Day 4 of TYPICA Annual Meeting took place at Tokyo Big Sight on October 13. The action-packed day culminated with the Final Round of TYPICA GUIDE. All the coffee lovers, including coffee producers, roasters, and consumers cast their vote to recommend truly delicious coffee. The top prize went to Raw Sugar Roast, and the Tokyo-based roastery was named the first ever 3-Star Roaster. The event was also attended by coffee producers who have deep ties with the participating roasters. During the show, each presenter expressed their passion and dedication toward coffee.
As did the previous day, Day 4 featured multiple brewing sessions hosted by roasters from South Korea, the Netherlands, and Germany. Claye Tobin of Uncommon in the Netherlands took the opportunity to provide a learning experience for the audience. On the table, he laid out “normal coffees” and “bad coffees” that usually don’t hit the market because of processing mistakes and other issues. Participants were offered a tasting of each cup, and savored deliciousness from a clearer perspective and with a contrasting point of reference.
TYPICA also unveiled details of TYPICA Club, a monthly subscription service that delivers seasonal coffee with full transparency about its producer. Leon Christianakis of Acacia Hills in Tanzania was among the panelists. He said that TYPICA’s direct trade created a big change by establishing closer relationships between producers and roasters. He noted that he is excited TYPICA Club will take things a step further. He also said that it’s amazing for everyone involved in coffee to be able to build a win-win relationship.
The highlight of TYPICA’s three-day run at SCAJ is the TYPICA GUIDE Final Round, which took place at one of the big stages. TYPICA GUIDE is a guide service that helps coffee lovers to discover truly delicious coffee. It was launched this year as a way to shine the spotlight on roasters, who serve as a bridge between producers and consumers. Before the Final Round, TYPICA’s community managers recommended 118 roasters as 1-Star Roasters. Out of those, seven 2-Star Roasters had been nominated by a panel of Special Nominators, who consist of nine coffee lovers of different nationalities and different professions. They picked one roaster from each of seven regions of Japan based on such criteria as ambition, how roasters started their coffee journey, and their sustainability practices. Around 700 coffee lovers in 28 countries cast their vote, including via advance online voting.
The seven finalists shared their thoughts for producers and their vision during their seven-minute presentations. Yuya Kosakada of Raw Sugar Roast, who won the 3-Star Roaster honor, took the stage last. He explained how he came to know Kenya’s Rockbern Coffee and Bolivia’s Nayra Qata. He proclaimed that roasters are responsible for knowing what is happening in coffee origins and telling the story to the drinker through a cup of coffee.
Among the audience at the Final Round were coffee producers from over 20 countries. The event was broadcast to people all over the world with simultaneous interpretation and online live-streaming.
Heleanna Georgalis of Moplaco in Ethiopia mentioned how young the finalists were, saying that they were all full of passion to achieve their ambition through direct trade. She noted that 10 years ago, she feared if specialty coffee could survive in the coffee industry, but added that seeing the roasters today gave her hope.
Julio Peralta of Peralta Coffees in Nicaragua said he had never seen this many top roasters sharing the same space before. He noted that the event was like a theater show, and that he was excited to anticipate what would happen next. He went on to say that although there was only one winner, he could feel that every finalist tried to put all their identity into a single cup.
After the Final Round, Kosakada and a Special Nominator, Chizuru Muko, executive editor and sustainability director of fashion journal WWDJAPAN, joined a talk session at the TYPICA booth. Muko cited transparency as a common issue for both coffee and fashion. Congratulating Kosakada, Muko said that through Kosakada’s presentation, she could feel the passion of coffee producers she’d never met. She noted that transparency about who is making things in what place and with what thoughts is no longer just a nice thing to have, but something that’s supposed to be there. She said she aligns with TYPICA’s efforts to highlight that value alongside producers’ skills and their coffee’s quality.
Masashi Goto, head of TYPICA, said green coffee and roasting are important aspects to make truly delicious coffee, adding that brewing and customer service are also crucial. He noted that he realized once again that truly delicious coffee is a coffee made with care and compassion. He also revealed plans to launch TYPICA GUIDE in other places where TYPICA has operations, including South Korea, Taiwan, and Europe.
Originally written in Japanese by Takuya Takemoto
Photos by Kenichi Aikawa