The next #KurasuPartnerRoaster is ETHICUS COFFEE ROASTERS in Shizuoka. If you step out from Hiyoshicho Station of a local Shizutetsu Railway, ETHICUS COFFEE ROASTERS' almost science lab-like minimalistic cafe can be found right in front of you.
─ How did you enter the coffee industry? What was your initial encounter with coffee like?
Since my father runs his own business, as a boy I always assumed that I would help him in the future. However I didn’t join the family business. I think I had more independent nature in me- it’s still a big part of me, that independence and I love creating my own path.
I didn’t know anything about coffee until one day when my friend told me he was planning to open a cafe. It sounded very exciting that I decided to join. So I could gain some experience in the industry, I started working for Segafredo Zanetti. Unfortunately, the original plan didn’t work out but it introduced me to the world of coffee. I worked for them for ten years, during which my roles included working as a chief barista and as a supervisor. I loved my job and I was perfectly content with my life as it was then- but then I met Hayashi-san from ARISE coffee roasters in Kiyosumi-shirakawa in Tokyo and he introduced me to specialty coffee. I was completely enchanted by it and before I knew it I had quit my job to open a cafe in Shizuoka, my hometown.
─How did Ethicus Coffee started?
I took the name “ethicus” from the Greek for “ethos”, which is a home to your heart, a fundamental character or spirit of a culture- the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society. I spent about 15 years away from my hometown after graduating from high school, and that made me realize an almost urge-like desire to give back to where I came from. So I started a cafe in Shizuoka, but after three years of operating there I started to feel that I had reached a point that the environment could no longer offer what I wanted. I decided to move my business to its current location to achieve more, naming the new cafe “ETHICUS” to have a fresh start focusing more on my original intention of contributing to my hometown.
─ Please tell us about the roasting machine you use and why you chose it.
I roast with Fuji Royal’s R-101 semi blast. The power and production of calories are not this machine’s strongest feature, but I love the level of control it gives me, which allows me to add a lot of stress on the beans or roast them slowly and softly. It’s a simple machine, and that makes it easy to control the process and get the exact roast I aim for.
I do value quality in green beans, but I value the chemistry with the buyer/importer even more. As much as I trust my senses, I also know how unreliable human senses can be, so I am trying not to rely on it too much. After picking what I like, I consult with my buyer thoroughly and make the final decision.
─What do you value the most during the process of roasting coffee?
I am responsible for all the roasting profiles here. Tastes and preferences are very much an objective matter, but my idea is that each coffee has its fundamental taste and characteristic. As I roast around that core character of the beans, I don’t make much adjustments to how I roast that often, but I sometimes change the roasting process depending on the variety, processing method, when it was harvested and stored. Basically, I see coffee roasting as cooking- coffee beans are the ingredients and we provide culinary experience via roasting and brewing.
─Please tell us about the coffee scene in Shizuoka, and about your future plans here.
Shizuoka is a big prefecture- there are many different cultures, dialects and philosophies. The Shizuoka city is the center of many different cultures, and I feel the variety and difference in people through their taste in coffee. Coffee culture here also reflects that diversity- the traditional Kissaten culture has strong roots, but coffee stands and newer roasters also coexist in harmony.
I recently came across a coffee shop that introduces coffee by focusing on coffee gear, and people are enjoying the abundance of choices and pick what matches their lifestyle or even what they feel like having on the day. I like seeing that the coffee culture is growing with diversity, and I would like to see more new ideas, something we will certainly be joining in on that journey ahead.