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Interview with Ms. Miki Suzuki, 2nd place at the World Barista Championship 2017 Seoul : by Vaughan


My heartiest congratulations to Miki Suzuki of Maruyama Coffee on 2nd place at the World Barista Championship 2017 in Seoul last week. In the three times she has competed over the years (which is an incredible achievement in itself, as no other competitor has ever competed in Worlds three times) this year was her best result, and the best performance she delivered personally.

I was Miki's English teacher over the year leading up. We started off with fun lessons at old Japanese cafes learning natural phrases and expressions. Miki also kept a diary in English to make sure she was using a bit of English everyday. In the months leading up to the WBC, scripts were written, translated, edited, re-written, and practiced over and over and over again. She never once said she was tired or that she’d had enough for the day. She was always super hungry for more feedback, and she’d make excellent notes - reviewing and then preparing for each time we would meet.

A week after the big event, I sent her a few messages to ask her how everything was going.

Vaughan: Firstly, big congratulations to you, Miki-san. It really is a wonderful achievement. One week after WBC, how do you feel?

Miki: Thank you, Vaughan. I am so happy and very satisfied. And now, I am so happy to celebrate our new champion Dale.

Vaughan: You’ve been back for a week, what have you been doing?

Miki: Working!

Vaughan: hahaha. Anything special?

Miki: I’ve actually been holding events at our Nishi Azabu & Komoro stores - I’ve been serving WBC beverages for our customers and friends.

Vaughan: Speaking of your presentations in Seoul, did you change anything throughout the three rounds leading up to the finals?

Miki: I changed my recipe, extraction time and my way of preparation. I finally was able to do my best performance in that final round.

Vaughan: Tell us about the other competitors. What’s the relationship like between national barista champions?

Miki: Everyone is super friendly. Being together at Worlds is like catching up with old friends. They’re superstars and I’m always so delighted to talk with them. Worlds is much more of a friendly vibe compared to Nationals.

Vaughan: Who would you like to thank?

Miki: Everyone who cheers for me all over the world. I am supported by so many people on the WBC stage. Everyone gives me power and motivation. And a special mention to my amazing coach Hide, my coffee father Kentaro, my fantastic teacher you Vaughan, and my hero Mie.

Vaughan: Where to from now?

Miki; While I was preparing for the competition, I found a lot of things I want to pursue. And I want to educate the next generation!


















Photos by Sonia Cao