Coffee Conversations - with Philipp Henauer - Henauer Kaffee

Philipp and I have been friends for a LONG time. We met in 2013 at the World Barista Championship in Melbourne, somewhere backstage. We stayed in touch over the years, and he has been my competition coach since 2016. He is one of the most humble people I have met in the coffee industry, but I'm happy to pick his brain on coffee competitions and what makes a great competitor. He may not be a man of many words, but if you get the chance to have a coffee with him, he will talk your ears off...

Tell us a little bit about yourself,what do you do in your daily life?

Basically I grew up in coffee… However, working in coffee started for me in 2002.

I have the honour to be one of the owners of Henauer kaffee and fun this family owned business with my sister. We run a roastery that is about to become125 years old next year. On top of it we have a great coffee academy.

How do you become a successful competition coach? What was your journey like? I started as a coach in 2011, when a friend of mine asked me to take part together in the competition, me roasting and coaching.

We thought that it would be very easy… but we got proven wrong (just became 3rd) however that changed the momentum and I/we knew to change some things and from then on we got.

Very much into it and started winning the comming years…

For me coaching and organising teams wasn’t new, since I have done it before 12 years in sports…

I think not everyone can be a coach just as not everyone can be a competitor… You need a lot of passion and dedication and of course patience…

You need to learn that you not always win but to fail is ok because you learn and that makes you better next time (if you are willing to improve).

What does it take to win a huge coffee competition like the WBC, in your eyes?

You need a lot of dedication, an iron will to train a huge amount… so to suffer of course at some point, because you will spend a lot in a training room while others may have fun…

Beeing an outgoing person that can stand in front of people to present of corse is a key as you can not easily learn it… but the tech stuff is just will.

Of corse on top of it you need a great team to back you up, because you can not win it all alone!

What does it take for a person to become a great coach?

Love and passion for coffee, dedication, to be a good listener and to read people: what might help them to get better as you can not coach them all the same.

In your eyes, what is the 'perfect competitor' to coach?

To have someone that is down to earth, with time and passion and that is willing to learn.

You must have seen a lot of competitions over the years. Can you tell what the most common mistake is that competitors make?

Not listening.

What role do you think coffee competitions have in the specialty coffee industry?

A small one, but still important one, as they are a great promoter to what specialty can be. (it’s great to advertise it to a larger audience that way).

Furthermore it became an important power in developing better and better coffees on farm level as competitors and roasters wanted them to compete. Of course the same thing was on the technical tool side as baristas wanted to make better coffees.

What is the hardest thing you have had to learn in your work as a coach?

To maybe not take everything too personal but that might be hard if you are involved with your full passion and heart.

If you could give aspiring competitors one piece of advice, what would it be?

Ask yourself what you really want and understand what it means (be honest to yourself).

If you could go back in time 10 years, what would you say to your younger self?

Enjoy the ride !

Follow Philipp on Instagram:

@henauerkaffee / @philipphenauer

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