The Sum of Us: Praveena - Coffee Category Manager

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We have a saying around Royal Cup: "It is not the some of us, but the sum of us who make the difference".

That being said, we love to feature the different faces around Royal Cup in our monthly employee spotlight, which we call The Sum of Us.

This month we talk with Praveena Sundarraj, who's our coffee category manager in Birmingham, Alabama. Praveena recently joined the marketing team, and comes all the way from India, where she grew up on a tea farm and worked in sales and marketing for luxury hotels. We're excited to have her on board, and we know her extensive background in hospitality will help Royal Cup better serve our hotel customers!

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Praveena Sundarraj. I'm currently in my second month working as the coffee category manager in Royal Cup's Birmingham office. I'm a mountain girl from the western Ghats of South India. I grew up on a tea farm in Nilgiris, a region famous for its tea. 

What do you do in your current role?

Some of my responsibilities include ensuring that we're sourcing the best coffee from around the world, developing new products, serving as a category expert to national accounts in new business opportunities, and developing a strategy to strengthen Royal Cup's positioning in the coffee category.

What's the best part of your job?

The endless coffee, the scope for learning and development, the work culture and most importantly the people - they treat you like family and there’s never a dull day at Royal Cup!

What is one upcoming trend you see emerging in the coffee market?

Cold Brew. The process of making the cold brew is really an art and needs to be well-crafted. Everyone wants their coffee to be an artisan’s work! The cold brew segment has already shown immense growth, and I am excited to see the spotlight it will receive in 2017.

If you could give coffee drinkers one piece of preparation advice what would it be?

Use the right amount of coffee grounds to get the maximum taste out of the coffee. (RELATED: What Size Grind Should You Use for Your Coffee?)

If you could only drink one Royal Cup product for the rest of your life what would it be?

There’s no settling for one cup of coffee, as your palette craves different kinds of coffees depending on time of day, mood, the weather, etc. I seek comfort in the medium roast and bold flavors of H.C. Valentine Kenya AA Flametree during these cold winter mornings, but after lunch nothing makes sense without a shot of our H.C. Valentine signature espresso. It’s no different from the world of fine wine -- there’s no limit in the coffee world.

What does Royal Cup represent to you?

To me, Royal Cup represents an army set out to build a great coffee culture that opens the minds and souls of our customers that there’s no "regular" coffee -- we upgrade their regular to extraordinary!