Coffee Adventurer: Mariam Erin Pinza

We believe that coffee is an everyday adventure — and every person choosing to embark on this passionate pursuit of discovery has their own story to tell. This is what inspired us to start the Coffee Adventurer series, because we believe that these stories are worth sharing to continuously inspire a growing community of passionate coffee lovers. 

One thing that drew us in even more to the coffee community is how everyone seems so seamlessly connected to each other. Regardless of where they’re from, what their background or experience is, the coffee community always creates space for anyone who wants to be a part of it. It’s a community that constantly supports growth, curiosity, and development. 

For our very first #CoffeeAdventurer series, we talked to Mariam Erin Pinza — an artist, a champion brewer, and a certified Coffee Adventurer.

Meet Mariam Erin Pinza - 2021 UAE Brewers Cup Champion

Meet Mariam Erin Pinza, our first ever feature for our #CoffeeAdventurer series. She’s the 2021 UAE Brewer’s Cup Champion and the UAE Cezve Ibrik Champ for this year. While accomplishing all of that, she also works as the Quality Control Head at Seven Fortunes Espresso Bar & Roastery in Dubai. 

Hailing from Quezon Province in the Philippines, Mariam Erin is a self-taught artist who finished a degree in Bachelor of Science in Food Technology. She’s an accomplished painter, coming from a family of artists including her 3 older brothers who are all involved in the arts and engineering. 

However, it wasn’t until 2018 that she got into the world of specialty coffee. With her background in food science and art, learning more about the craft of specialty coffee came naturally, especially when she landed a job at The Espresso Lab.

Living in UAE also provided her with the perfect environment to harness her skills, given that there’s a fast growing community of specialty coffee lovers and professionals in the country. Right now, Mariam’s continuously training and preparing to represent the country for upcoming Brewer’s Cup competitions. We recently had the chance to talk to her unique coffee journey and what being a #coffeeadventurer means for her.

"If you really drive to pursue your passion and your heart, it will always lead to your purpose."

Think back to how your adventure into specialty coffee first started. As they always say, ‘it’s not about destination, but the journey that makes it all worthwhile’. Was there a memorable moment or experience that really stands out? 

Mariam: "I totally agree, and to be honest I feel like I’m still living the part of my life which will be memorable in the future that I can look back, and that is to be able to share the fun art of the coffee journey and community towards good cup of coffee that we are aiming for everyday. The whole process is so artistic–to be able to share it with people whether it’s coffee competition or just everyday life. I feel like I’m still living the moment."

The best adventures are often the ones that are unplanned–the ones that lead us to new, unforgettable experiences when we least expect it. What’s something new you discovered through your coffee adventure?

Mariam: "Oh wow, I feel like it’s too many to mention but it was a twist for me, to my career specially, as I was working in a food laboratory before for few years before i entered coffee industry just because of fact that I need to work outside the country to be compensated better, so as I enter in food service industry as barista, that’s where I opened my eyes and realized that coffee is not as simple as pulling a shot, but to be exposed to the facts that coffee is something that includes science and art, I feel so connected because it make me feels like I didn’t really move out from my field of studies, it’s just that I move into a more fun environment. Coffee itself is a never ending fun learning experience each day, and the more you know, the more you don’t know. It was a surprise to my family that I shifted careers but it all make sense now, and made me think that if you really drive to pursue your passion and your heart, it will always lead to your purpose."

What I love about the coffee community is the diverse backgrounds and talents of each person I meet. As a coffee adventurer, could you share more about any interesting passion projects or hobbies you’re involved in? 

Mariam: "I do a little bit of painting on the side, even though our day job can very demanding, I make sure that I always have time to express myself through colors and canvas. I do art exhibitions and joined few galleries to display my artwork. It’s always been a part of me, wherever my passion will lead me. 

I'm an artist and I think that’s a big factor how I look at the coffee industry.

Coffee is part of every artwork that I make or vice versa––every aspect in coffee seems so artistic, and it always excites me to think that way. Connecting to people, expanding my coffee knowledge and making art become part of myself."

You and your team won the 2021 UAE Brewers Cup Championship with an amazing roast from Ninety Plus Coffee. What made you and your team decide to use the AVENSI sensory glasses to present your brew to the judges?

Mariam: "I can say that it really enhances the experience of enjoying the coffee by appreciating the aroma more through the design of Avensi, by amplifying the aroma indeed in a very sophisticated design 😍

Aroma is very essential in the whole sensory experience so it’s all intertwined. It gives extra on what I needed most: enhancing the sensory experience aesthetically and efficiently.

The aesthetic is very sophisticated but suits all occasions and drink, it’s very friendly to use as it holds up the temperature yet you can hold it by your hand too from hot to cold."

"There’s no big crowd of competitors, its just you vs. you, so become the best version of you each day and everything will follow. Create the best coffee story for yourself, because every story is unique from one another––it's incomparable."

What does it mean to you to be a ‘Coffee Adventurer’?

Mariam: "I guess everyone in this coffee industry can be considered as a 'coffee adventurer', as it represents the journey of a person, and we all have that story to inspire others or to at least share an experience. For example, myself, 6 years back I was never even imagining the life that I’m living right now in this coffee industry. From being Food technologist to becoming coffee obsessed person. Not just by drinking, but the whole concept of being part of the coffee community. I can truly attest that your passion will lead you to your purpose, even planned or unplanned."

What’s one tip you’d like to share with your fellow coffee adventurers when it comes to starting or continuing on this never ending journey that we all share?

Mariam: "I always say that everyone must start somewhere, so it doesn’t make you small if you just started your 1st pour-over today. What matters is how consistent you are on your journey. It’s always a matter of choice, we choose to love what we started and what we can do more about it . Competition became my platform of sharing my story, and to be able to share with people how I see coffee through art. And it doesn’t have to be the same with you or anyone, we create our own story, and we decide how to sustain it or handle the next adventure of your journey. And as I always say, there’s no big crowd of competitors, its just you vs. you, so become the best version of you each day and everything will follow. Create the best coffee story for yourself, because every story is unique from one another––it's incomparable."

Being a coffee adventurer not only relates to one person’s love for coffee. It’s a holistic experience that ties in a person’s passions — and specialty coffee just happens to be one of them. For Mariam, her career in coffee has become an extension of her love for creating art. And through it, she’s able to inspire and send a message to the world — a message that honors every person’s unique journey and perseverance. 

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