Café Imports has done it again—made one of the best ads of the year, that is. The Minneapolis-based green coffee importer—who is the USBC Origin Trip Sponsor, and as such take all six Regional Barista Champs, plus the U.S. Champ, plus the World Barista Champ on an all-expenses-paid trip to a coffee producing country—made history in 2012 when the barista crew was photographed standing naked but for coffee trees on a farm in Brazil.
Well, history has been made today with the release of the new Café Imports barista champs ad, this one shot in Costa Rica a few weeks ago:
I caught up with Noah Namowicz, who is the organizer of these trips for Café Imports, as well as the mastermind behind these scintillating ads, for some details, including any ideas he has about how Café Imports will create the ad for 2014, which will feature the Regional, U.S. and World Champs on their trip to Kenya with Café Imports…
Sarah: How did you guys decide on the ad content this year?
Noah: Competition is such a serious and intense process for baristas at this level, and these trips are packed during the day with really serious coffee education, so last year in Brasil we collectively as a group thought it would be a really fun to just step away from the real world for a moment and take some time to celebrate all the hard work everyone had done up to that point by just being silly. These ads are clearly a bit edgy, and the ultimate hope is that while these ads are hilarious, more importantly they get people talking, and excited about competition. When baristas are excited about competition, they spend more time getting educated about coffee during comp practice, preparing them to be world class ambassadors to specialty coffee. Baristas are the ones that ultimately translate and articulate why what everyone along the chain does is important.
Sarah: Where exactly was this ad shot?
Noah: This was shot at the Rio Jorco Mill in Tarrazu Costa Rica under the encouragement and support of the mill manager Ruddy Azofeifa.
Sarah: Café Imports celebrates baristas like no other importing company. Why is this important to you guys?
Noah: This is our company’s grass roots investment in specialty coffee. Several years ago, we made the decision to step on board to be the first ever title sponsor for the first Barista Camp Pull-A-Shot and developed this origin trip sponsorship because we truly in hearts believe that empowering baristas is the key to growing specialty coffee from the ground up. Baristas are the ones that are either turning the global customer base on or off to specialty coffee. Without those customers being excited, they wont be willing to pay a fair price for coffee, and then suddenly there is no market for our roasting customers to sell our producer partner’s exquisite coffees. Many companies have found really great and effective ways to invest in our industry, and this is just our way of investing in an area we saw as largely underserved and under celebrated. Café Imports staff is full of people that once stood behind a counter at a coffee shop hungry to learn more, so we get it, and we wanted to do something about it.
Sarah: So the first time it was naked baristas behind coffee trees in Brazil, now it’s barista champs in a wet mill in Costa Rica. What can we expect for the 2014 ad from Kenya?
Noah: Well, we have already settled on the hashtag #kenyamatata, so personally I am hoping for maybe a mostly naked Pete Licata holding a mostly naked Devin Chapman over a sharp African cliff with sunlight shining onto them like Rafiki did to Simba in the Lion King, but we will see, I haven’t thought about it at all as you can tell.
Noah, you and all the Caf´Imports guys rock. Thanks for making Barista Magazine look good with your amazing ads.