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CQI Community Chat: Boram Um

February 15, 2024
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The CQI community is a vast, diverse, and impactful group of individuals, all united by a shared objective and enthusiasm for refining and discerning coffee quality, thereby making valuable contributions to the global coffee sector. In this community chat we had the opportunity to speak with Q Arabica Grader, Boram Um – who recently took the title of 2023 World Barista Champion at World of Coffee Athens.

Boram’s coffee career began in 2015 in Brazil – where he decided to take the Q Arabica Grader course at the Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association. Although he did not work in coffee beforehand, the Q Grader course is well-known in Brazil, and he wanted to take the take the course to learn the skills necessary to help his father export coffee. Boram was eager to evaluate specialty coffee and understand quality, different origins, and processing methods. This certification has truly opened many doors for his family since they learned how to evaluate and understand the quality of the coffee they produced. Boram also noted that taking the course served as a networking event - connecting him with local and international industry professionals.  

In 2016, Boram invested in a coffee shop with a roasting facility in Sao Paolo – which he later named Um Coffee Co. He wanted to invest in the local Brazilian coffee market and highlight high quality coffees in the region. A few years later, Boram decided to enter national competitions in Brazil, winning the barista championship in 2019. Once the pandemic hit competitions were at a standstill, but he was excited to get back into it and win the world title representing Brazil. In 2023, this dream became a reality as he won the title of World Barista Champion in Athens.  

Boram approaches competitions with this objective: Learn how market leaders can change the perception of Brazilian coffee on an international level and show quality improvement through his coffee selections. In Athens, Boram used two coffees in the barista competition - a Panama Geisha and a coffee from his family’s farm. That moment served as motivation for him, his family, and all producers in Brazil.  

In order to select the right coffees for competitions, Boram uses the standards and protocols he learned in his Q course. Boram notes that the Q “creates a baseline on how to explain coffee – explaining it in a way where different customers/audience members can understand what they experience in the cup.” He admits that all the exams in the Q serve a significant role in his career, but the cupping exams helped him the most and he applies that experience to his day-to-day tasks.  

“The Q Program creates a foundation for many coffee professionals in the world!”  

Boram is unsure what the future holds since his life has changed so much following his win at WOC Athens. What he is the most excited about is the opportunity to showcase high-end specialty Brazilian coffees on a global scale. His goal is to continue improving the quality of coffee produced by his family and truly demonstrate the diverse offerings they have to offer.