The next roaster Kurasu will introduce is Basking Coffee in Fukuoka.
The cafe is full of light with a high ceiling and a fully glass-walled entrance, and an interior with greens, wood and iron makes the atmosphere clean and relaxing.
We interviewed our second roaster from Fukuoka, Enohara-san.
How Basking Coffee Started
Enohara-san was born and raised in Fukuoka, and he has spent his early 20s travelling around the world. He always wanted a shop of his own, and all the great bookstores and cafes were inspiring him but he initially couldn’t decide which path to choose. However, right after he came back to Japan, a strong feeling he should open a roaster suddenly came to him-- he could even imagine himself roasting coffee in very detail.
Enohara-san then started to learn about coffee, and got a job at Honey Coffee. He worked everyday packing beans, cupping, making espressos and cappuccinos, and it didn’t take long before he found himself completely enchanted by coffee. He also grew his interest in the whole production process of coffee, and he started to dream about visiting coffee farms and seeing green beans in the flesh and people involved in producing them. After working for 2 and a half years, Enohara-san quit Honey Coffee and flew to Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Columbia. It was a very inspiring experience and the trip made him see the bigger picture of the coffee production cycle, and he started to recognize coffee as a fruit which changed his overall view on coffee as well.
He also visited Norway to learn about the new wave of the coffee culture and cafe business by visiting as many cafes as possible-- their presentation, interiors and atmosphere gave him a lot to learn from. After his educational journey Enohara-san came back to Fukuoka and opened Basking Coffee.
Enohara-san did not have much experience in roasting, so after asking his former boss he returned to Honey Coffee for a month to learn more about the problem. Afterwards Enohara-san decided to purchase the same Probat roaster they used and started to explore his own roasting style. Honey Coffee's roasting method is an attempt to pursue clean coffee, but Enohara-san’s preference is to stress the juiciness and character of each bean, changing his method of roasting to get the flavour he wants rather than rigidly sticking to one ‘ultimate’ method. He has never really tried to over think his roasting technique as Enohara-san believes that the coffee should be at its best when his customers brew it at home with whatever the method they find the easiest. He provides coffee using french press, Aeropress, Chemex and other equipment to let his customers experience all the possible methods of brewing, and he brews for himself for time to time in order to not to miss anything that he may miss if he only did cupping. Enohara-san doesn't hesitate to change the way he roasts: even if a method produces the greatest ever flavour immediately after roasting, if that quality does not last then he will adapt the technique, so the taste is still good a few days later-- that is what his customer tastes after all. He values his customers experience the most, and that is what he roasts for.
Loved by Locals
It’s been 2 years since Basking Coffee has opened.
Chihaya, the town where the cafe is located is Enohara-san’s hometown. He picked it not just because of his attachment to the town but because of the potential he saw in it. The town has been evolving a lot over the last 10 years with a lot of young families moving in. “People in Fukuoka love new things”, says Enohara-san. The open-mindedness of the local people and the young newcomers with mixed backgrounds have nutured an exciting and friendly community.
Enohara-san told us that he has been very lucky with customers too. He has met many people with great chemistry, and some of them often visit every day.
One of the things that makes Basking Coffee special is its strong relationship with the customers. Many events such as brewing seminars, roasting demonstrations and public cuppings are frequently organised, and they are always busy trying to fit everyone in.
When we interviewed Enohara-san in December 2016, he told us that he is planning to visit Costa Rica at the beginning of 2017 to buy beans. His lively travel reports are on Instagram and his blog, and his brightly coloured photos show how fruitful and enjoyable it was-- Enohara-san says he wants to visit more and more countries to explore different beans. He loves traveling, and it will surely lead to more interesting coffee and new ideas which boost Fukuoka’s already rapidly growing coffee scene. Enohara-san’s love for coffee, and his laid back, open-minded attitude lifted us and left us with an excitement for the future Basking Coffee creates.
Shekinah, El Salvador