Asmiriam Roa cofounder Miss Coco & Alba Chocolatier

Asmiriam Roa -Miss Coco & Alba Chocolatier

Asmiriam Roa – Co-founder of Miss Coco & Alba Chocolatier

In this interview, Asmiriam Roa, co-founder of Miss Coco & Alba Chocolatier, shares insight into the industry and some professional learnings.

What do you do?

I’m the co-founder of Miss Coco and Alba Chocolatier. I manage both brands, so I do a little bit of everything, from creating the menu to managing the daily operations (preparing coffee, food, and chocolate) to handling sales, staff, social media, etc.

How did you get into the industry?

I started in this industry because I started travelling Europe after school, and everywhere I went, I saw Venezuelan cacao and Colombian coffee, which kept ringing in my mind. I decided I wanted to become a chocolate maker. After I studied law school, I went for my career as a chef and saved some money to study for my master’s in chocolate. Only after that did I become more interested in coffee and started to learn about it.

Share with us a story from behind the scenes.

Our guasacaca (Venezuelan house avocado coriander sauce) is so good that one day, it was finishing too fast, and we didn’t understand why. The portion service size was standardized until one of our team members said it was so good that I think I’m the problem. I’m serving a bit more most of the time because I want the customers to enjoy it a lot. Now, he is following the SOP, but we are always open to offering more if customers want.

What food memory from your childhood or travels stands out?

I have one from my childhood when my grandpa used to take me around with him and gave me a coffee with pan Andino (in Venezuela, we drank coffee since we were kids, so it was really normal), and I remember the smell and the taste also because it was with him.

What’s the best/ worst part of your job?

The best part is that we support farmers, baristas, and chocolate makers in their careers. I get to do what I love, and most importantly, I get to see the faces of the people who enjoy our products when they like them. It is satisfying.
The worst part is how physically demanding the food and beverage industry is. Many, many hours are spent standing, especially in high season.

What’s one of Asmiriam Roa’s favourite food and beverage pairings?

Our coffee and chocolate, haha. One of the things I’m enjoying offering now is our high-speciality coffee and chocolate pairing. They both work so well together.

What’s one of the scariest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?

One of the scariest things I have faced these past years is that we had a huge order to complete, and we were making the chocolate to complete it. It was also one of the first times we had used big machines, and suddenly, the machines stopped working. We tried to clean it, and we ended up with chocolate all over us and on the floor. It was a mess. Eventually, after one day, we managed to understand what happened, fix it, and finish the order on time.

The perfect day off would be …

Wake up after 7:30 (I usually wake up before that), have a nice breakfast and go for a walk or swim. Have a nice day reading.

What does Asmiriam Roa do for fun?

I go for walks with my cat; yes, my cat loves it. I also meet good friends and play PS5.

What’s something you’d like guests to know about Miss Coco?

In Miss Coco, we want people to enjoy life. We want people to feel they have a place to feel safe, heard, and comfy, and on top of that, they can experience great chocolate and coffee.

How have you grown in your profession? What have you learned from your start in the industry until now? Are there any misconceptions?

I feel that I have learned many things since I started. Thanks to my mentor and business partner, I have also learned a lot about business these last couple of years. I know now that sometimes people see the coffee shops as hobbies and pass times, but they don’t see the potential to grow and expand. I learned the importance of hospitality and service, which is what we want to show at Miss Coco.
One misconception about my job is that I’m a chocolate maker and barista. I should only be one or choose one, but why not have both? I can learn how to improve in one, but understanding each of these products is what I feel makes me unique.

What would you like people to know about being a chocolate maker and coffee roaster as a profession?

It is great if you enjoy making people happy. It is great as it is tough. It is nice to make good coffee and chocolate and enjoy it and smell like that every day, but it also requires long hours of standing up and a lot of rush hours, so you also need to have a balance.

What’s your view on the bean-to-bar chocolate and specialty coffee scene in Kuala Lumpur?

Kuala Lumpur has great places serving specialty coffee and bean-to-bar chocolate, but we are the first to offer high specialty coffee with bean-to-bar chocolate, all roasted and made by us.

What practices do you currently implement or hope to implement to work towards social responsibility and sustainability in the future?

We practice direct trade with cacao and coffee farmers, and in chocolate, we have zero wastage because we also use cacao husks.

What can guests look forward to in the upcoming months?

They can expect more events, open mics, new drinks and larger food menu to share and new coffee varieties.

Read more interviews with people in the hospitality industry here, like Asmiriam Roa, and stay updated with the latest gourmet and travel recommendations on The Yum List on Facebook here and The Yum List on Instagram here. 

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