Reasons for holding a coffee festival in Yokohama [Ask Mr. Momosaki, representative of YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL]

“YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL 2023” will be held from November 24th (Friday) to November 26th (Sunday), where approximately 40 popular coffee shops from all over the country, mainly in Yokohama, will gather at Yokohama Hammerhead. .

The YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL, which is held with the aim of fostering Yokohama's coffee culture and connecting people through coffee, has grown in popularity year by year, and this year is the first time it has been held independently. The duration of the event will be expanded to three days.
CROWD ROASTER will also be participating as an official partner in this event.

We interviewed the representative, Yu Momosaki, who has been involved with the event since its inception, about the background to holding the festival in Yokohama and his enthusiasm for the third edition.

<Interviewer: CROWD ROASTER Hiroto Usukura >

It was strange that there were no coffee festivals in Yokohama.

Usukura : First of all, please tell us what led you to launch YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL.

Momosaki: To begin with, when I was still a student, I started going to my local Starbucks because I really liked the atmosphere of a cafe rather than coffee. There, there was a press service where you could brew your favorite coffee, and that's when I started to think coffee was interesting.

One of the reasons I fell in love with coffee shops is the depth of coffee that comes from each region. I thought it was just bitter, but I learned that the taste varies greatly depending on where it is produced.

Another thing that really appealed to me was the people. When I went there, I met familiar faces and had casual conversations, and I was happy to have a coffee shop in my daily life, which made me want to do a job that involved serving customers.
I've always loved talking to people and was interested in a job in customer service, but for example, when you're a chef, the chef and the staff are separated. It's great that a coffee shop listens to your preferences and delivers the entire process from making to serving.

After that, I visited many cafes, and my hometown in Yokohama was dotted with small coffee shops. If you ask, "Is that it?", they will tell you.
I feel comfortable having such small communication in my daily life. I wanted to know more about these people. There are a lot of people around me who think that coffee is just bitter, so I wanted to hold an event that would convey the message to those people.

Also, I wondered why there was a coffee festival in Tokyo, but not in Yokohama. It's a shame that so many people don't know about such delicious coffee. Since it is a port town, it is actually said to be the birthplace of coffee, and it was strange that even though it is number one in the country in terms of green coffee imports, consumption is not that high.

Usukura : We wanted to get people to know more about coffee shops in Yokohama and help create excitement. From there, how did you move towards holding the event?

Usukura : When we held the first event, I was still a student at a vocational school called L'Ecole Bantin, and a classmate of mine was working at WOODBERRY COFFEE at the time, and we had a connection with the owner, Musashi .

When my classmate told Musashi -san that I was thinking about holding an event like this, he said he would support us, which made me really happy.If WOODBERRY-san would be there, I think it would be a great festival! And that's how we started.

I didn't have any event know-how at all, so I researched what was in front of me, put it into practice, and kept repeating the process, and somehow managed to hold the first event.

Usukura : You really started from nothing and started researching things one by one!

Momosaki: At first, I wasn't sure how many people we would be able to attract, so I thought it would be ideal to do it together with other events, so I created a music event called "Hotchipotch Music Festival," which I organized together with the first and second events. It was held together with

It's an event similar to a citizen music festival held by a non-profit organization, but I asked a mutual acquaintance of mine and he connected me with it. We bring in a proposal, decide on a location for the first event, and then talk to coffee shops and draw up the opening requirements while also referring to other coffee festivals...that's how we always start from scratch.

Usukura : Did you have any experience in event management before that?

Momosaki: I have never held such a large-scale event, but I have been involved in a community development NPO for a long time. The person who connected me with the venue for the coffee festival was also someone I met through NPO work, and I was able to hold it with the help of many people, but I had zero know-how.

However, in terms of my ability to take action, when I was a member of an NPO, I took part in activities to solve local issues, and without realizing it, I had the opportunity to talk to people and give presentations, which has led me to where I am today. I feel that it is.

I want to create a place that creates connections between people.

Usukura : I heard that you were involved in community development activities, so did you always have a sense of ``locality''?

Momosaki: Yokohama is a beautiful and nice city, so I thought it would be great if I could contribute to the community by expressing myself. Maybe it's because coffee just happens to be my favorite thing.

Usukura : In terms of town development, I think coffee shops and other places are places that serve as the core of interaction within a town. If a new place like this is created through a festival, I think it will have a positive impact on the town.

Momosaki: I would like to aim for such an event. There are many people who live in Yokohama, so if I have the opportunity to tell them about it, they will know about it, and I hope I can contribute to making Yokohama a coffee town someday.

I am currently in my third year of work and am still searching for my future career, but I feel that expanding awareness of specialty coffee in Yokohama will help me in the future when I open my own shop.

