José Y. Kawashima

Born in 1956 as the son of a wholesale coffee roaster in Shizuoka City Japan. In 1975, he enrolled at the El Salvador National Coffee Research Institute to learn coffee agronomy and processing techniques. In 1981, he joined the UCC Ueshima Coffee Co., Ltd., during which he established coffee plantations in Jamaica, Hawaii, and Indonesia. In 1999, he discovered the endangered coffee species Mascarocoffea in Madagascar island and successfully conserved the specie. Also, in the same year, he explored Reunion Island to identify a supposedly extinct coffee specie, Bourbon Pointu, which contributed to its protection and paved the way to rebuild the coffee industry on the island. In 2007, he left the company and established the Sustainable Coffee Association of Japan. In 2008, José established MI CAFETO Co., Ltd. to promote and build a new coffee culture and its market. In 2017, he was awarded the “Foreign Minister’s Commendations” in Japan. In 2019, he rediscovered in Guantanamo, Cuba, the original Typica coffee trees planted by the French int he 19th century, which were thought to be extinct. In 2021, he established an annual coffee brewing competition, the Challenge Coffee Barista, designed to evaluate baristas with disabilities on their skills in hand-drip preparation and service in Japan.

José Y. Kawashima also serves as:

  • Representative Director and President, MI CAFETO Co., Ltd.
  • Board Chairman, Sustainable Coffee Association of Japan
  • Coffee Business Advisor, Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage, Thailand
  • Coffee Director, JAL Japan Airlines
  • Advisory Board of Coffee Cooperation, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
  • Executive Committee Chairperson of Challenge Coffee Barista