Barista Magazine

JUN-JUL 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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61 www.baristamagazine.com "I knew how to produce coffee [from the] internet or some books. But here was real coffee. Finally, I real- ized what coffee is and how beautiful it is. I felt I found my missing piece." For Miki, coffee is about much more than creat- ing a beverage: It's about community, and her trip to Colombia really drove that feeling home. "That was my first cupping table in a producing coun- try," she says. "There were many sample coffees from [the] same area. The taste was similar but the quality was different. Producers watched us cupping with super-serious and nervous [expres- sions]. I realized [then] how important and difficult it is to have cupping skills to get good coffee and have good relationship with producers. I finally understood what Kentaro (whose decades of work with producers via the Cup of Excellence program is beyond compare) did with the producers. Coffee buying is not only to buy coffee, but also [to] create a relationship with people." At the WBC in Bogotá, Miki made it to the fi nals and fi nished in fi fth place. She was pleased, but also—as you should know by now about Miki—was determined to try again and do even better. She competed in the JBC the following year and won, sending her to the 2012 WBC in Vienna. There she again made it to the fi nal round, and this time took fourth place. Much like her fi rst-ever competition, however, she says that though on the surface it was an accomplishment, she was disappointed all the same. "I got a great success as fourth place in Vienna," she

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