Samson Kibunja – barista, latte art throwdown competitor, and judge – grew up with coffee beans in lifeblood. Ever since he was a child, he would recall visiting his grandfather, who was a coffee producer. He would see the cherries being harvested, dried, and then taken to the coffee mill.
However, his coffee journey only started in 2014, wherewith his friend’s encouragement, he enrolled in barista school. Since then, he has swiftly moved up in the ranks to become a well-respected barista competition judge in both Kenya and the United Arab Emirates.
“Call me Slick,” says Samson, with a smile. Slick is an acronym for Samson’s values – service, loyalty, integrity, consistency, and knowledge, which he feels also embodies specialty coffee – coffee which is produced with integrity and consistency, remaining loyal to its origins and to the hard workers who contribute to its growth and spreading knowledge through service to customers to share the experience of a good cup of coffee.
When asked about his experience as a barista, he told us that being a barista is fun, as he has the opportunity to change or brighten people’s moods through a magical cup of coffee. “My barista journey which started as a career… later changed to passion and fun” he says. Being a barista is not just about making a cappuccino; it is about making someone smile with the love and care of a perfectly brewed cup.
During his coffee journey, it has not always been smooth sailing. There were difficulties to overcome, including having to leave his home country, working with people who did not value his knowledge, expensive coffee courses, and on a lighter note, seeing someone put sugar in a cup of coffee that he brewed.
As things are getting better and back on the stack, Slick wants to have his own coffee shop, a school, and a campsite to empower young men with SLICK values, business skills, and a love for Jesus. Specialty coffee means for him “slick” love to the world.
Besides coffee, he loves meeting new friends and meeting new people so you can always visit XO Coffee Boutique and say hi. He also enjoys photography, cycling, traveling, and having adventures. He is a person who likes to see things from all perspectives.