Account Manager – Ducale Coffee
Muki Yeung recently took out first place at the Chux Barista Cup in Sydney. The competition brought a new format to the stage and some new talent to the fore. We now catch up with Muki for a quick chat to find out what and who has inspired her to make coffee her life.
Hi Muki. Tell us how you became involved in cafés and coffee?
Coffee started as a part-time job for me while I was doing my business degree. I was working at Gloria Jean’s and McCafé early on, and at that point it was only a job. It wasn’t until I met Robert Stewart from DC Coffee that I really started to get into coffee. Rob is incredibly passionate about coffee and the industry, and he got me hooked. I had my own café for a while then worked at a few others, including Double Roasters and Kitchen by Mike. I felt like it was the right choice. I learnt much more by working for other experienced people, and I had a chance to develop my skills as a barista in a busy environment. Nothing like pumping out 15 kg a day to teach you how to be efficient and quick!
Where do you currently work?
I am now working at DC Coffee (Ducale Coffee) as a Trainer and Territory Manager for NSW. It feels like it’s come full circle, from once being trained by Rob all those years ago to be able to work with him on the same team now. It’s a great company to work for, it’s a terrific work environment, and I’ve got room to move and grow in the team. It really goes to show that with the right support and training, how far you can go in this industry. I love training people and hope that my passion in coffee is as contagious as Rob’s.
Have you had much time on the competition circuit?
I started in competitions this year, with the support from DC and won my first event, the Chux Barista Cup at Fine Food Sydney 2013. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a win! I figured I’d just give it my best shot. There were 8 competitors, and we had to make eleven drinks in ten minutes. Ten random drinks, dine in and takeaway, sometimes including Da Vinci syrups from a random menu that was different each round and one specialty drink. We were judged on temperature, latte art and taste. I was really nervous for my first two rounds, but I think I performed really well in the finals. It was a great competition that replicated how it could be in a real café. The prize was a trophy and a trip to Port Macquarie to attend the Natvia Golden Bean Coffee Roaster event run by Café Culture. I got a few rolls of Chux wipes also!
How was the Golden Bean experience for you. Did it meet expectations?
The Golden Bean was a great event. I really enjoyed being able to network and work with really talented people from the industry. The evening events were great and the sense of camaraderie and friendliness is something I’ve never experienced in other industries. It’s great that even though we’re competitors, we’re still able to get along. I have to thank the Café Culture crew for giving me the opportunity to go … can’t wait ‘til next year.
Any last words?
I consider myself one of the lucky few who get to work in an industry that is both a hobby and career. It’s an industry that is constantly changing and growing. I plan on continuing in competitions over the years, do some more roasting and maybe travel to origin one day. There’s always more to learn and more people to educate.