As told to ELIZABETH DOERR for 25 Magazine, Issue 3: Online Exclusives.
Ali Fayazi (22, Afghanistan)
I left Afghanistan in June 2016. I couldn’t see a future for myself there and it just wasn’t safe. After a five-year application process, I came to the U.S. by myself leaving my family back in Afghanistan. I miss my family the most. I also miss the annual events and the ceremonies.
It’s like a dream to be living in the United States. It was a really hard application process as it took around five years, but it was worth it. My favorite thing about my new country is the weather. It’s always beautiful weather here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I especially love the four seasons. I also think the people here are nice.
I was a student and a tailor back in Afghanistan. Today I’m a barista at the Dropbox headquarters in San Francisco. I was able to find this job because of the 1951 barista training program. I hadn’t ever tried coffee before the training. I drank tea, though, because that’s what we drink in Afghanistan. Now I love working as a barista, especially being creative with my latte art.
I am planning on going to school next year for computer programming. I would love to stay in coffee as well and eventually own my own coffee business. Knowing about coffee is fun and interesting!
You can follow Ali and his latte art on Instagram @alibarista.
Mouayad Alhabbal (29, Syria)
I arrived in the USA from Syria on December 7, 2016. I had to leave because of the war that continues to go on in my country. I came with my parents, two brothers, and a sister.
I studied French literature and worked for an Internet provider company. I miss almost everything about my country. I’m glad that we left to have a new life without war, but the language is a big challenge.
I learned about 1951’s barista training program from my neighbor because he was in the training class. I enjoyed the experience a lot. And of course I drank coffee before the program. Coffee is absolutely a part of my culture because we can’t wake up in the morning without it.
Now I work at 1951 Coffee’s café. My favorite part of being a barista is meeting new people.
Ahmad Alhabbal (22, Syria)
I had to leave Syria because of the war. My family and I arrived in the U.S. in December 2016. Before leaving Syria, I was a high school student and studied at a media college for two years and participated in a theater workshop in Egypt.
I miss everything about Syria. I have a big extended family and I miss all of them who couldn’t come to the U.S. with us. I miss my friends and my home. I miss my country. It was a challenge to leave everything behind and start over. The language was really difficult. It’s hard when you want to explain something and you have a lot to say about a subject but you can’t get the words across.
I learned about 1951 Coffee from a friend who was working there. The hardest part of the barista training program was learning all the new skills (like pulling espresso, making a cappuccino), but at the same time that’s what I enjoyed about it. I loved learning something new.
Of course I drank coffee back in Syria! We used to drink tiny Turkish coffees every morning and sometimes during the day.
Now I work at Blue Bottle Coffee Company in San Francisco. The most amazing part of my job is when I see people smiling. I am so grateful to the 1951 crew. They have been so helpful with everything.
I eventually would like to graduate from University as a filmmaker. I would also like to develop myself more in the coffee world. While making films, I would also like to open my own coffee company.
Freedom Through Coffee
Have you enjoyed these mini-profiles? You can read more about the refugees trained by 1951 Coffee Company on scanews.coffee.
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