The Force is strong with Gino Kanashiro and Origen Tostadores de Café.
BY TANYA NANETTI
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
There are many different types of geeks out there: specialty-coffee geeks, movie geeks, Star Wars geeks, and so on. Gino Kanashiro—who hails from Peru and is the founder of Origen Tostadores de Café, a coffee shop and roastery— is probably a good example of a geek who summarizes all of these categories, at least by taking a quick look at his Instagram page, which quotes, “I’m one with the Force, and the Force is with me,” and that shows many pictures and illustrations that mix coffee and Star Wars.
But who is Gino, really? Is he an artist? Or maybe his job is more closely related to coffee, as the link at Origen Tostadores de Café suggests?
We talked to him about coffee, about family … and of course, about Star Wars.
Hey Gino! Thanks for taking the time to talk with us! Your Instagram page is full of photos, drawings, and much more. Are you a professional photographer, a designer, a little bit of both? Or maybe neither?
I am neither a designer nor a photographer, but I work with professional people in these fields.
You have got two main recurrent topics in the art you post on your social media: specialty coffee and Star Wars. Let’s start with the coffee. Are you a coffee professional or a coffee lover? Where does your love for specialty coffee come from?
I am a coffee roaster and a barista in Origen Tostadores de Café; I have always drank coffee, since I was very young, but everything changed when I tried a specialty coffee for the first time in a barista workshop run by the great Roukiat Delrue (a longtime coffee educator and head judge of the World Coffee Championships). I remember it clearly: It was a very balanced coffee, with a dried fruit flavor, peach, and chocolate with just a hint of milk.
Tell us more about Origen Tostadores de Café. When it was launched? Is it your project? Are all the cool decorations that we can see in the shops chosen by you?
Origen Tostadores de Café is a family project started in March 2013 with a little store in Lima, Peru. From the beginning, it has always been a family business: my mother [Origen’s pastry maker]my wife, Jessica Tejada [barista and manager of the company], and me as a barista, roaster, and trainer. … As for the decorations in the shop, they are all made by different Peruvian artists: illustrators, photographers, and painters.
Let’s talk Star Wars. When did you fall in love with it?
I’ve been in love with Star Wars since I was very young.
The revealing scene of Darth Vader in “Episode V” telling Luke “I am your father” was love at first sight.
When and how did you decide to start choosing pictures and drawings related to Star Wars and coffee? Where did the idea come from?
The idea of pictures related to Star Wars and coffee came from the way I always imagined a barista should be: A Jedi for his discipline, commitment, and teamwork; and a Sith with his passion, unlimited knowledge, and power. All this can be summed up in the force and in how fear, in a sense its opposite, doesn’t let you go on.
Do you have masks and costumes, or are the Star Wars photographs graphically modified?
All the masks, accessories, and action figures are from my personal collection, of which I’m really proud.
Is your art always focused on Star Warsor do you have some other inspiration?
All the art is inspired by Star Wars and coffee.
Do you cooperate with many artists, both in the specialty-coffee community and outside of it? Do these collaborations also include drawing/painting/designing, or are they strictly related to photography?
We always work with several local artists interested in mixing Star Wars and coffee in their art—art that includes illustrations, photography, video, animations, and plastic arts.
In addition to the shop decor, do you use Star Wars art for coffee-related merchandise and coffee bags, as well?
Yes, definitely. We recently used Star Wars art for limited-edition coffee bags.
What do you want to do in the future? Where do you think your career will take you?
We currently have three shops, and have multiple plans to open new shops.
Anything else about yourself that you would like to share?
In addition to being a co-owner of Origen and working there as a barista and roaster, I am enthusiastic about training our baristas for the different championships that take place throughout the year.
Last but not least, a little game that we love to play: I’m going to ask you 10 questions just to get to know you a little better …
Filter coffee or espresso?
I like them both.
Star Wars parts I-III: yes or no?
Favorite artist of all time?
… Too many to choose from.
Pick just one coffee brewer to take with you to a deserted island.
Empire or Rebellion?
Canon or Nikon?
Favorite coffee process and origin?
Catuai anaerobic natural process from Finca Timbuyacu, Amazonas, Peru.
Score The Mandalorianfrom 1 to 10.
What was your dream job as a kid?
Rock band drummer.
A subject (coffee/Star Wars) that you have not yet created art about but that you want to as soon as possible?
Something from the PlayStation game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the coffee machine (or visiting some hidden corner of the world), she’s busy writing for Coffee Insurrection, a website about specialty coffee that she’s creating along with her boyfriend.