WBC Countdown: Barista Champion of Zambia Mirriam Simasiku

Mirriam 2

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Barista Mag: Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?

Mirriam: I worked at the Chikumbuso orphanage in Lusaka.

BMag: How did you get started in coffee?

Mirriam: Blue Moon Cafe trained the Chikumbuso staff, and I got interested in coffee and got employed by them.

BMag: What was your first amazing experience with coffee?

Mirriam: Participating in the Zambia barista championship. The first time I participated, I got disqualified because of going overtime. But I got very determined to win the competition and compete in the World Barista Championship.

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BMag: Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?

Mirriam: Bob Keating from Blue Moon Cafe, who got me first interested in coffee.

BMag: What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?

Mirriam: I would like to see Zambia change from a tea-drinking country to coffee-drinking country, and I would like for people to want to learn more about coffee.

BMag: Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:

Mirriam: Alejandro Mendez, 2011 World Barista Champion, because he is also from a coffee-producing country (and I have met Raul already). It would be nice to get tips on how to bring coffee culture in producing countries to a better level.

BMag: Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.

Mirriam: Any Zambian who wants to learn about coffee.

BMag: Besides your own cafe, what cafe do you think everyone should visit?

Mirriam: P’zazz at Ababa House in Lusaka, Zambia. They make almost as good coffee as we do.

BMag: Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?

Mirriam: Guatemala. Raul Rodas is such a great barista, and I would like to see where his coffee comes from.

BMag: What are your interests outside of coffee?

Mirriam: Baking and cooking.

BMag: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Mirriam: I would like to have my own coffee business.

BMag: Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?

Mirriam: Teija Lublinkhof, who  helped to train me and organize this trip.

About the Author


Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.