I had the opportunity and pleasure to work with Coffee Lab Maldives this Winter period in Hulhumale, Maldives. Pioneering the specialty coffee industry in the coutnry, the company started in 2014 and opened a beachside café the following year. Café culture is quite established in the Maldives but the coffee has always been low grade or instant. Introducing the “Third Wave” of coffee culture included dignifying the career of barista, educating the public on the basics of coffee and particulars of specialty coffee, developing in-house roasting, importing high quality food products, and fostering a compassionate community toward development.
The main tasks of my training were point-of-sales analysis and practical support in the café. I inundated myself with every aspect of café operations while at the same time monitoring sales statistics. This helped me begin to think like an entrepreneur and to understand many nuances of the business, as well as trouble shoot issues of work flow and customer service. Also working closely with the owner and CEO gave me many insights to issues that are invisible on the surface, such as decision making, resource allotment, matters of power distance and innumerable cultural manifestations.
Throughout the practical training I was able to consult with the CEO and participate in meetings to develop the practices and functions of the company. I was also able to submit a final summary of meaningful findings from the point-of-sales analysis. While I believe that the company benefited from my presence, I know that I am the main benefactor of my time as I learned and grew both professionally and personally.