The final part of our interview with Vladyslav Demonenko. barista as well as CIGS competitor from Ukraine who has moved to Berlin during the conflict.
BY CAROLINE CORMIER
A SPECIAL OFFICE FOR BARISTA Magazine ONLINE
Photos from Vladyslav Demonenko
From the editor This week we had a lengthy conversation with Ukrainian barista Vladyslav Demonenko about his experiences in Ukraine before the Russian invasion. Today, we get to know about his life in Berlin after his move to the city, and what this will mean for his career as an Coffee in Good Spirits competitor.
Caroline Cormier: You’ve recently been permitted to depart Ukraine and are now in Berlin. Tell us the process that led to this, and what’s your current situation in Berlin, the German capital?
Vladyslav Demonenko: It wasn’t an easy task to decide to quit and I have two brothers, aged 9 and 17 who were stressed due to the constant explosions and sirens. In Dnipro. So I asked my father if I could have temporarily control of them and bring the boys along with me to Berlin. There I’ve got friends letting us stay temporarily and it’s been a relaxing time for us. Our mother is unable to travel abroad as she is also taking care of her mother who is sick and old as well as my father, who is an officer in the defense of territorial sovereignty. My father is the only person left to care for them.
Because of a medical issue I am not eligible to serve in the military. Before I left the medical commission was able to confirm my medical condition and allowed me to travel across the border. I’ve been living in Berlin for a few weeks, and am looking for an interim job to provide for my brothers and myself. I’m not sure how long I’ll stay in Berlin and it will all depend on whether I am able to find an apartment or work here , and most importantly, whether it’ll be suitable for me and my family. At the moment I’m more receptive than ever before to traveling to any place around the globe to search for something.
You are expected to represent Ukraine at the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship at the World of Coffee in Milan this month. Are you still wishing to be able to attend this event to represent your country? Have you ever thought about what it would mean to be a representative of Ukraine here?
This is a difficult issue for me. I would love to participate in CIGS, and I’ve devoted many hours to the CIGS. In the end, it’s my most favorite discipline. For this year’s event I came across an extremely uncommon Colombian coffee, and then came up with some intriguing drinks. But I don’t know how I will be a part of the championships because the stress of the current situation is just too much. Imagine you’re working at a cafe for a minute, and then the next minute, an alarm goes off and you’re given only five minutes in which to escape from a potential explosion. It occurs five or six times per day. Sometimes even more. In these circumstances it is hard to imagine synergies, mixology or even taste. Additionally I often feel at ease knowing that I’m in relatively safe and can work, whereas many others aren’t.
Sometimes, I find myself thinking about the competition and what I can tell the judges and the public. It’s and not a pleasant experience, to think about the fact that I have to be a part of the team representing my country. In truth, I’m not able to find the right words yet. However, I do believe that this won’t be my last one. I know it.
However, for the moment moving from the reality I am in towards the World of Coffee is the goal.just a fantasy. It’s unreasonable to consider my participation in the event without knowing what tomorrow holds. I am hopeful, and believe that the conflict will be over. We are strong and united, and we will not quit until we win.
About the Author
Caroline Cormier (she/her) is a freelance writer from Toronto, Canada. She is currently in Berlin, Germany, where she has been assisting local efforts to assist Ukrainians who have moved to Germany. German capital. She is on Instagram at @ccormier_.
This article was first published at Barista Magazine, an online magazine dedicated to baristas and coffee professionals.