ROMEO JR PERELLO
BARISTA CHAMPION OF THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Barista Mag: Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?
Romeo: I took hotel and restaurant management classes in college. I worked as a waiter at the Kempinski Hotel in Dubai, and before that, I was a hairstylist in the Philippines for seven years.
BMag: How did you get started in coffee?
Romeo: As a waiter, we had to learn to run the cafe and bar, as well.
BMag: What was your first amazing experience with coffee?
Romeo: When we had coffee training at the hotel, I was amazed by latte art.
BMag: Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?
Romeo: Mr. Amit and Sasha, the food and beverage manager of the Kempinski, because they saw that I have a passion for coffee and they told me to compete.
BMag: What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?
Romeo: There should be more help for the coffee farmers. We know the average coffee is $2 per cup, but only one cent goes to the farmer.
BMag: Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:
Romeo: Raul Rodas. I was amazed with his presentation last year.
BMag: Name a barista you admire, and why:
Romeo: Mr. Gotham from India, because he loves to share his knowledge with new baristas. And Mr. Mate Nezval, who trained me for the national barista championship.
BMag: Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.
Romeo: Her name is Nancy and she always comes two times a day to our coffee shop, and if we are closed, she says she will not go to any other shop because she doesn’t trust other baristas.
BMag: Besides your own cafe, what cafe do you think everyone should visit?
Romeo: The oldest cafe in the world.
BMag: Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?
Romeo: Nicaragua at La Bendicion because of the high quality of coffee.
BMag: What are your interests outside of coffee?
Romeo: Playing basketball.
BMag: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Romeo: As a roastmaster with a coffee farm in the Philippines.
BMag: Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?
Romeo: To the people who helped me from the national barista championship, and who helped me prepare for the World Barista Championship: Mr. Ryan Rodhino, Mr. Keith Cox, Mr. Koen, my family, my colleagues at EuroCoffee, Mr. Russell from Monin, Mr. Gothan from Marco, Mr. Mate Nezval from Dallmayr.