Ömer Faruk Şahin’s first sip of Turkish coffee turned his whole world upside down. Before that first sip, Ömer said,
“I was working in a private company as a mechanical technician, but I knew that this profession was not going to be permanent; I was always looking for a job where I could do my job with passion.”
After being acquainted with that cup of Turkish coffee at the age of twenty-five, Ömer decided that he had found his true calling, quit his job, and dove headfirst into the coffee industry. During his four years in the coffee industry, Ömer said,
“I attended continuous coffee training sessions and started researching coffee continuously. Now my life is all about coffee.”
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He has also participated in barista competitions. During one competition, Ömer placed fifth out of eighty people. Now that Ömer is living his dream of working as a barista, he is currently hoping to go abroad in the near future in order to educate himself about the coffee industry on a global scale.
Although Ömer dreams big, he likes to reminisce on the smaller moments. For instance, his favorite coffee memories always revolve around guests or customers that drink every last sip of the coffee that he himself brewed. He loves making people happy with the drink that he fell in love with. He gets to share this love with others—from family to friends to strangers. Despite Ömer’s passion for coffee, his favorite part about his work is not the coffee, but the conversations occurring around a cup of coffee. He admires the power of a single cup of coffee, and how that cup can bring people together.
Even though Ömer seems to be living his dreams, it hasn’t always been easy. Ömer did admit that it was difficult to join the industry without any prior experience. He did eventually succeed but it was not without difficulty. Furthermore, some countries and people do not seem to understand the complexity and importance of coffee and the industry, which can make Ömer’s job rather difficult when his work is not respected nor understood.
This lack of understanding and appreciation, however, has slowly begun to diminish over the years. Ömer said,
“Most parts around the world have begun to realize that coffee is a culture and a quality beverage.”
When Ömer is not working and trying two to three different beans a month, he is watching movies, hiking, spending time with his friends, or re-reading his favorite book Momo by Michael Ende.
In closing, Ömer was asked what tidbit of advice would he give to people who are just beginning to understand the coffee industry. He said,
“I suggest viewing coffee as a culture”
rather than a drink or a corporation. It is so much more than a drink; it is a lifestyle.