Karima, a Coffee Master and barista trainer in Canada, on the responsibility of wearing the Black Apron

Karima is a Starbucks barista trainer in Ontario, Canada, where she’s also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work. In her own words below, she shares what it means to become a Coffee Master.

My passion for coffee started when I was pretty young. My dad would let me sip his coffee all the time, so I’ve always enjoyed it but never knew anything about the journey, like what coffee beans are and the process behind it.  

My ‘A-ha’ coffee moment was when I had a pour-over of Caffe Verona®  and a chocolate brownie (warmed of course!) and realized I could actually pick out hints of dark cocoa. 

The Coffee Master program (available for free to the public) is so informative, and you can go at your own pace, whatever you feel comfortable with. It's what you decide to take from it. Be open to learning because the process honestly starts your first day.  

My first week, I learned how to do a pour-over but forgot how to do it properly not long after. Between the support of my team and gaining experience behind the bar, I got the pour-over method down. Next, I started experimenting with different pour-over techniques to bring out other flavors in the coffee. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned – each brewing process will give you different flavors.  

I wouldn’t say I feel any different, wearing the black apron, but I do understand that there’s more responsibility. As Coffee Masters, we need to be there to answer questions and help our partners understand the role they play in the coffee journey.

(Pursuing a bachelor's degree for social work) It’s a really heavy school load, but it’s what I’m passionate about. I’ve always wanted to be in a profession where you’re helping people, and with my personal experiences and the experiences of my family, I realized that we really need more people who look like me to help people like me going through those same issues.


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