed me out of my comfort zone. I think what really set me apart during this competition is the creativity, and thanks to my team we were able to think 3 steps ahead in analysing what would our competitors will do and that’s why we stood out and won.

Industry Trends: What notable trends have you observed in the coffee industry in the UAE, and how have they influenced your approach to training and event organization?

the coffee industry in the UAE has grown bigger and have grown so fast, we have an access to almost all the best coffee in the world, and everyone wants to open up a coffee business because they are so passionate about coffee, and the competition is really tight.

In terms of conducting training it is very important to be real with the people, no sugar coating, they need to learn about all the pros and cons, proper education is very important specially to those who wants to open up their cafes, they need to know and understand if they really are ready to enter this market, being passionate about it is not enough.

And in terms of organizing event, everyone is so competitive and really wants to showcase their talents and skills as it is very rewarding and it opens so may opportunities to the winners/champions, and they really spend so much time and effort for that, as an organizer I would organize something that would replicate the efforts of the competitors, give them something that they would enjoy but at the same time it rewards all their time and effort, but they also need to understand that in every competition someone will win and someone will lose, if they can’t accept defeat and they cant be sport about it, then competition is not for them.

Given your extensive experience in the coffee industry, what advice would you offer to aspiring baristas looking to excel in their craft or individuals who are venturing into starting their own coffee business?

Invest in proper coffee education/trainings that will help you develop your skills and help in your professional growth, also it will help you find your niche to know where exactly in the coffee industry you would like to be and succeed. Go out of your comfort zone and explore!


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