Sometimes, Great is about taking the path less trodden. Take Shaun Liew for instance – a university lecturer who made the career switch to become a barista. Despite people questioning his career move, Shaun defied all limitations and became the Malaysia Brewers Cup Champion of 2017 and 2019. Today, he’s also the co-founder of his own cafe where he shares his love for coffee and mentors the next generation of baristas in Malaysia
What made you want to enter the coffee industry?
It all started with a coffee and tea academy at the university I worked at. My friend, who was a barista champion then, served me an espresso shot which tasted like blueberry jam! That was when I really fell in love with how experimental coffee can be – you can do so many things with it.
How was it like making the career switch?
Jumping from the lecturing world to the coffee industry was really daunting. People were asking me why I was going back to operations as a barista. But I decided to stay humble and take my time to hone my craft. Being in coffee competitions also propelled me to where I am today as it forced me to develop my skills in a short period of time.
"Being Great is about being a champion. But being a champion isn’t always about you. It’s about a team."
What drives you to Reach for Great?
One key thing that drives me to Reach for Great every day is my family. I want to be able to provide the best for my loved ones so that I can give them a better future and the freedom to pursue their dreams. Besides that, I also want to be able to provide the best career opportunities for my team, because they are like my second family. All these things push me to do better and be better.
What are your hopes for the future?
My dream is to see my brand in all parts of the world, filled with coffee lovers of all ages – young and old. At the same time, I hope to be able to groom and mentor the next generation of baristas to lead our brand and take the coffee industry to the next level.