WBC Countdown: Barista Champion of Ukraine Nataliia Kuranakova


Barista Mag:  Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?

Nataliia:  I attended art school and after I graduated from fashion design school, I was an aspiring designer of womenswear.

BMag:  How did you get started in coffee?

Nataliia:  When I moved to Lviv, the Ukrainian “Capital of Coffee,” I needed extra money for   living and got a part-time job in a wonderful Lviv cafe. Day by day I studied how to make coffee. And finally I decided that I wanted my life to be connected with coffee, because I love both drinking and making it.

BMag:  What was your first amazing experience with coffee?

Nataliia:  My first cappuccino was my first amazing experience.


BMag:  Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?

Nataliia:  Nazariy, the best barista at our cafe at that moment. He inspired me and helped me to understand what coffee is and why it is so important.

BMag:  What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?

Nataliia:  I want to be the part of the coffee community and share my experience with other baristas around the world. Also I want to promote coffee culture in Ukraine. We have many obstacles to overcome and I know how to improve the situation in our coffee market.

BMag:  Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:

Nataliia:  I always wanted to meet Fabrizio Sención Ramí ­rez. I deeply appreciate his talent.


BMag:  Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.

Nataliia:  Luckily I have my favorite customers. One of them is a lifestyle photographer. Every day he comes to our cafe, orders a cappuccino and always smiles. I know that my coffee makes his day better, thus I am more motivated and happy.

BMag:  Besides your own cafe, what cafe do you think everyone should visit?

Nataliia:  There are a lot of wonderful places in Kyiv ”you just need to visit our country to see it by yourself. Among them Kredens, Mokka, Coffein, etc.

BMag:  Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?

Nataliia:  I always wanted to visit Ethiopia because it is the cradle of coffee.

BMag:  What are your interests outside of coffee?

Nataliia:  I am interested in Eastern philosophy, contemporary art, and traveling.

BMag:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Nataliia:  With the help and support of my friends I will open the perfect coffee shop in Ukrainian style.

BMag:  Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?

Nataliia:  I want to thank Katarzyna Zyzalo, my very talented trainer, who helped me greatly in my preparations. Big thanks to my family and my friends, and my teammates who supported me and believed in my victory.

About Sarah 933 Articles
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.

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