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Meet Your Barista: Ayaka

Kurasu’s Meet Your Barista series will introduce our baristas who make Kurasu Kyoto special. We will introduce them one by one every month—you may find something in common with them, or discover something new!



1. What brought you to the coffee industry, and how did you become a barista? 

I visited Starbucks when I was a high school student, and I was amazed by their customer service. Later on, I got a job at Starbucks and developed my interest in coffee. I learned that Melbourne in Australia has a great coffee culture, so I decided to take a long holiday to live there for a month. I visited numerous cafes, and I was completely captured by coffee. I worked for Starbucks for 4 years before I moved to Melbourne with a working holiday visa, where I worked at a cafe called Superrandom--that's where my career as a barista officially started.


2. What made you interested in Kurasu? 

About 2 weeks before my visa was due to expire in Australia I came across Yozo’s Facebook post advertising a position for a barista. It read “introducing Japanese coffee culture to the world, from Kyoto, Japan.”
I was very keen on making the most of my experience in Australia in terms of my knowledge about coffee, customer service and English conversation.
I couldn’t agree more with Yozo’s vision, and I was very excited to introduce more varieties of coffee to Japanese people--to me, Kurasu seemed to be the perfect place. I immediately contacted Yozo, had a Skype interview, and I was even more captured by Kurasu and Yozo’s personality. At that point, almost everything was uncertain except for the address of the cafe, but I didn’t hesitate at all to tell Yozo that I wish to have a job at Kurasu.


3. What is Kurasu’s strength? What makes Kurasu unique? 

There are a lot, but if I really need to pick one, that would be the very close-knit relationship we have with coffee and with our customers.
We meet a lot of people everyday, both from Japan and outside of Japan--we have intense discussions about coffee which continue every time they visit.
It really struck me when one family from Portugal visited us on our opening day and left the cafe saying “see you tomorrow”--I would never forget how happy I felt! They visited us 4 days in a row after that.
I want Kurasu to be the place a lot of people want to come back to, so I am putting a lot of positive energy into the coffee I make and the service I provide.


4. What kind of coffee do you personally drink often?

It really depends on how I am feeling at the time--sometimes I get into something and drink that everyday, and suddenly I want something else.
Recently I have been enjoying Piccolo (a latte in a small glass). At home, I enjoy hand dripping light roast, citrus-y coffee.


5. What type of coffee do you enjoy making? 

Hmm, maybe latte. I love steaming milk. It’s so nice to see smooth and shiny milk foam floating up, mixing with coffee as I shape them into a heart, tulip, etc…it’s always very exciting. I also love hand dripping, it feels so calm.


6. What is the most important thing for you when you prepare drinks? 

There are many elements I’m aware of when I make drinks, but most of all, I always make sure that our customer enjoys the whole experience including the waiting time.
I pour milk facing to our customers so that they can see, I talk to them when I’m checking up on espresso extraction--I want our customers to enjoy every single minute they spend at Kurasu Kyoto.



7. Other than Kurasu, please share your favourite cafes in a) Kyoto, b) Japan and c) Outside of Japan.

a) Kyoto: mono Art coffee roasters
b) Tokyo: Koffee Mameya
c) Melbourne: Workshop Specialty Coffee


8. Where would you recommend for people visiting Kyoto? 

Kyoto Tower definitely!
People usually just see it from the outside, but you will be surprised how impressive it can be when you actually go up to the top!


9. Do you have something you would like to try at Kurasu? Do you have any future goal outside of Kurasu? 

At Kurasu, I think it would be exciting if we could open up the space after closing time for social events introducing many different professionals and their work, while enjoying coffee together.
Some customers told us they would like English lessons, so if we could plan something unique it would be fun!

Other than at Kurasu, I dream of serving coffee at big events and happy occasions such as wedding receptions and parties, and I wish that sort of catering will become more and more common in the future!


10. Any message to the readers?

The customers’ smiles always give me energy!
I love meeting and talking to people through coffee.
Please drop by anytime and enjoy coffee with us!

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