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Barista Stories: Iryna Basko of Dotyk Dripper & Octo Tower, Kyiv

“The world needs your talent, not your fear. So act my friends, create, research. Make your own contribution to the coffee industry. Dream and believe in your dreams (…) smile more and believe that with each sip all of your dreams will definitely come true…” – this is a part of the beautiful message that Iryna Basko sent during her open service at the World Brewers Cup in Chicago.

At just the age of 20, Iryna won the Ukrainian Brewers Cup and got her ticket to represent her country on the World Stage. Iryna is a beam of light in our industry, a coffee professional who lives driven by passion, never-ending aspirations and the will to bring change in the coffee world. We can only wish Iryna all the best but we already know that with her amazing will, she can make all her dreams come true!

Barista Stories are sponsored by PUQpress.

Iryna, what is your first memory of coffee? 

I first tried coffee when I was 11 years old. It was my mom’s instant coffee, with milk and sugar. Overall, it was delicious!

​​​​​What inspired you to pursue a career in the coffee industry, and how did you get started? What did you do before coffee?

I started working at 16, and I began as a waitress. I entered the coffee industry at almost 18 years old. In fact, like many people, it was an easy way to make money during my college years, but as you can see, I was compelled to stay.

Tell us a bit about the places you work at and all the different roles you have.

I work as a coffee educator in “Octo Coffee education”, and help people learn how to brew coffee using alternative methods and teach them about the factors that affect the final cup. I also work as a barista at Octo Tower coffee shop in Kyiv. This establishment is a brew bar where we only brew black coffee.

In addition, I love to organise coffee events. I invite various roasters, and we hold charity pop-ups and cuppings. And of course, there is the Dotyk Dripper project. As one of the creators, I do a little bit of everything.

You have some amazing achievements in the championships. Can you tell us more about them?

I won the Ukrainian Brewers Cup championship on my second try. I’m incredibly happy to be a part of this, because it inspires me so much.

How was it to prepare for championships when there is still a brutal war happening in Ukraine?

It is indeed very challenging. Constant stress, and lack of sleep due to night shelling – it is very emotionally draining. My training location was in the centre in Kyiv on the 6th floor. And with each alarm, you just run to the shelter in the middle of the training session.

How did it feel to compete on the World Barista Championship stage?

It was an incredibly cool experience to perform shoulder-to-shoulder with amazing professionals. Words can’t describe the emotions. I’m definitely not going to stop and keep growing my skills and myself further.

What is the most important thing to have in mind when you start to compete in coffee championships?

A desire to share your own experiences and ideas with the world. And of course, do not forget to enjoy the process, no matter how difficult it may be.

On the global stage, what message do you hope your participation sends to the world about the resilience and determination of people in Ukraine?

The main idea of my speech was that we, Ukrainians, continue to move forward and create new products despite the brutal war. Even if we move away from the coffee industry. We do not stop and we always have ideas, dreams and aspirations. No terrorist country will prevent us from doing so.

Coffee has the power to bring people together. How do you envision the role of coffee in promoting unity and peace in your country, and globally?

Indeed, any common cause unites people. Whether it’s coffee or a glass of red wine, there’s something for everyone. In my opinion, people are always stronger together, especially when they have common interests. The coffee community has been getting stronger over the years, so our ideas are definitely being heard.

On a lighter note, can you tell us a bit about the Dotyk dripper that you helped to create and presented on the World Stage?

This is an unusual device. Firstly, it is made entirely from Ukrainian materials. The clay is Slavic. All packaging and production is in Ukraine. This device breaks the mold. It has holes that allow for the use of higher temperatures and helps to open up the potential of the coffee without bitterness in the taste. The holes also work to reduce the evaporation of volatile compounds, so coffee brewed in our device has a brighter aroma. There are many other features that you can find out about on our social media. 

Finally, can you share your plans for the future as a coffee professional? Do you have any upcoming projects or aspirations within the coffee industry?

Of course, I hope to see you again at the World Championships, as I plan to continue competing. As for professional ideas, these are, of course, new devices and some accessories to enjoy the taste of our wonderful coffee. Stay tuned – there is more to come!

Quick Fire Questions for Iryna Basko:

Would you serve filter coffee with milk if asked for it?


Do you ever take sugar with your coffee?


Espresso or Filter coffee?

Filter coffee.

Milky or Black?

Only black.

Slurp or spit?


Do you aim for Sweetness, Acidity, or Body?

I like balance in my cup of coffee.

Cake or Pastry with your coffee?


Favourite piece of barista equipment?

Pour-over “Dotyk Dripper”.