“Ask me anything!” said Yoshida-san from Life Size Cribe, Kurasu’s next featured #coffeefromjapan subscription in Kokubunji Tokyo, with a big friendly smile.
Yoshida-san got a job at one of the biggest coffee shop chains in Japan after graduating from college. He has quickly established his career and earned the position of a director of the café, but he gradually recognised his dream of having his own café. The coffee he was serving at that time was all machine-made, automatically prepared just by pushing buttons. He knew about roasting and what a barista is, but they were not something real yet.
While Yoshida-san was busy working, his company started another chain with a new concept, which provides Italian food and beverages including espresso. The first sight of their espresso machine greatly amused him, and that was the moment Yoshida-san has started to pursue the way to be a barista. He instantly applied for a transfer, but he had to wait. Frustration led Yoshida-san to buy his own espresso machine and he kept practicing, but ended up breaking many due to lack of knowledge. He also visited every single café where he can find baristas, and asked a lot of questions and gained an insight. At this point, his admiration for barista is still somewhat superficial—he wanted to be a barista for the sake of being a barista, and he was not yet to ask himself some important questions, such as “why do I want to be a professional?”, “why barista?”, or “what kind of coffee do I want to brew?”.
However, his way was destined to be shown very soon after that. One day, Yoshida-san stepped into Paul Bassett, where Itao-san, Sasaki-san, Kojima-san and other significant names of today’s Japanese modern coffee culture were working together making great coffee. Yoshida-san ordered a cup of espresso, and he was about to put a lot of sugar as always—but Sasaki-san, the first Japanese winner of WAC (World Aeropress Championship) in 2014 told him to just try as it is, without sugar. At first, Yoshida-san thought that’s ridiculous—how can I drink such a bitter thing without any sugar?—but the first sip took him away with a huge shock. It was unbelievably sweet, and tasted as smooth and thick as dark chocolate which nearly confused him. He told us that he couldn’t even stop the goose bumps for a while after that.
Yoshida-san then sent a CV for more than 5 times while widening his network in a coffee business, but there was no luck. However, he finally got a chance to be the part-time staff at Paul Bassett’s new branch in Shibuya, where he fully expressed his passion and ability by working the hardest and eagerly learned from others. In a short period of time, Yoshida-san established his reputation, which resulted in winning the position of barista and getting to involve with roasting which only full-time staff can handle.
While he was climbing the ladder remarkably fast, he has not forgotten his original dream on opening his own café. He didn’t miss a minute to practice, learn and connect with people—and finally, Life Size Cribe was introduced to the world in 2015.
Yoshida-san strongly believes that people should feel happy when they drink coffee—coffee should be more than the way to intake caffeine, but it should be something beneficial to their body and mind. He told us that the key is a temperature; if it’s too hot, flavour would come out really well but it doesn’t deliver the sweetness. The ideal coffee for Yoshida-san is a coffee which you can enjoy the sweetness from the very first sip with a well-controlled quality which will not change while drinking.
He chose to start a unique style of roasting called “shared roaster”, sharing the roasting space mainly with Glitch Coffee and others to share their experiences and challenges. Now his reliable partner is Fuji Royal, and they are busy roasting every week.
With a growing popularity of the third wave coffee and growing number of new cafes, Yoshida-san said that he is concerned about the new trend in coffee culture in Tokyo, which a lot of people consume coffee just to experience something “cool” at some stylish places, not to purely enjoy coffee itself. “Many people see coffee as fashion, they don’t really stop and think about a meaning and a value of drinking coffee, or even providing coffee as professionals” says Yoshida-san, with a slight disappointment on his face.
“If you choose to be a barista, you need to think why you are doing that. You always need to think big, like thinking, what making coffee as a professional means, but start acting small like making a good cup of coffee every day to people around you.”—leaning the trending culture from the pioneers at Paul Bassett, and experiencing all kinds of difficulties and competitions to succeed there, Yoshida-san feels almost obliged to think and guide the next generation entering the coffee business.
Yoshida-san’s ultimate goal is to establish a unique coffee culture at Kokubunji and Tama-area, the western part of Tokyo. He wishes people in Tama to enjoy coffee with their own pace as a part of their life, not necessarily as something posh or stylish. He wants coffee to be a pure pleasure, which works as a catalyst to connect people, and to create conversations and comfortable places to be.
Brazil Sitio Zugolotto × Ethiopia Gedeb Natural
Varietal: Yellow Catuai × Ethiopia Native
Process: Pulped Natural
Tastes: Berry, Almonds, Floral. Balanced and long after taste and juicy mouthfeel.
Varietal: Typica Caturra
Process: Fully washed
Tastes: Orange, White peach, Tea. Juicy and complex, changes the flavour along with the change in temperature.