TYPICA Annual Meeting came to a close at Tokyo Big Sight on October 14. Coffee producers, roasters, and consumers represented their countries at the TYPICA booth at SCAJ, deepening their relationships through cuppings and presentations.
The final day kicked off with a talk session between Atsushi Yukutake of independent specialty coffee magazine Standart and TYPICA’s chief representative Masashi Goto. Yukutake has known Goto since before he founded TYPICA in 2019. Yukutake was also involved in TYPICA’s promotional tour, where TYPICA hosted cuppings for roasters in seven cities across Japan. Asked what he thought when he first heard about Goto’s plans for TYPICA, Yukutake said that Goto’s vision was so grandiose that he couldn’t wrap his head around it at first. But Yukutake added that after multiple meetings with Goto, “I began to realize he wasn’t joking,” Yukutake said, inviting laughter from the audience.
Standart has a dedicated readership across 70 countries. TYPICA, meanwhile, runs a web magazine to tell the stories of coffee producers and roasters worldwide. As fellow media content creators, Yukutake and Goto touched on the work of editing. Yukutake said that Standart’s concept is to make cafe experiences into a magazine content. He noted that when people are at cafes, they talk about various topics centered around coffee. He said that in the same way, Standart writes about history, business, and art. He added that during interviews, he doesn’t focus on coffee, but on what the interviewee is passionate about outside of coffee. He went on to say that he is not interested in where the person works or what he or she does, but more interested to know a story behind the person and show their personal side to readers.
The highlight of the day was a cupping session, the final program at the TYPICA booth. A throng of curious crowds gathered around Nayra Qata coffee producers from Bolivia, who hosted Japanese roasters on a TYPICA Lab trip in September. The producers took turns explaining the varieties and their efforts around coffee production in Spanish. Celso of Gorrion, who has won Bolivia’s presidential cup, Bolivia’s equivalent of the Cup of Excellence, recounted the days when the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to coffee exports from Bolivia. Expressing his gratitude, he said that he is happy to see so many roasters cup his coffee in front of him.
Ernest, a member of TYPICA’s Origin Team, prepared 33 kinds of coffee for this cupping. Though he has worked in the coffee industry for more than 10 years, he says this cupping was unlike anything he’d ever participated in. He noted, “I’ve hosted cupping sessions with coffee producers before, but usually there is only one producer with two or three types of coffee.” He added that there has never been an occasion like this where so many producers and roasters get together in the same space. “This is the most exciting experience ever,” Ernest said.
The five-day annual meeting was a learning experience for all, featuring a wide range of programs that shined the spotlight on the work of producers and roasters. Leading roasters in Japan also appeared to find a great deal of inspiration from the multitude of eye-opening experiences.
Yumi Munehiro of LATTEST was among the delegation who visited Bolivia on a TYPICA Lab tour in September. After the Nayra Qata cupping, she realized how the taste and flavor of a coffee can taste different when she cups it at an altitude of nearly 4,000 meters in Bolivia versus when she cups the same lot at the TYPICA booth. She said that she was surprised to find how a coffee that didn’t really taste good in Bolivia tastes delicious at the booth. She also said that some coffees tasted good regardless of environmental conditions, adding that she had fun tasting different coffees.
Noriko Sunaga of MANLY COFFEE has one unforgettable memory about the Producer Award on October 11. She says that one producer’s words, “It doesn’t matter where you were born,” struck a chord with her.
During a talk session she joined as a guest speaker, she said that through producers’ presentations, she was able to know their life stories firsthand and feel their passion tangibly, rather than reading books about them and imagining what kind of people they are. She said that some people realize their dreams soon, while others like herself struggle. She added that your environment does matter to a certain extent, but that regardless of your circumstances, if you focus on the here and now and think about who you want to become, you’ll figure out a way forward. She said that she wants everyone to enjoy their day-to-day lives and coffee.
The farewell dinner party took place on a pleasure boat. Producers, roasters, and members of TYPICA enjoyed the cruise and vowed to realize further success and a reunion down the road. With a renewed focus on a mission to achieve sustainable development as one community, the participants set off on their way home.
Through the five-day gathering, everyone united in their pledge to make coffee more delicious and unique, and to create a more cohesive coffee community, improving the sustainability of delicious coffee together. TYPICA Annual Meeting was the manifestation of everyone’s such desires. And TYPICA believes that this unity will create a new coffee culture and pave the way for the future of coffee.
Originally written in Japanese by Takuya Takemoto
Photos by Kenichi Aikawa