Often referred to as ‘materfamilias’, Masako Yamamoto is very much the mother of Atomic. Masako knows the ins and outs of all things specialty coffee and having worked within most departments of the company, she is a wealth of knowledge.
Like many, Masako’s Journey with specialty coffee began behind the machine. After completing her fine Arts degree at Elam, Masako crossed the ditch and began working at a coffee shop first in Sydney, then Perth. This was an easy transition as having spent a majority of her childhood in her parent’s restaurant - hospitality was second nature to her.
Masako fell in love with the industry when she tried an Ethiopian Nekisse and discovered she could detect notes of blueberries in the coffee. This was a total game changer and since that day, she hasn’t looked back. Her palate was developed at a very young age, being encouraged to taste and dissect flavours within recipes and wine by her father. Masako’s taste buds were primed for the specialty coffee scene, which is why she is such an integral part of Atomics Monday morning cupping sessions - picking up on the nuances of a brew like a pro.
After a belt of homesickness, Masako made the trip back to New Zealand on the hunt to find a career with a coffee roaster. After working within the specialty scene in Perth, Masako wanted to really delve into the industry. She had known of Atomic most of her life, as her mother’s cafe served it and with this connection, she felt Atomic and its culture was the right fit for her.
Masako’s first few weeks at Atomic consisted of working in our concord caravan, outside of the Kingsland café as Atomic was under construction. Once the renovation was over, Masako saw the potential that Atomic had and ran with it. She loved the freedom that Atomic gave her – allowing and trusting her to influence how the cafe looked and functioned.
Masako really has done it all; training the public, our own staff and wholesale accounts, as well as working closely with the roasters, acquiring new coffee, cupping blends, setting recipes, buying and selling equipment - the list goes on.
Masako believes the knowledge she has obtained whilst working across the divisions of Atomic, is something she could never have learned from another person. “I’ve learnt by ‘DOING’, being fully immersed in every role so the experiences and the opportunities that Atomic has presented to me is where a large part of my knowledge has come from. From when I first started here at Atomic, to where I am today, I’m such a different person. As much as Atomic has grown in the past 6 Years - so have I”