Yuji at counter

New Barista: Yuji Iwase

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13 June 2020

Karori boy and Emporio barista, Yuji Iwase enjoyed a solid game of duck duck goose and bike rides in his youth. But for now, he's heading back to his studies at Victoria University's School of Architecture. 

Apart from coffee, what did you got up to during the break from your studies?

I went to the UK and had an amazing experience with 'Workawayers' in Italy and Russia. I helped with building restoration work. I also learnt about permaculture farming in a community-based environment, got to travel and experience a different way of life!

yuji making coffee

Why study architecture?

I would love to be part of enriching people's lives and surroundings. A desire to create spaces that connect everyone together led me back to architecture. 

Favourite architect?

I like Japanese architect Shigeru Ban because of his humanitarian approach, and his use of paper and cardboard tubes for construction. 

What else do you make time for?

I love climbing, getting outside and enjoying the sun. I’m currently into pottery and practicing Kintsugi; mending broken ceramics.

Yuji modelling Emporio totes
Yuji helping to model Emporio's 20th birthday totes

What are you reading?

I recently finished Patti Smith's memoir, Just Kids.

How did you become a barista?

It started as a part-time gig. I really enjoy the process; weighing out the dose, tamping, steaming, pouring. It's satisfying and of course you meet great people!

flat white emporio

What makes a good coffee (and barista)?

Friendliness, consistency and silky milk.

Favourite coffee?

African coffees, they're fruity and floral.