Also, people in Yokohama and Tokyo have a fixed living area, or rather, people in Yokohama spend their money in Yokohama and people in Tokyo spend their money in Tokyo. I think people in Tokyo in particular don't have many opportunities to come to Yokohama, so holding an event will be an opportunity for them to learn more about Yokohama.

There are many stalls at the festival not only from Yokohama but from all over the world, so I think it would be great if we could attract people to Yokohama through the coffee shop and create an opportunity for people from Yokohama to visit other places.

Usukura : Have you actually heard such voices at the events held so far?

Momosaki: When I looked at Instagram after the event, I noticed that people from Yokohama went to the coffee shop in Tokyo that I first learned about at the coffee festival, and that a coffee shop in Fukuoka started receiving more orders from people from Yokohama through their online shop. Thank you for saying that. As an organizer, I'm happy to see that it's not just about opening a store, but also connecting with the event afterwards.

Recently, my shop and other shops' business hours are the same, so it's been difficult to visit, and I've had fewer opportunities to connect with coffee shops and people in the industry. Of course, we want our coffee festival to connect customers and shops, but since we have so many stalls on the same day, we hope it can also serve as an opportunity for shops to connect with each other.

In particular, since this is a standalone event, I would like to also plan a networking event for the exhibitors, and my two main keywords are fostering culture and connecting people.

I have been obsessed with coffee since high school.

Usukura : Listening to your story, I can feel your love for coffee. What kind of coffee do you like?

Momosaki: I originally fell in love with specialty coffee from Ethiopia. I used to think that coffee was bitter, so this concept was completely destroyed.

Recently, the impression of Ethiopian flavors has changed, but in the past, there were a lot of berry flavors. I think it's often difficult to understand when you first read the comments about the taste, but the first Ethiopian coffee I ever had tasted exactly like the berries and was very sweet, so I didn't add any sugar. I learned that it is also delicious. From there, I started drinking light roasted coffee and started liking it, so Ethiopian coffee has fond memories for me.

Usukura : I heard that they also specialize in espresso.

Momosaki: I first tried the Black Eagle at Excelsior Cafe, where I worked, and thought espresso machines were cool.

Usukura : Being cool is an important motivation.

Momosaki: And latte art. I thought it was amazing to be able to create beautiful art in an instant and make customers happy, so I was hooked for a while.

After that, I transferred to Cafe Rexel, a brand within the Doutor coffee brand that mainly handles specialty coffee, but that store had three Mythos machines and always had three types of single coffee to choose from. . I found espresso to be very interesting, as it tastes completely different when compared to drinks, and the fact that the taste can change with just a few adjustments is profound.

Usukura : Was that when you were in high school?

Momosaki: I started working at Excelsior Cafe when I was a second year high school student, and moved to Cafe Rexel when I was a third year student. At that time, Lexel had many famous people, and some of them are still coffee shop owners and active in various fields, so it was a brand that didn't give the impression of hiring high school students. I also had the opportunity to try hand dripping, so it was a good environment to get hands-on experience.

I found the customer service to be great and was interested in what kind of education they provide, so I worked at Starbucks for about two years, and at the same time, I started working at a coffee stand run by a venture company.

The coffee stand did not roast coffee, but they used beans from WOODBERRY, so I was able to experience specialty coffee, and while I was a student, I learned about how chain stores operate and how to operate a small coffee stand. It was a good experience for me to learn from both aspects of having to create everything by ourselves.

After that, I got a job at a venture company and had experience working as a store manager and opening a store. However, there weren't that many types of coffee, and there were only a few things I could experience, so I wanted to work at a shop that roasts their own coffee. I wanted to face specialty coffee from scratch and absorb it once again, so I joined THE COFFEESHOP , and here I am today.

Usukura : You've had a variety of experiences, and you've been devoted to coffee since high school.

Momosaki: It's not good, but I was studying coffee varieties and reading books about coffee while pretending to be in class (lol).

I've always thought that there's a big difference in the amount of enthusiasm I have for things I'm not interested in and things I'm interested in, but I've become addicted to coffee, which is unusual, and I've found that studying isn't a chore, it's a lot of fun. . I've always worked with that mindset, so I think it's a good fit for me.

First solo event, thoughts on expanding the scale

Usukura : It has been held twice so far, and I heard that a lot of people came, especially last year, which was held for the first time in three years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Is there anything you would like to do this year?

Momosaki: The first time was the first time, so it was reasonably crowded and everyone enjoyed it, so I would be happy if the event I created was somehow connected to the coffee experience of many people. And I definitely wanted to continue.

Last year too, many people came to see us with high expectations. However, since it was a short event from 11:00 to 17:00, there were a lot of irregularities that happened, such as not being able to use up all the coffee tickets due to long lines, and having to stop selling tickets on the day early. Of course, some customers were happy, and we also received feedback from them.

