The very first roaster we introduce in 2022 is BREATHER COFFEE from Zushi, Kanagawa. The owner and roaster, Hasegawa-san first pursued his career in architectural and interior design for 3 years, and jumped into the coffee industry, starting with Starbucks in Kamakura for a year before moving to Melbourne, Australia in 2013. Job hunting wasn’t easy at first, as Hasegawa-san recalls, but he came across the job opportunity in one of the top cafes, Krimper- his talent flourished there, and he was eventually promoted to a head barista with a sponsored visa, and brushed up his skills in Melbourne for 5 years. His future in the Australian coffee scene seemed promising, but when he flew back to Japan temporarily he could not ignore the potential in Japanese coffee culture he witnessed.
Moved back to Japan, he visited his childhood utopia, Zushi, and explored to do some property hunting. He fell in love with Zushi all over again for its beautiful nature, surrounded both by mountains and the sea.
Signing for the property on the very day, Hasegawa-san immediately started to work on the shop with his former colleague at the design studio, and opened BREATHER COFFEE in May 2018.
Initially, he was serving coffee roasted by MAKER in Melbourne, but since the pandemic started, importing coffee has become a struggle. With his training and research on roasting from his Melbourne days and support from fellow roasters, he switched mostly to house roasting in April.
Hasegawa-san describes his roasting style on his Diedrich as “light roast that is thoroughly roasted and sweet”. Just like Zushi that welcomes people as their natural selves, Hasegawa-san likes to keep his shop always laid-back and inclusive. “I want to offer those exciting experiences like the time when I first encountered and fell in love with specialty coffee”, he says. At BREATHER COFFEE you can find superb house roast each tailored to espresso and filter brew, with a great range from a kind that has bright acidity to chocolaty sweet ones- the lineup caters both coffee connoisseurs and beginners, and the warm and welcoming shop full of light is always filled with customers of all ages lives up to Hasegawa-san’s ideal: that Melbourne coffee scene where coffee was a part of people’s daily lives. Just like in its name, Hasegawa-san hopes that his coffee gives a bit of a breather for people and all “breathing” beings around them.
“We hope these bags of coffee can deliver some of the sweet air of nature around here. If you ever have a chance to visit Zushi, please drop by- we recommend grabbing a cup and walking to the beach”, he smiles- that went straight into our holiday plan book!