Kurasu’s Meet Your Barista series will introduce our baristas who make Kurasu Kyoto special. We will introduce them one by one —you may find something in common with them, or discover something new!
1. What brought you to the coffee industry, and how did you become a barista?
As soon as I entered my university, I started to work at a chain café in Kyoto. Fortunately, at the café I could get the chance to use a real espresso machine called LA CIMBALI. Working with this gear, I found how exciting coffee making was. After that I also work at another chain café in Kyoto and worked there focusing more on the hospitality for our customers. With this experience I noticed that I really love communicating with other people through coffee. This is the reason why I started to work as a barista and I’m at Kurasu now.
2. What made you interested in Kurasu?
First of all, I was really attracted by the concept of Kurasu: spreading the world of Japanese coffee culture to the world. The culture of third wave coffee brought various kinds of light roasted coffee into Japan. However, not only accepting what came from overseas, I’d like people living in different countries to know “how people in Japan enjoy drinking coffee” and “how baristas in Japan brew their coffee.” Moreover, the style called “multi roaster” sounded very interesting for me because before Kurasu Kyoto had started, I couldn’t find any other café which is was in the style of multi roaster in Kyoto. I was truly excited to introduce individual coffee roasted all over Japan to our customers.
3. What is Kurasu’s strength? What makes Kurasu unique?
What makes Kurasu unique is ABSOLUTELY that we, baristas, are very close to our customers. All baristas working at Kurasu are friendly. We’d like our customers from all over Japan and overseas to enjoy not only drinking coffee, but also chatting with us casually and chilling. Another point to notice is that we don’t decide which barista tries to make brewing recipe for our new coffee. It means that we all have responsibilities to find out the best recipe for each coffee. When we get new coffee from the roasters we always try many times until we get the taste that we’d like to serve. When one of us decide recipe, we always ask the other baristas to check the taste and we sometimes change the recipe to adjust without hesitation. I think this is the reason why every barista at Kurasu can tell how beautiful each coffee tastes to our customers in our own words.
4. What kind of coffee do you personally drink often?
When I drink coffee at my house or other cafes, I prefer pourover with light roasted coffee because I can clearly tell the characteristics of coffee from different origins. I also enjoy drinking café mocha (with chocolate) because I love sweets so much.
5. What type of coffee do you enjoy making?
I especially love doing pourover. If you slightly adjust your recipe, that always makes a big difference in your cup. For example, dose (how many grams of coffee beans you use), grind size, rinse the paper filter/ or not, how many seconds you wait for blooming, agitation, the temperature of the hot water you use, which dripper you choose, and so on. All the changes of the taste are interesting and that’s what makes pourover enjoyable for me. Because I can brew coffee in various ways, when I find the recipe with perfect tastes I always feel soooo happy!
In our shop, customers can easily see how we brew our pourover coffee. That’s why many customers are interested in, and we can start to have chats with our customers about how to make coffee. That’s also what I like about pourover.
6. What is the most important thing for you when you prepare drinks?
When I make coffee and other drinks, I focus on making them with exactly the same taste every time. This is because I’d like our customers who liked the tastes of our drinks and come back to be satisfied with. To be honest, basically I’m really shy, however I always try to enjoy conversations with our customers as much as I can while making coffee and drinks.
7. Other than Kurasu, please share your favourite cafes in a) Kyoto, b) Japan and c) Outside of Japan.
In Kyoto: Monoart Coffee Roasters/ LIGHT UP COFFEE KYOTO
In Japan: Unlimited Coffee Bar Tokyo
In other countries: Slater St. bench (Melbourne, Austraia)/ Industry Beans (Melbourne, Australia)
8. Where would you recommend for people visiting Kyoto?
My recommendation is definitely Ryoanji-temple. Its rock garden is beautiful beyond description and the quiet atmosphere makes you feel relaxed and forget about the time.
9. Do you have something you would like to try at Kurasu? Do you have any future goal outside of Kurasu?
At Kurasu Kyoto, we serve various kinds of single origins as pourover and we change our lineup quite often. Just because I’d like our customers to enjoy choosing one to drink more, I’d like to open a workshop in which customers can learn the features of coffee from different origins. It will also help them to find their favorite origins.
I’ve been in Australia for a year and seen the coffee scene there. This experience was definitely amazing and it really changed my point of view. Out of Kurasu, I’d like to travel to other countries and see and feel the coffee scenes there. For example, New Zealand, Canada, Norway, Germany, and so on. I hope to get chances to work in those countries as a barista. Also, I don’t have any experience of roasting coffee, so I really want to learn about roasting as well.