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My Coffee Career Progression 6

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

Competition plays a big part in my career. No matter that is judging, coaching, or competing.

It was never my intension to win the UK cup tasters when I first competed in 2017. I only joined Caravan for 2 weeks as a PT production assistant.

There was no proper training other than production cuppings. Through meditation and self-talks, it helped me to calm my nerve and won the trophy back. Similar situation in the 2017 world's final. I didn't expect much. Just kept going and it took me to the third place.

I was blinded by my own egos for the second attempt at UK national in 2018. I had too many expectations on my performances and it gave me more pressures.

Ryan Garrick was my coach for my second world competition in Brazil 2018. We focused on not just cupping and but physical training.

Ryan supported me so much during the training. I always easily lose faith or give up. His words inspired me and brought me back to the right track.

Unfortunately, I didn’t do well in Brazil and I blamed myself for that. My heart was broken because I believed so much in myself. “Why I worked so hard but it still didn’t work?”

TBH, I haven’t really properly reviewed the situation. I might still hold resentment of myself and just decided not to deal with it... 😔

After resting for a year, I competed again in UK national 2020. It was a crazy year for me since I landed my new job with Origin Coffee in the same year. I was everywhere on the planet and was very frustrated with everything I did. I was sick and didn’t train well.

The same rollercoaster of disbelieving myself always came back during the competitions. Having a history in depression I still don’t know why I enjoy putting myself in a high-pressure competition!

The biggest transition for me was when I started to do yoga and meditation. For so many years that I have been searching for the answer to why I am not good enough? I finally came to the conclusion that I am enough because I have tried my best at my own pace. Knowing this gave me the strength to stay grounded and kept moving forward to the World competition in Warsaw.

You might ask if the competition is necessary for me?

I would say the answer is "It depends." It comes down to your personality and what would you like to achieve through competition?

Identify your strength and weakness. For example, I have little patience and not very creative in making innovative drinks so I don’t really like to prepare barista competition. It takes a lot of time and effort to get it right.

I am also not a very into numbers, therefore, the importance of coffee ratio doesn’t really give me sparkles. All I care about is, does it taste good or not. If it doesn’t, how can I change it? So in the barista competition and brewers cup, I might better off coaching competitors.

Cup tasters is very fast-paced with quick results. For some reason, my heart is more suitable for this type of game.

Competition definitely gives your opportunity to meet more like-minded people. There is always a special strong bund for people who compete or coach together.

If you are scared of standing on stage, perhaps try to look into judging or volunteering at events such as @SCAUK competitions or even World of coffee events.

Understanding the dynamic of each competition and awareness of your own personality would help you to create your own path in coffee.


My first World Cup Tasters Championship in 2017.

Second time at World Cup Tasters Championship 2018 in Brazil.

My recent UK Cup tasters championship 2020.

copyright © 2020 Freda Yuan. All rights reserved.

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