Masa Nakashima from Mel Coffee Roasters: Coffee Insurrection Hero Chapter #89

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Masa Nakashima from Mel Coffee Roasters: Coffee Insurrection Hero Chapter #89

Coffee Insurrection
1- Introduce yourself: who are you, where are you from, where do you work and what’s your job.

I am Masa from Mel Coffee Roasters. I am involved in judging, roasting, brewing, quality control, and cupping as part of my job. I used to live in Melbourne and worked with the Rumble Coffee Roasters’ team. I learned how to make espresso and coffee with milk there and was inspired by their work in 2010.

2- When and why did coffee become important to you?

I stumbled into the coffee industry in Melbourne, where there were many specialty coffee roasters focusing on their craft, whether it was light roasting or serving specific types of coffee. I was impressed by their professionalism and dedication, as well as the fact that something as simple as coffee could have such diverse flavors. This inspired me to explore the coffee world further, and over time, it became a passion of mine.

3- Do you remember the first coffee you had that was more than “just a cup of coffee”?

I remember having a latte at Brother Baba Budan in Melbourne and being surprised by it's depth of flavor. That experience marked the beginning of my journey into the coffee industry.

4- What’s your favorite thing about going to work in the morning?

I enjoy starting my day with light, simple food and water to prepare my palate for cupping sessions and focus on the coffee that will ultimately impact our customers.

5- What’s your favorite brewing method and why?

While I used to prefer brewing methods that emphasized gentle flavors and low bitterness, I’ve recently adapted to trends in coffee competitions and consumer preferences. We now use a ratio closer to 1:15 to appeal to more coffee lovers and make the flavors, acidity, viscosity, and overall structure of the coffee more accessible.

6- Which is the best coffee you ever tasted?

The best coffee I ever tasted was a Colombia Mikava Carbonic Maceration Natural Geisha from Santuario. It had remarkable flavors of ripe mango, lychee, ripe peach, and orange blossom, along with a rich viscosity supported by caramel and nutty notes.

Mel Coffee Roasters

7- Is there a country of origin that you tend to favor coffee from? Why?

I particularly favor Kenyan coffee, especially the SL34 variety, for its cleanliness, high acidity, and compatibility with our Probat roasting machine. Our customers also love Kenyan coffee, making it a consistent favorite in our shops.

8- Suggest us a roastery to check (not the one you work at/use at work).

Taster’s Coffee in Taiwan
Fluid Collective in Singapore

9- What’s the most important thing you’ve learned while working in the business?

Effective communication with staff is crucial. Good communication leads to positive outcomes in various aspects, including the taste of the coffee, workflow efficiency, customer interaction, and ultimately, positive reviews and customer retention.

10- How is your work and the specialty coffee world coping with Covid and the new challenges for hospitality?

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, we continue to prioritize providing excellent hospitality. Adapting to new circumstances, maintaining hygiene standards, and ensuring customer and staff safety are essential aspects of our operations.

11- How do you see the specialty coffee scene in 10 years?

I anticipate significant changes in the specialty coffee scene, with a greater emphasis on lighter roasts, diverse flavor profiles, and increased consumer knowledge about coffee origins and processing methods. This growth presents opportunities for roasters and the coffee industry as a whole.

12- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I aspire to have deepened my knowledge and passion for coffee, contributing positively to the coffee community and fostering happiness among coffee lovers, baristas, and colleagues.

13- Any last words? Any tips or suggestions you want to share with someone who wants to start this path?

My suggestion for those starting in the coffee industry is to immerse yourself fully in learning and experiencing different aspects of coffee. Stay curious, seek out mentorship, and never stop exploring and experimenting with coffee.

Panama Janson Geisha

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