How Jibbi Little turned her world-renowned barista status into a business empire

Jibbi Little

Rawirat Techasitthanet, better known as Jibbi Little, explains her journey through the specialty coffee industry and how she turned her world-renowned barista status into a business empire.

If you’re no stranger to the Australian specialty coffee scene, chances are you’ve heard of the accomplished barista and coffee professional Jibbi Little. She’s established, has a loyal following and a consumer base spanning the country, but her passion and vision makes it feel like she’s just getting started.

“A lot has happened since I made my first coffee as a barista. I’ve grown up a lot, found my way and my purpose in the world,” Jibbi says.

Jibbi’s dedication to the coffee industry began when she moved from Thailand to Sydney, New South Wales in 2007. She was working part-time at The Coffee Club while studying when she discovered her love of latte art and quickly gained recognition for her talented designs.

“I initially took the job for financial support during my studies, but I soon discovered that latte art fascinated me with its creative aspects. Coffee became an avenue for continuous learning and growth for me,” Jibbi says.

In 2017, Jibbi expanded her craft by becoming a coffee roaster and launched her own brand, Jibbi Little Coffee Roasters. This decision allowed her to further explore her creativity and introduce new flavours to the market. Since then, she has been awarded 31 medals in various coffee roasting competitions including the Golden Bean Coffee Roasting Competition and Australian International Coffee Awards.

“I started roasting coffee to deepen my understanding of every aspect of coffee, including extraction, grinding, taste, variety and roasting. It also allowed me to expand my income streams,” says Jibbi.

“One of the things I love about being a coffee roaster is crafting the best coffee experience and expressing my creativity, but roasting under my own brand is my favourite part.”

A recipe for success

Jibbi has achieved numerous accolades in various coffee competitions that have established her as a leading figure in the industry. In 2019, she won the Australian Latte Art Championship and placed 11th in the World Latte Art Championship. Jibbi says some of her fondest memories in her coffee career are winning the 2022 World AeroPress Championship and 2023 Australian Comandante Championship.

“For a decade, my goal has been to focus on personal growth because I want to live a more purposeful life. Every year, I like to join a coffee competition, as I learn lessons through my mistakes. For me, coffee competitions are about self-growth and self- improvement. The mistakes I have learned from them have been worth it,” says Jibbi.

Jibbi describes her approach to competing involves thorough research on the format, rules, and winning history of the competition, and focusing on innovative ideas to elevate the taste of coffee.

“I’m always eager to showcase my identity through latte art, make customers happy and challenge myself to overcome stage fright,” she says.

Jibbi’s most recent victory was achieved at the 2023 Melbourne International Coffee Expo, where she won the inaugural Australia’s Richest Barista competition and claimed $25,000 in prize money. The event was a knock-out format, fast-paced competition designed to exhibit incredible barista talent to the global coffee industry.

“Winning the Australia’s Richest Barista competition was a source of great pride for me, given that it demanded a fusion of skills from multiple coffee competitions, including the barista, latte art, and cup tasters competitions, with formats quite similar to those on the global stage,” Jibbi says.

“With my winnings, I hope to open my own coffee shop in Sydney.”

Jibbi entered the competition to demonstrate her skills in all aspects of coffee preparation and tasting. She faced her biggest challenge head-on, the barista category round and her “Achilles’ heel”, triangulation cup tasting.

“I usually have problems with barista competitions, especially with cup tasting,” she says. “This competition, I wanted to prove I could fix my problems. I knew all I had to do was trust and believe in myself.”

From vision to creation

Jibbi is not only skilled as a barista and latte art specialist, but she is also the founder and chief designer of the Jibbijug milk pitcher. Conceptualised in 2016, Jibbi says she was driven by a desire to create a unique jug design that aided herself and other baristas in pouring intricate latte art patterns.

“The Jibbijug has been meticulously crafted with versatility in mind, aimed at solving the customer’s problems with a product that excels in performance, aesthetic and purpose. The product is not only functional, but also effortlessly stylish and is the go-to choice for coffee professionals everywhere,” she says.

Jibbi says the signature embossing on the jug originated from requests for autographs on milk pitchers.

“During the development stage, I decided to use an original swan design instead of my signature on the Eagle spout Jibbijug, a pattern that helped me win the 2016 New South Wales Latte Art Championship. Jibbijug was the first brand to engrave its logo into the metal, ensuring the highest quality and durability. Combining the embossed idea with the swan design played a pivotal role in establishing the Jibbijug brand as it is known today,” she says.

Going beyond the standard options, Jibbi says her commitment to meeting specific design needs for cafés has evolved.

“Elegant patterns and ergonomic functionality have led to the creation of various versions, catering for specific needs including a small or big handle and varied weighted jugs to suit any trend,” she says.

“Our focus is on a lightweight jug for easy control and less effort in latte art. I’m also keen to improve colour coatings, polishing and design each year for the highest-quality jug that complements latte art.”

Jibbi adds that Jibbijug’s seven-year presence in a competitive market reflects strong loyalty from customers who appreciate the jug’s unique design and limited availability, adding significant value to the brand.

“Customers connect with Jibbijug because of its elegant swan logo and the jug’s capability to boost their confidence in crafting delicate lines, simplifying the practice of latte art. The pointed spout provides better control for precise latte art designs,” she says.

“Seeing Jibbijug widely used, especially by less experienced baristas, brings me immense happiness, as Jibbijug stands for perseverance and always giving it your all.”

In addition to her competition triumphs and entrepreneurial ventures, Jibbi also serves as a Cup of Excellence (CoE) Judge, Q-grader and Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) Sensory Judge. She has judged events such as the 2022 and 2023 International CoE Sensory competition, the 2023 Brewers Cup Smackdown in Sydney, The Alternative Dairy Co. Barista Smackdown in 2023, as well as the 2023 Australian AeroPress New South Wales heat.

“Judging is a fantastic way to network with other coffee professionals and develop your palate, technical proficiency and the art of giving constructive feedback. The process of judging my peers, giving them honest feedback, and having them respect that feedback, is deeply rewarding,” Jibbi says.

Jibbi looks forward to continuing to grow her roasting and milk pitcher businesses, as well as helping junior baristas unlock their full potential.

“I host coffee training classes and seize the opportunity to share my knowledge and positive energy with new baristas in the coffee industry,” she says.

“My advice to anyone looking to upskill or compete is to dive wholeheartedly into the category you are passionate about, and dedicate yourself to thorough study, in-depth research and a practice routine like never before.”

Almost 20-years into her coffee career, Jibbi always has her eye on opportunity and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

“My journey in the past few years has encompassed personally putting hours of effort into tasting, cupping, designing and brewing coffee to achieve premium results,” Jibbi says.

“To all of my latte art followers who know me as Jibbi Little ‘The Latte Art Queen’; my roasting has not taken my focus away from latte art but allowed me to enhance my complete experience from bean to cup.”

This article appears in the December 2023 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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