2. Who am I?
Updated: Jun 29, 2020
My name is Freda Yuan. I am originally from Taiwan and now based in London. I am a professional coffee taster and buyer. Tasting coffee as a career sounds crazy. (Yes, it can be a career!) After developing coffee as my career path, I became addicted and very passionate about it. I suffered from depression and bulimia in my 20s. It was after working in coffee that I slowly recovered from my condition. I’ve learned purging would burn my palate, which would take at least two weeks to recover. My tongue became numb and insensitive, which jeopardised my ability to work. I started to learn more about my own condition and I punished myself less. Wanting to improve my sensory skills became a driving force for me to create a healthier life!
Through tasting, I found that I could engage in a truly emotional and intuitive way with coffee. The idea of being able to identify different flavours, and experience mouthfeel, texture or acidity in coffee, fascinated me. I slowly build up my coffee sensory ability and began my journey in coffee tasting competition just to challenge myself. I competed in the UK Cup Tasters competition and became three times champion in 2017, 2018, and 2020. In 2017, I also won third place in World Cup Tasters Championship in Hungary. This competition is like a yearly coffee Olympic game with different categories such as barista bar skills, coffee tasting, roasting, brewing, latte art, and coffee-based cocktails.
During the training and competition, I did a lot of meditation, running, and self-talks to find my own path and peace. This helped me build up my awareness slowly. I found that the more I was connected to myself, the more I was aware of the environment and the situation around me. Only by living in the present could I really focus on tasting. Only by increasing our own sensory awareness can we become not only better at tasting but also learn to cope with this insane world. This made me enjoy and appreciate positive and negative experiences more without criticizing them. Having experienced low and high moments in life, I suddenly realised that my calling is to elaborate and share my passion for life and the importance of sensory awareness to assist you to enjoy every little thing a bit more. And also, of course, to increase your tasting ability.