WBC Finalist #2: Miki Suzuki, Japan

It’s almost impossible to fully concentrate on what Miki Suzuki is saying when she performs because she’s just so adorable and lovely in her interactions with the judges, and truly her profound passion for the coffee she uses. But you’d better pay attention because with Miki’s performance, you don’t want to miss a word, as this is one of the most complicated performances I’ve seen in a while—it reminds me of Michael Phillips’ WBC winning turn in London in 2010. There’s such deep involvement in the coffee that you know Miki has eaten, slept, dreamed, and breathed this coffee four months, or even years.

Miki: One of the most passionate competitors this competition has ever seen.

Her premise is that she didn’t used to like naturally processed coffees, and the journey she takes the judges on is her own beginning middle, and finally end, where she came to love naturals, especially this particular natural from Nicaragua, more than any coffee in the world.

I love how Miki describes her milk and coffee in the cappuccino, that coffee is just a baby, so sweet, and the milk is the mother.

She brings the patio experience to Vienna, offering her sensory judges mini patios of naturals (coffee dried with the fruit on the bean), along with a mini rake. The judges gamely went along, fascinated by the small patio, and raking between making notes.

Miki's mini patios

Miki interacted with the judges physically quite a bit: she had various bottles and jars filled with different grinds of her coffee, some natural cherry she asked them to place in a cup onto which she poured hot water to steep it—an element she employed in her signature drink.

It's impossible not to love this woman.

Miki Suzuki, who was in the WBC finals in Bogota last year, is truly a pro, truly a role model for this industry. It was an honor for every single person in this room to watch her today—congratulations, Miki.

Final time: 15.12

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen 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.