In the first place, people came because they were interested in coffee, but if there was a long line at the venue, it would be difficult for them to wait in line for hours.

We want to reach the light consumers, but having to wait in line to drink coffee is out of line with our concept, so while taking into account the lessons learned from last year, this year's event is a three-day event that will allow a wide variety of people to enjoy coffee. I thought I would power up and hold it.

Usukura : I think the expectations for this year are even higher.

Momosaki: Every year, I feel like I'm going to be crushed by the pressure until the last minute. We involve a lot of people, and some of the coffee shops close their shops and come to visit us, so if we don't attract as many customers as a result, I think it could cause trouble to a lot of people. I feel responsible for that.

Usukura : But I think the fact that there were so many people there means that there are many people who are interested in coffee, and it's something that I wouldn't have been able to see if it weren't for the festival.

Momosaki: We would be very happy if we could create a daily coffee experience for such people, such as not only instant coffee but also grinding and brewing beans at home, and it would also be a part of cultivating a culture. I think I can make a contribution.

If events like the Tokyo Coffee Festival are aimed at coffee lovers, our main target is the casual demographic, as we don't drink coffee in Yokohama.

Usukura : I hope that coffee lovers in Yokohama will be able to expand their options to include more specialty coffee shops and specialty coffee shops.
This time, we will be running the stage together. What are your expectations for CROWD ROASTER ?

Momosaki: CROWD ROASTER has a network with various coffee shops, so when we eventually create an event together, we can come up with a project that takes advantage of CROWD ROASTER 's strengths...for example, roasting the same beans for each roaster for an event. It would be fun to receive one and enjoy the difference.

I haven't been to a farm yet, so I think I'm limited in what I can tell you about the production area, so if we can work together on those things, it will be easier to communicate about our specialty coffee and From Seed to Cup initiatives. I wonder if I can go.

I would be really happy if you could break through the limits of just us and create an event together.

Usukura : Thank you. I hope we can do something together, not just this year, but in the future as well. Please let us know if you have any goals for the future of the festival.

Momosaki: First of all, our goal is to hold a coffee festival once a year. I think it's important to continue the event, so I'd like to spread the word that the Yokohama Coffee Festival is held at this time every year, so that as many fans as possible can look forward to it.

I would like to think about media such as media that can disseminate information in addition to events, and many of the owners who open at coffee festivals are wonderful people, so I would like to focus on people and disseminate information. Looks like it would be fun to go.

I like people, so I like to ask people how they started running a coffee shop and how they came to love coffee. I was wondering if people surprisingly wanted to hear the human side of the story.

I think communicating things like this might give young people an opportunity to start drinking coffee, and sharing your thoughts on roasting can make a cup of coffee taste even better. I would like to be able to convey this kind of information throughout the year, not only at festivals, but also outside of festivals.

Usukura : Lastly, please tell us your enthusiasm for this year's event.

Momosaki: Since this is our first solo event, there are more than double the number of vendors than usual, and all of them are really wonderful coffee shops.

Rather than just drinking coffee, I would be happy if I could help people find great coffee shops by talking with them, and helping the people who come to enjoy their daily coffee experience to be even more delicious and more powerful. We will do our best to plan it.

Usukura : As CROWD ROASTER we will be opening a booth and co-managing the stage for three days, so we are looking forward to it! Please come to YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL 2023!

YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL 2023 Event Overview <br />Date: November 24, 2023 (Friday) - November 26, 2023 (Sunday)
open time:
Friday, November 24th 14:00-21:00 (Last entry 20:30)
Saturday, November 25th 11:00-19:30 (Last entry 19:00)
Sunday, November 26th 10:00-18:00 (Last entry 17:30)
Venue: Yokohama Hammerhead 1F CIQ Hall (2-14-1 Shinminato, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture)
Admission fee: ¥500 per day
《“Admission & Drinking Comparison Ticket (4cup) Set” now on sale! ! It is advantageous to purchase in advance. 》

[Sponsor] YOKOHAMA COFFEE FESTIVAL Executive Committee [Cooperation] Yokohama Hammerhead / Yokohama Media Ad Co., Ltd. / Mind / Certified NPO Arkship [Sponsor] Yokohama Kan Hikaru Convention Bureau / General Incorporated Association Minato Mirai 21 / Yokohama Keizai Shimbun [Official Partner]
Bluematic Japan Co., Ltd./Pipeline Co., Ltd./MOUNTAIN MOVER LTD/ CROWD ROASTER /ORIGAMI JAPAN/Heirroom/JOYNTO Co., Ltd./Takanashi Sales Co., Ltd./STANDART JAPAN