My name is Fenkil Asghedom, an Eritrean by Nationality, who grew up in a society of coffee lovers and consumers. My journey in coffee has been a long time coming, I was dreaming and thinking of this day since 17 years ago, while I was still in Eritrea. I have been active in the coffee industry since 2012 in Uganda where I set up business. I wanted to do the Q Grader course. in order achieve and master my traditional cupping skills and grow them into professional skills in the specialty coffee industry.
I looked around and called a few people at the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, and they led me to my instructor Mbula Musau who coincidentally I had met in Uganda years earlier as a customer in my restaurant business. I later learnt that she set up a training lab in Kenya, and I made the choice to do my Q Grader course with her on the next available opportunity. In addition, I chose Utake Coffee as a
venue because it was convenient for me logistics-wise, right here at origin, and in Africa!
The day of the course finally arrived, and my experience was something I will live to remember. Let me summarize my experience during the course- On the low side, the distance from where I reside in Nairobi was rather far and the commute was challenging as I was setting up a new business a distance away from the venue. The famous Nairobi traffic was time consuming and got me very tired the first few days. Maybe it was a result of the combination with the very demanding daily Q course activities! Eventually I decided to stay at a recommended hotel near the lab with most of the other participants, and that made a big difference. On the high side, the learning and winning spirit among the trainees was amazing. We developed tips for better understanding that were unique to just our cohort!
After 3 days of intensive training and practice and an additional 3 of taking exams and retakes, I embraced success! To have passed on first attempt rekindled the passion and love for what I am doing as a coffee entrepreneur. Success comes from passion, hard work, concentration and consistency. I am reminded to apply the same principles in my business and share them with my employees and customers.
Since I took the course, a lot has changed. I now know with accuracy, the specialty coffee standards, identifying coffee grades, developing roast profiles and brewing mechanisms, to name but a few. This is key in my coffee business. The future is bright. I have already started out in specialty coffee with my new venture, Kesh Kesh Coffee Roastery in Nairobi. I am planning to contribute greatly to the East African market with specialty coffee. My expectation is seeing specialty coffee industry growing in Africa and the world.
For anyone who would wish to take the course, I encourage them to dare to dream, and be of courage. The course is very important for the people who are working in coffee or planning to get into coffee in the future due to the awareness it creates, that I can testify to. There is also a growing demand of specialty coffee in the world. So join us in seizing the moment!