The little coffee shop isn’t in the flashiest of streets or busiest alleys in Zurich. Yet here in this quiet section of Josefstrasse coffee-aficionados will find “Mame”, where the world’s best coffee is brewed: its owner Emi Fukahori just won the World Brewer’s Cup in Brazil last week.
The newly-crowned Brewer World Champion knows she was well prepared, but was still surprised by her victory. Humbly, Fukahori tells Lonely Planet: “it is always tricky to have your coffee at the peak on the competition day. I got lucky.”
Fukahori is relatively new to the coffee scene. Having worked in the tourism industry for many years, she hadn’t gotten into coffee until a few years ago. Her friend Nina Rimpi, a Swiss barista champion, let her try one of her brews: “I got goosebumps”, Fukahori recalls. “It did not taste like any coffee I knew, but like strawberries. Just as she described it.” After that experience Fukahori wanted to know more about speciality coffee, did her homework, won the Swiss barista championship in 2015 and eventually started the coffee shop in Zurich’s district 5 with her business and life partner Mathieu Theis. “Mame” has come to be loved by locals for its stylish minimalist interior design and of course the extensive selection of speciality coffee for espressos and filter coffee. “We wanted to have a place to grow the coffee-loving community of Zurich. So far it has been great and exciting.”
She sees her victory as an opportunity to get to know more baristas from around the globe and more different coffees. But it also means responsibility: “I now have to deliver what is expected from a world champion brewer, for my business and for my fellow baristas. It gives me great joy to do so.”
Fukahori’s life is about coffee now more than ever. Yet can she be tempted with a nice cup of tea at all? “As a Japanese, I do enjoy different types of green teas at different occasions”, she says, but adds: “my knowledge of tea is very small unfortunately.” And her favourite coffee? “That depends on the mood and time of the day. I love to start the day with a creamy cappuccino.”