Mastering the Craft: An In-Depth Conversation with Frederic Bejo, 2023 UAE Brewers Cup Champion

Embark on a journey into the world of coffee mastery with Mr. Frederic Bejo, the distinguished winner of the 2023 UAE Brewers Cup. In this comprehensive interview, Mr. Bejo shares his rich background, the evolution of his brewing techniques, and his profound impact on the local coffee community.

  • Background and Inspiration:

 Can you share a bit about your background and how you got into the world of coffee brewing? What inspired you to participate in the UAE Brewers Cup?

I have been competing for various of coffee competition for the past 10 years, last 2021 is my 1st time to join the national Brewers Championship,which I placed 2nd. The Brewing Coffee Community in UAE is fast growing. Home Brewers and even in the cafe, filter coffee brewing is now becoming a staple choice to many coffee drinkers specially in UAE.

With this fast growth comes many new innovations, from the Coffee producers and even device developers, everyone is pushing the boundaries to help us deliver and serve the best tasting coffee. Unfortunately sometimes many options for devices and coffee brewing techniques leads to confusion specially for new specialty coffee drinkers.

This inspired me to combine very accessible brewing tools and create a brewing technique that is easy, efficient and consistent, by using simple devices with immersion method. My goal is to help Home Brewers and Baristas in super busy Cafes reach a high level of consistency in brewing.

  • Championship Experience:

Can you take us through your journey in the 2023 UAE Brewers Cup? What were the highlights for you? Were there any challenges you faced during the competition, and how did you overcome them?

the biggest challenge is to find the reason why you compete? and what’s your purpose of competing.

-this question takes me a while to answer. Since early this year I’ve been finding a reason and motivation to compete again. I feel like I’m not ready and unsure of coming back.

The coffee brewing industry is growing super fast and there are many newly breed & laser focused brewers already plus hundreds of brewing tools and techniques needed to focus & study! It’s really hard to keep up.

These are areas where I feel I’m already outdated, since my main focus for the past years is mainly on the other side of the value chain which is farm, process, green buying and logistics. And mainly stock in the cupping room, cupping thousands of coffees Every year.

  • Winning Moment:

How did you feel when you were announced as the 2023 UAE Brewers Cup Champion? What do you think set your brewing technique apart from others in the competition?

It has mixed emotions, but I know I did my best and gave it my best shot. not because I really wanted to win.

I feel like giving your best shot is paying respect to other competitors, Judges and everyone that is involved in the whole process.

My coach, my team, organizers, sponsors, and volunteers literally everyone who gives plenty of time, effort and work so hard to make the competition happen.

for My Brewing technique is very simple, less movement and easy to replicate and consistent.

  • Brewing Techniques:

Can you share some insights into your preferred brewing methods and techniques? Are there specific coffee beans or roasts that you find particularly enjoyable to work with?

Coffee is already a very complex product, so I always prefer to break down the complexity into a simple format.

I always prefer to brew coffee using an immersion method, less variables needed & less movement more realistic and accessible to everyone.

This is the reason I choose the Plastic Hario Mugen Brewer and combine it with the base of the Hario Switch Brewer. Mugen Device has 2 key advantages:

1st its plastic material means it has low thermal mass, which is a good heat insulator, meaning they can efficiently trap heat. which is very vital for coffee extraction.

2nd the surface of the Mugen device is completely flat, this removes the gap between the paper filter and the wall, that allows us to have a very low bypass, because all of the water can only escape through the coffee grounds in the middle. This reduces the coffee channelling that leads to better extraction of acidity and flavors.

Combining it to the Base of the Hario V60 Switch for immersion brewing, gives less movement and more control of the coffee extraction. The immersion method is used as our industry standard, because this is by far the most efficient and consistent way to brew coffee.

Talking about Roast profile for brewing we always focus to roast the coffee a lighter profile and specially finding the sweet spot in roasting. a type of profile to highlights the coffee quality itself. its terroir, process and the variety.

  • Coffee Philosophy:

What does coffee mean to you on a personal level? How would you describe your philosophy or approach to brewing the perfect cup of coffee?

-Coffee for me is everything, It is My life. Aside from my family and kids there are no other things that interest me rather than coffee.

I hope soon I can find another interest in life. aside from coffee. I’m looking forward to it. but for now. I will stick to learning more about coffee.

As I said earlier, coffee is already a very complicated product. My approach is to make it simple for everyone to understand.

not to intimidate coffee consumers with deep science and chemistry in coffee. The simpler the better, it allows everyone to understand and join our movement in specialty coffee so that we grow which leads for a better sustainability to our industry.

  • Advice for Aspiring Brewers:

What advice do you have for individuals aspiring to participate in coffee brewing competitions? Are there specific skills or knowledge you think are crucial for success in the world of competitive brewing?

Understanding the Rules & regulations religiously is the most basic, when thinking about participating in a coffee competition especially at the National Championship level.
Understanding how the score sheets work and what type of coffee works well with the scores plus technicalities is very crucial to win.

  • Future Plans:

What are your plans or aspirations within the coffee industry moving forward? Do you have any upcoming projects or goals related to coffee brewing?

My aspiration is to push the level of competition in UAE higher. It plays a huge impact for myself and I always have a good domino effect from other competitors and even to our local judges, leaving remarks that push everyone to be better and better for the upcoming years to come.

  • Impact on Community:

How do you think your win will impact the local coffee community in the UAE? Are there ways you plan to give back or contribute to the coffee culture in your region?

I have been involved in pushing coffee education to the UAE market. by giving access to coffee education and workshops. also By working tirelessly to bring the best of the best coffee to our market.

I will continue creating impact in any way that I can. to inspire others and push to add value to our community in the UAE.

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming greetings and support that I received after the final announcement.

It motivates me to push more to represent everyone and hopefully to achieve a good position for the upcoming World Brewers Championship.

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