Ken Braz is a driven barista that focuses on his passion to make his signature coffees. Having just moved to Mallorca, Spain during the pandemic from Berlin, Germany Ken Braz shares his struggles, biggest achievements and journey discovering coffee.
“Coffee professional focus on brewing, roasting and enjoying coffee”
Originally from a small town in Luxembourg Ken Braz moved to Berlin for his studies in Marketing and Communications back in 2015. He was used to drinking the boring coffee pods they used to offer at the university until he found out about specialty coffee, learning that there is an art to making every cup. Discovering a way to pour the coffee with a washed Ethiopian coffee, Ken found that it had floral notes making it taste strangely like tea. Ken Braz decided after this experience he was never going back to coffee pods!
Once he discovered his new appreciation for coffee and brewing a good cup he found himself delving deep into it.
After university Ken started a job. A few months in he realised that it was not inspiring and definitely not what he wanted to be doing. So, he quit his job and started working in the coffee industry. He started small and worked his way up to working at “Röststätte” a specialty coffee roastery in Berlin.
Becoming more involved in the coffee community Ken started a coffee blog called “Kaffegang” with the goal of exploring and writing about all the specialty coffee shops and roasters in Berlin, whilst still doing an internship at a communication agency. After a while, he started going to coffee events, cuppings, festivals and was becoming more connected with the coffee community and the people in the coffee scene.
Ken soaked in all the information that he could and even competed in some local competitions to build up his confidence in coffee making skills (Chemex Cup, Comandante Cup and signed up for the Brewers Cup). Since he had a marketing background he started to work as a Marketing manager for the general distributor of Victoria Arduino machines in Germany, all whilst being a barista and learning new skills every day. Impressive right!
Ken Braz did face a big challenge when the German Brewers Cup in 2020 got cancelled. This was something he had been training for and building up his confidence in. He was stressed for months and constantly improving himself so everything would be perfect and then 2 weeks before the competition everything was cancelled because of Covid 19. However, Ken didn’t let this get to him for long. He powered on and used his newly learned skills to better himself in the coffee industry.
Another challenge he faced was having to tell his friends and family what he wanted to do. This should sound familiar to all new baristas. It is difficult to explain to others that don’t have the same passion that this is what you want to do, and he did initially face a lot of criticism. However, he never gave up on trying to make them understand what good coffee is and how complex and interesting it is to make the perfect cup. He would make them delicious coffees, educate them, and put a lot of effort into explaining each type.
Ken believes that success can only come when you share it with others. He says if you can’t share it with anyone then it has no value. This shows how giving he is like so many others in the coffee community. You can see he is grateful for the people around him and this is demonstrated in his work.
After facing the challenges the coffee world had to offer, along with Covid, Ken decided to quit his job and leave Berlin so that he could move to Mallorca and start a new name for himself. He was very anxious, as anyone would be but wants to share his story so that he can gather up his courage to become a self-employed barista.
Just like others that are thinking of joining in Ken finds the coffee community inspiring and likes how he can meet so many people through it. “Through the community you can connect with farmers, producers, importers, and roasters. There is no limit to what the coffee community has.“
Ken Braz loves the work he does, and it brings him joy every day.
“Being able to work with a product which fascinates day by day. To be able to share coffee and discuss it with my colleagues, my guests and others in the coffee community brings me joy and satisfaction.”
He also adds that for him ; “Success is only worth it when you share it with people. If you can’t share success with anyone, it has no value.”
Ken has achieved so much since he has delved into the coffee industry. Remembering his very first experience with coffee, Ken remembers the first coffee event went to. He says that it was incredible meeting all these people there and he found it comforting talking to others who, like him, got excited when talking about coffee. “Seeing all these people sharing the same passion for coffee, while slurping and discussing like nerds about different flavours of this liquid gold”.
The coffee community was so warming to him and he felt like he could fit right in. “I felt like I was part of a big coffee family”.
Throughout his coffee journey he tells us that one of his more memorable achievements was when he sold his first bag of roasted coffee that he made himself! He says, “it actually tasted not too bad”. Ken enthuses people to come and say Hi if they are to ever meet him in person. He is a bubbly and friendly guy that is ready to meet people (outside of Covid).