Release Date: Oct 20, 2017

Celeste, please tell us about Cuppa Academy! What’s it all about?

Melbourne is often ranked the world’s best coffee city. Recently, I started noticing little signs of Japan’s third wave coffee movement drawing Japanese people to Melbourne. A Japanese barista extracting espresso at my local café. A Japanese colleague studying a Melbourne barista course and setting up an espresso bar for his co-workers in Tokyo. A Japanese delegate turning up to an early-morning conference with a cup of Melbourne speciality coffee. I also notice big jumps in Japan’s specialty coffee scene every time I return there in my work as a lawyer…now I can find a flat white! It bothered me that there was no organised way to share Melbourne’s unique coffee craft with my Japanese friends and help them navigate our café scene, so I decided to create an experience for them.

Cuppa Academy provides Melbourne speciality coffee and café culture experiences, led by award-winning Japanese baristas. We are obsessed with finding the perfect Aussie “Cuppa” (cup of coffee). Melbourne coffee is totally different to American coffee; it is strong, smooth, medium-roasted specialty grade and so delicious that you’ll never need to add sugar! Our cafes are independent with unique vibes, often run by young, energetic entrepreneurs. They are crammed with suited workers talking business over a piccolo latte through to brunching families drinking babycinos.

We provide two-hour Melbourne city walking tours, for small private groups, led by a Japanese barista who works in Melbourne. We arrange coffee at five of the best specialty cafes in Melbourne (enough to “knock your socks off” as we say in Australia), famous sweets and chocolates and a KeepCup. KeepCups are the world’s first barista grade reusable coffee cup and the most fashionable accessory for Melbourne coffee snobs! We offer other hand-picked Melbourne souveniers on our website. The entire walking experience is in Japanese, with friendly chats with Aussie baristas. This is the first specialty coffee experience ever in Melbourne, in any language.

We teach guests about the best historical and up-and-coming cafes in Melbourne (including “hidden” places), history of Melbourne coffee scene and multicultural influence, story about individual cafes and baristas who work there, comparison of Australian and Japanese “kohido”, types of Melbourne coffee drinks, life-cycle of coffee bean from “crop to cup”, roasting, brewing, flavours and hot topics such as sustainability and fair trade. Guests will also receive personalised tips for making the perfect “cuppa” for both home brewers and professional baristas.

What Japanese baristas are involved in the project?

The best in the business! I am lucky enough to have teamed up with two Japanese baristas who have been deeply involved in the Melbourne (and international) coffee scene for many years.

Our Creative Director is Nobumasa Shimoyama, Manager of Superrandom Plus Nobu Café, Owner of Plus Nobu Barista Course, and two times World Latte Art Champion. Nobu-san has trained and successfully arranged employment for dozens of Japanese baristas in Melbourne. Nobu-san is very popular with local Aussies, who queue up every morning at his café for his special latte art.

Our Head Guide is Toshiyuki Ishiwata, Head Roaster and Head of Quality Control at Market Lane, and of Melbourne Coffee Merchants. In his role at Market Lane, Toshi-san roasts coffee, hosts classes in English and Japanese and makes decisions on all roasting profiles. Market Lane is a powerhouse roaster and retailer, and we will commence all Cuppa Academy tours with a demonstration at the historic and gorgeous Collins Street store.


Comment from Nobumasa Shimoyama (@nobumasa_shiomyama)

“I am really excited to share Melbourne specialty coffee and unique cafe culture with my fellow Japanese. Melbourne is a global coffee destination and in my role as Creative Director I have identified the top coffee experiences to appeal to all of your senses, from regular home brewers through to baristas.”


Comment from Toshiyuki Ishiwata (@toshiishiwata)

“I have been working in the coffee industry for the last 13 years in Melbourne. Through this Melbourne coffee tour, I would like you to enjoy speciality coffee and experience that a cup of coffee makes you happy all day long. I am looking forward to meeting you all.”


When will Cuppa Academy launch and how can people take part?

If you or someone you know is visiting Melbourne, you can join our tours starting December 2017. Our website goes live in November, but you can make a reservation right now by emailing

If you are a coffee-lover and want to stay updated about the latest in the Melbourne specialty coffee scene, please also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

If you work at a specialty café in Japan and want to partner with Cuppa Academy for joint promotions, please email us at We will provide our guests with recommendations for where to get specialty coffee when they return to Japan and can’t get the taste of great coffee off their tongue!


Photography by: Simon Peake 28mm Melbourne (except for Toshi-san and latte art photos)

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