For Choy Leng Loo - Leng Leng to her friends - it was love at first sight. “While pursuing my Food Science and Nutrition degree, a friend offered me a mesmerizing coffee with rosetta latte art” she recalls. “That was when my passion for coffee was ignited.”
Since that moment, Leng Leng has been on a mission to learn everything about the coffee journey, from seed to cup.
Grounded in the basics
While working in the green coffee sourcing and roasting business, she had visited coffee farms in India and Indonesia. Speaking directly with the farmers and owners gave her inspiring insights into coffee growing.
“Not many baristas have the opportunity to visit a farm and witness the situation with their own eyes. Because of that experience, I feel strongly that we need to support and help give the farmers a voice.”
Learning coffee roasting was also a challenge. “Roasting is very complex and an art; you need to manage multiple roasting parameters that impact the taste” she explained, “it is very challenging to deliver a consistent coffee profile.”
Elevating the barista experience
Wanting to develop her barista skills led her to be certified in SCA Barista, SCA Brewing and AST Trainer. Leng Leng participated in the Malaysian Coffee Championships, as a top finalist for 3 consecutive years as well as a head judge, coach, and trainer for developing baristas.
“The competition experience has given me a greater purpose to lead and help to develop the skills in the passionate younger baristas so they can excel in the coffee competition.”
Inspiring customers with her coffee passion and knowledge
Leng Leng is now the Master Barista at Nestlé Professional Malaysia. She thrives as a coffee trainer and beverage specialist, imparting her deep and rich coffee knowledge, while helping customers expand their skills.
She works closely with the marketing team to translate beverage insights into various creative ideas and works hand-in-hand with the sales team to present the concepts to customers.
“These days, customers are getting more knowledgeable as everyone has access to the internet. Hence, I constantly taking time to engage with the customers to have more in depth communication not just about coffee, but also about the coffee bar setup and operation.”
The future is bright
Leng Leng is excited to see more women leading in coffee roles like baristas, roasters and directors. “I’m a big fan of Miki Suzuki, who is three times Japan Barista Champion,” she explains. “Her dedication and warm customer service inspired me to be a greater barista.”
At the end of the day, Leng Leng believes that there is no greater reward than taking pride in every cup. “My sincere advice would be to treat every task with respect, regardless of its size,” she explains. “The barista is the last person in the seed-to-cup journey. It is our job to represent the farmers, buyers and roasters. We simply need to use our craft to serve a perfect cup of coffee.”