Barista Champion of Japan

Editor’s note: As we approach the beginning of the 2014 World Barista Championship, which takes place in Rimini, Italy, June 9 “12, at the SCAE’s World of Coffee event, we would like to introduce you to the National Barista Champions who all worked incredibly hard to earn a position in this preeminent coffee contest. Profiles of all 54 competitors will appear on Barista Magazine’s blog between Monday, June 2, and Monday, June 9, and can all be accessed under the category header “WBC 2014 Rimini.”

Hidenori Izaki
Maruyama Coffee Co., Ltd.

Japan's Hidenori
Japan’s Hidenori Izaki

Coach: Yoshiharu Sakamoto

About you: Hello guys, I’m Hide from Maruyama coffee in Japan. I’m very glad to be here again. Last year, I was in 13th place [which] is so close to the semi finals. I’ve learned just 0.5-point [can] decide everything. However, throughout this experience, I’ve never been pessimistic! I just can’t wait to compete [at the] WBC again, and I’m sure it will be so much fun! Thank you guys! Pura Vida!

How many years have you worked with coffee or in the coffee industry?
8 years.

Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?
I’ve been in the coffee industry since [I was] 17 years old. At a university in the U.K., my major was ” Intercultural Communication”. I was studying subculture especially about body modification.

How did you get started in coffee?
My father introduced me coffee when I didn’t know what to do for my future goal. Coffee became the light of my life. I felt that the world started to be bright like a rainbow. I’ve been completely fascinated by specialty coffee since then.

What was your first amazing experience with coffee?
It was when I felt the coffee was fruits. It was the one from Ethiopia, I think. I still remember the surprising moment, the fruity aroma and the taste.

Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?
Kentaro Maruyama. He is a charismatic coffee man of a strong faith. He knows wonderful coffees in the world and gives us them with the wonderful stories as a buyer.

What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?
I can’t predict how this industry will be changed in future and I’m so excited about it.

Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:
It’s too many to name all of them.

Name a barista you admire, and why:
Pete Licata. I admire him because of his belief in treating coffee as a barista.

Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.
Everyone is my favorite.

Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?
Ethiopia. It’s the origin of coffee.

What are your interests outside of coffee?
My dog, Mancha. He’s a French Bulldog.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Anywhere in the world as a buyer!

Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?
First of all, I must say thank you to Kentaro Maruyama and my team members. Also, I appreciate Pete, Holly, Francisco, and the Enrique family. And my girlfriend and my family have been a big support for me.


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