Kimberly Maduro was picked by Starbucks Aruba to represent Aruba’s three busy stores, at the Starbucks Annual Barista Championship, Latin American and Caribbean, in Bogota, Colombia recently. The bright and intelligent young lady, 24, has been working at the Seaport Marketplace cafe, for about three years.
Kimberly did not disappoint her colleagues in Colombia. She managed to beat most other competitors, coming into 2nd place for the finals, battling coffee masters from around the region, and career baristas, landing the coveted embroidered apron which will forever confirm her status, as a Champion Starbucks Barista.
She remembers applying for work at Starbucks, following her mother’s suggestion, and when she was immediately accepted, she reciprocated with great enthusiasm, learning all procedures in just two week, and handling the coffee bar and its endless options and variations like a pro, from the get go.
The experience in Colombia, she says, as guest of Starbucks, was a life changing event. While she was passionate about coffee before, now that she has witnessed the berry’s complex journey from a hillside bush to a delicious cup of coffee, she is more at awe and more appreciative of the effort and dedication that go into every one of the 400 craft beverages served at the café every day.
In Colombia, the fifteen invited baristas also spent some time in a Finca, a coffee growing plantation, where they participated in the life of the farmers, gaining insight into the intricacy of growing a superb bean that will deliver the coffee drinking experience Starbucks’ guests deserves.
Kimberly explains she will never forget those humble, hard-working farmers she met, and the lessons they taught her about perseverance, and tenacity. Their story resonated in her, because as a single mother, who also goes to school, her third year of Mavo, she intends to continue into Havo, juggling motherhood, work and studies, with equal determination.
While she truly embraces the science of coffee, she marries it with the passion of a consummate barista. It’s the attitude you invest in it, she says, it must always be perfect, hot or cold, fancy or plain, if made with love, it is immensely gratifying. As baristas, she states, it’s the passion for coffee that unites us.