A Sunday with Emi
Connecting the boundaries of specialty coffee
June 30, 2022
The world of specialty coffee is often very focused on the special and the exquisite. At the pinnacle sits the World Coffee Championships, where the world’s best come together to serve what can be thought of as the crème de la crème that coffee has to offer.
Yet, for the everyday coffee drinker, the coffee championships, where the beans that are brewed are often priced at over five times the cost of the average specialty coffee beans, is a concept so far detached from the everyday coffee experience.
Here at Homeground Coffee Roasters, we dream of bridging that difference and providing amazing, yet accessible coffee experiences for the everyday home brewer. And what better way to do that, than to invite a former champion of the very same coffee competition for a shared experience over a cup of coffee?
Emi Fukahori is the co-owner of Mame Specialty Coffee in Zurich, and someone who has seen and done it all in the world of specialty coffee.
We are sure that some of the coffee enthusiasts reading this have definitely heard of the immensely popular Monthly Mame programme with subscribers from all over the world, or have drank coffees that were sourced and roasted by Mame Coffee sometime in their past. At the same time, as the 2018 World Brewers Cup Champion and 2020 Swiss Barista Champion, she has proven herself as a force to be reckoned with on the World Coffee Championships stage.
There is no person more fitting that can help to kickstart this dream of bridging the amazing coffee experiences at the forefront of coffee with everyday brewers, and we were really honoured to have Emi spend a precious Sunday with us at the Homeground Coffee Roastery for a cupping and brewing session with fellow friends and treasured guests.
Relaxed afternoon cupping
The afternoon began with a cupping session of six coffees that were specially picked and prepared by Mame Specialty Coffee for the event. Between cupping these six coffees, Emi posed this question to the crowd:
“Would you bring this to the coffee competition? Why, or why not?”
By cupping all of these coffees side by side, from the consistent, everyday coffees to the top-of-the-line competition coffees, it was our hope that the home brewers and fellow cuppers in attendance would be able to bridge their everyday experiences to the characteristics that are more highly valued in a coffee to be used for competition, be it the flavour transition from hot to cold, or the minutiae details of each unique and laborious processing method.
The cupping was nothing short of insightful, and right afterwards, Emi brewed some of those coffees for everyone to share. Utilising different brewing devices, Emi shared with us this simple approach to adapt to each scenario:
“When using a particular brewing equipment, start by thinking of what the brewing equipment can do for the coffee in order to determine your approach.”
That afternoon, Emi brewed a total of three different coffees that was portioned and shared with everyone:
First, at the request of the audience, the Pepe on a Hario Switch, before then brewing the Esnider Rodriguez and Carmen, both on the Origami Dripper.
Each coffee had its strengths, and each coffee was as greatly enjoyed as the next.
A learning opportunity
Being able to meet Emi in person is a rare opportunity for us to learn from her depth of experience. And although the afternoon was a short one, our time with Emi was one that we will remember for a long time to come.
Listening to her share her coffee knowledge during the session, we walked away with a few lessons that we would like to remind ourselves as we continue to explore down the path of specialty coffee, both as a coffee roaster and a coffee brewer:
- To keep the curiosity in exploring coffees that we have never tried before, and perhaps come to discover the most amazing coffees in the most unexpected places.
- To build relationships and communicate with coffee producers to learn about how the coffees that we serve are made, and the impact of processes on a cup profile.
- To strive at bridging the gap between home brewing and specialty competition coffees by continually offering a curated selection of all types of coffees, easily accessible for one and all.