Jamiel El-Sharif - Head of Coffee

Jamiel El-Sharif - Head of Coffee

Name and Occupation

My name's Jamiel – Head of Coffee at Rounton Coffee Roasters.

How did you get into coffee?

I got into coffee 12 years ago through my now wife, Hannah. She was quite surprised that I had nothing other than herbal tea to offer! Liking all things fine, I set off on the road to discovering speciality coffee.

What is it that you like about coffee specifically?

What I like about coffee is the whole ritual, from preparation to sharing a cup with a loved one or friend. I like the feel good factor that comes with a good cup of coffee too!

What is your favourite coffee origin, and why?

Over many years talking with Burts, who most patiently answered all of my questions, I discovered I have a definite soft spot for a lighter roast, bright and sweet. Generally a natural coffee from Africa but certainly not limited to. I have the extremely fortunate and novel situation of roasting and sampling coffees from all over the world.

Washed or Natural, and why?

I find natural coffees have an unusually un-coffee like flavour which I quite like. I love the exotic and unexpected flavours that can be found in a great natural coffee.

How do you drink yours?

I am what my wife refers to as a “home coffee hobbyist!” I have a collection of all this coffee taking up more space than it ought to on the kitchen side. At the moment I’m really enjoying the AeroPress and Tricolate.

What is your proudest achievement in coffee?

My proudest achievement in coffee has been having the opportunity to profile some of our Limited Release coffees, like those from Wilton Benitez. Also on the topic of profiling coffee, I’ve also felt proud to have been involved in changing the batch sizes of the coffees we roast and their subsequent re-profiling.

If you were not working in coffee, what would you be doing?

If not heavily involved in coffee, my passion for T’ai-chi would take up more of my time. That being said, a good cup of coffee perfectly rounds off a good T’ai-chi session. I guess I’m blessed to be able to spend my time on the things I love.

If you could change one thing in the coffee industry, what would that be?

My involvement in coffee has broadened my view of the coffee world, particularly how privileged we are in the countries of consumption versus those of production. I know how incredibly hard coffee farmers all over the world work, and how much they do to have the opportunities that we take for granted; like schooling and healthcare for their children. I would like to see more of the initiatives like the ones Rounton are involved in, that ensure coffee farmers are paid a fair price for their coffee.

What do you do away from coffee?

Away from coffee there’s nothing I enjoy more than spending time at home with my family, and practising my T’ai-chi. I love sampling the various coffees from the week’s roasts with my wife, who still humours me every time I grind some coffee and say “here have you smelt that!” I’m fortunate to be happy whether at work with a great team or at home with my lovely family.