Bringing people together, enlivening Yokohama with coffee
YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL executive committee representative Mr. Momosaki's thoughts.

YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL Executive Committee, Representative / Mr. Momozaki

One day in Yokohama Park, the smell of coffee wafts in the air, carried by the wind.
People holding a cup of coffee in one hand and losing themselves in the music. People enjoying a cup of coffee.
Lively laughter echoed in the air, enveloping the venue in a soft atmosphere.

On Sunday, October 23, 2022, the "YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL" was held for the first time in three years, a coffee event that fosters coffee culture in Yokohama, filled with the passion and individuality of each shop.

" We want the festival to be a place where people who are not familiar with coffee can enjoy it in a casual setting."

Mr. Momozaki, the representative of the YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL Executive Committee, says so. While working as a barista, Momozaki started the first YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL with the idea of "spreading coffee culture in my hometown, Yokohama, and creating events that bridge people. I want to create an event that will build bridges between people." With this in mind, he has been involved in the launch and operation of the event since its inception.

Yokohama, the gateway to Japan. What kind of coffee stories has Mr. Momozaki spun here? In a soft tone of voice, he spoke passionately about his passion for coffee and the background of the YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL.

Attracted by the attentive service at coffee shops, he became a barista.
First of all, I would like to ask you about what made you decide to make coffee your career.

I have loved coffee since I was a student and visited many different cafes. What made me yearn for it as a job was witnessing the hospitality of the baristas.

They would say to the customer, "Are you working today?" Or, "Have a good day". Not only do they serve the coffee ordered, but they also add a few words, such as, "This is the flavor and the process we use to make our coffee. It was wonderful to see how they casually make an effort to help customers enjoy their coffee as much as possible.

You were attracted to the "people (customer service)" part of coffee.

That's right. I think the charm of coffee is that it creates connections with people through such small conversations.

For example, in a restaurant, the roles of the kitchen staff and the waitstaff are inevitably separated. But a barista in a café can talk with customers while making coffee.

Cafes are a very familiar part of people's daily lives. During a short break at work. On the way home. I want to serve customers so that they can enjoy their coffee even more because it is a place that is always close to us. It is with this in mind that I became a barista.

Now that my wish has come true and I am a barista, I am very happy to hear from my regular customers who say, "I've been coming here just to see you! " I am very happy to hear that.

The reason for holding the YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL.
Are these values of customer service and communication with customers also behind the YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL?

That's exactly right, and one of the concepts behind the YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL is that we want to create an event that builds bridges between people.

I think it's fine if the customers don't necessarily come for the coffee. If they happen to pass by the festival on a walk, or hear some music playing and become curious about it, or just for that casual chance to stop by and try a coffee they might not normally drink, and find a cup that suits them, there is nothing that would make them happier.

We want coffee lovers as well as those who are not yet familiar with coffee to enjoy it. This was the starting point for the idea of a "festival.

I heard that you can compare coffees at the YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL. It seems like a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with coffee will be born!

That's right. I heard an episode of a customer who dropped in on a whim, fell in love with coffee because of the YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL, and later visited a store owned by a vendor he liked. It makes me happy to think that this is exactly the moment when coffee connects people with each other.

Promoting the local community with coffee. I want to make our hometown, Yokohama, more exciting.
Mr. Momozaki, I understand that you are a native of Yokohama. Do you have any feelings for your hometown?

Another concept we have in mind is to "spread coffee culture in Yokohama. I feel that although tea culture is thriving in Yokohama, coffee has not yet taken root in the city. I want more people in Yokohama to experience good coffee. This desire is also the driving force behind the festival.

In Australia, Melbourne is world famous for its cafes, and it is nice to see coffee culture being fostered throughout the region in this way.
I really think so. We are in the process of making step-by-step progress toward our ideal, through trial and error every year. Especially the first time, we were students, so we had a lot of hardships. We had to write our own press releases, send out information to the media, attract customers, gather vendors.... The weather on the day of the event was also unpredictable, as it was forecast to be affected by a typhoon.

But when we finally held the event, it was a great success. We were happy to hear words of gratitude and support from the coffee shops who opened their stalls, and to see customers enjoying the coffee and conversation. I was happy to hear words of gratitude and support from the coffee shop owners, and to see customers enjoying the coffee and conversation. I really felt happy that we had done this.
I imagine that it must have been a wonderful scene. Finally, what are your future goals and challenges?
Eventually, I would like to own my own shop. I want to make my hometown more lively with coffee, so I am aiming to open a business in Yokohama. I would be happy if I could increase the number of coffee lovers in the city where I live, and I would like to increase the number of coffee shops as much as possible. In that sense, I believe that holding the YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL on an ongoing basis is a step closer to my dream. Connecting people with each other and spreading coffee culture in my hometown Yokohama. I will continue to pursue these goals as a barista.



Executive Committee, Representative / Mr. Momozaki

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