Julián Rivera Romano
Pólvora Fábrica de Cafés Especiales
Please tell us a little about yourself:
Coffee is not what I do, it’s how I live. Competition for 9 years has been means to an end… learning and sharing. After competing 5 times, I’m so happy to fulfil my dream of being in the WBrC. My compliments to the amazing team who helped me to accomplish this. I’ve been passionate about coffee since I was 15 years old. Now I have a roastery named Pólvora, which was born out of friendship with my partners, and endless coffee talks. The Chinese meaning for Pólvora (Gunpowder) actually means ‘Medicine of fire’ 🔥. I value that meaning because I’m trying to make people reconnect with themselves with every cup of coffee I brew and serve. Even though I don’t come from a producer family, my goal is to firmly connect the value chain of coffee into specialty practices.
I’m an undergraduate of Chemistry Engineering with a huge willingness to continue learning and sharing knowledge and experience. Any time I’m not brewing, I consider myself a food enthusiast, melomaniac and dancing freak.⌚ Time!
How did you get started in coffee?:
It all started 12 years ago when I heard about the Barista champion of that time. At first I was surprised at 2 things— that someone could be a coffee professional, and that there were coffee championships (really?). So when I finally got to drink coffee from his coffee shop, for a few moments time stopped, but I didn’t know I’d be forever grasped by coffee. Months later his now wife invited me to a coffee course. There I met Salvador Benitez, whose passion and care for coffee inspired me to be a professional in this amazing world!
Please list the coffee competitions you have participated in, what year they took place, and your results:
2010-2011 Mexican Barista Championship – 9th Place (overtime)
2013 Mexican Cup Tasting Championship – 1st Place
2010 Mexican Latte Art Championship – 9th Place
2014 / 2015 / 2015(A) /2016 / 2017 Mexican Brewers Cup – overtime / 6th / 5th / 5th / 1st Place
2017 Opera Games 2017 – 1st Place
What are you excited to do while you are in Brazil?:
Connect with as many coffee people as I can! Not every day are so many champions and so many coffee lovers gathered, so I’m excited to meet all of these professionals. Of course I’d like to try some of the Brazilian food specialities and a little samba to take away nerves! 😉
What was your first amazing experience with coffee?:
During my first roasting class with Manuel Diaz, he introduced what he called an African Profile that he applied to a mocca variety from a botanical garden in Mexico. I just can’t forget the flavors of wild honey, decadent chocolate, strawberry milk, and violets—it blew my mind! I remember how my legs were shaking.
What is your favorite coffee brewing method and why?:
Aeropress. Because it’s fun, challenging, but also simple and easy to clean! I really like how it allows the barista to put their mark on the coffee, or to develop a style of brewing in line with their own taste and philosophy.
What coffee-producing country most interests or excites you?:
Yemen and most East-Africans, but mainly Rwanda.
What are your interests outside of coffee?:
Leadership, human development, chemistry, and the exact sciences. I dance hip-hop and appreciate classical music in my down-time. Getting to know and help other passionate people, particularly if they work in food. 😉
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?:
Traveling around Mexico and Latin America, sharing coffee and my experience with whoever is interested. I see our company growing to be a middle size roastery, with an awesome team and a great standard of living.
Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognize, or who helped you to prepare for the competition?:
Mainly my coach Adán and my other partner, who’ve really believed in me—this makes us an awesome team. Of course AMCCE and president Arturo Hernandez, for making barista’s dream come true. Last but not least, anyone who helped me during this process, intentionally or not. Chad Wang and my dear friend Rubens Gardelli, for being a source of inspiration. Thank you!