“Crafted for the Special One
Three years ago, Mohamed Helmi was an engineer. Today, he is the CEO, roaster and founder of Arkib Kopi, an online specialty roastery based in Kuala Lumpur that prides itself as one of the first to use the Malay language as a medium of communication.
We first tasted Helmi’s coffee during the Indie Coffee Fest 2018 and two words came to our mind – passionate and meticulous – which is no surprise now after knowing his background.
As an engineer working for a multi-national company, Helmi explained that his previous job required him to travel frequently.
While he was initially excited with the opportunity to travel, the frequent jet-lag made his already demanding career even more stressful.
In 2016, he finally quit his job and decided to take a break. On a whim, he took up a part time gig as a kitchen crew at Sprezzaturra Coffee. Never did he expect that this seemingly innocent decision will lead him to realize his true passion.
Helmi is keen to emphasize how many people he has been lucky enough to meet during his journey.
“I didn’t care much about coffee before working in Sprezza.” says Helmi. “Looking back now, I feel very lucky to have met mentors like Jamie and Mirwan who introduced a whole new world of coffee to me.”
With his careful attention to details and obsession with learning, he quickly worked his way up in Sprezzaturra as barista and subsequently as an assistant roaster within a year.
As an avid brewer, he also started participating in brewing competitions and in fact, bagged a few medals in Brewers Cup Throwdown and Malaysia Aeropress Championship.
Encouraged by his mentors, Helmi left Sprezzatura and founded Arkib Kopi in 2017 to pursue his vision of introducing specialty coffee to more people in Malaysia.
The Huky 500 roaster is Helmi’s machine of choice.
The Huky 500 is a roaster that is growing in popularity among specialty coffee enthusiasts and professionals. It is ostensibly “hand-made” by Mr. Kuanho Li, a machinist based in Taiwan.
As the name suggest, this active-ventilated drum roaster can roast about 500 grams of coffee per batch with the ability for continuous roasting.
“I like how consistent this machine is. Once you have figured out its quirks, you can easily reproduce and tweak the roasting profile with this roaster,” says Helmi.
Helmi believes that each person’s idea of a good coffee is different and it is his job as a roaster to cater to their preferences.
True to their tagline “crafted for the special one”, each bag of coffee roasted by Arkib is customized according to the customer’s request.
“When I first started brewing, I was frustrated by how difficult it was to find coffee beans that fulfill all my criterias,” says Helmi.
“Through Arkib, I want my customers to experience the privilege of custom roasting regardless of their order quantity.”