This month’s #KurasuPartnerRoaster is GLUCK COFFEE SPOT from Kumamoto.
The owner and the roaster, Miki-san runs 3 shops with different themes- the flagship in the central Kumamoto, GLUCK COFFEE SPOT, a cafe where a patissiere offers a beautiful pairing of coffee and baked sweets, licht coffee & cakes, and the newly opened roastery.
Miki-san’s Journey with Coffee
Miki-san’s first job in the coffee industry was at a bar in the corner of a clothes shop, brewing and serving coffee. They were serving coffee from one of the top roasters in Kumamoto, AND COFFEE ROASTERS, which also is the roaster that first brought the charm of specialty coffee to Miki-san.
The flagship store, which is a renovated old folk house near Kumamoto Castle, is a cozy space imbued with the warmth of the well-aged wooden beams and plaster walls. Their second cafe, licht coffee & cakes, which opened in 2019, is conveniently located right in front of Kumamoto Station, and although the interior shares a coherent style with their first cafe having wooden fixtures, the atmosphere is more modern and minimalistic. The latest development of their brand is the roastery that opened just last year, which is located in a quiet residential area, about 30 minutes by car away from the cafes. In the warehouse-like open space, coffee equipment is neatly presented on a shelf for sale, and the 5kg Probat sits at the back, it's presence being the focus of the room.
Although he is “partial to a fruity light roast more than anything”, Miki-san’s passion for offering the best coffee for different occasions led to serving different types of coffee tailored to each of his shops.
“At our second shop we have an in-house patissier, and we offer a variety of coffee and sweets there. We have many young customers in their 20s visiting us for photogenic cakes and latte. Majority of the drink orders, about 70% are latte and other espresso based drinks, whereas our flagship cafe mainly attracts customers who prefers pourover coffee, from a wider range of age group. It’s very interesting to see such a big demographic difference within the same area of the city”, Miki-san says.
GLUCK COFFEE’s Coffee
The key words to describe Miki-san’s coffee are “smooth” and “clean cup”. After purchasing the green beans from his trusted importer, he test-roasts them very lightly to begin with, then cup them, and then starts the fine adjustments to achieve the signature GLUCK COFFEE’s flavor that works magic whether served as hot, iced or prepared as cold brew.
“I roast and brew my coffee to be sweet, smooth and make sure it still goes down super-smooth even after it’s cooled down, and has a solid character that shines through no matter what brewing methods/equipment you choose”, Miki-san explains.
The Future Plans of Kumamoto’s Coffee Scenes and Miki-san
Miki-san is from Oita, a neighbouring prefecture of Kumamoto. When we asked what he likes about Kumamoto, he told us that he likes Kumamoto for its size, not too big or not too small, the trend-conscious locals, and the great food.
“There are many cafes in Kumamoto, but not the specialty kind especially run by someone of my generation. People here are very loyal to Kumamoto, but when young people aspire to work in the coffee industry they don’t really have many options yet, and they have to go to Fukuoka for better opportunities. My goal is to create more jobs in the coffee market in Kumamoto, and help produce more baristas from Kumamoto in the future”, he says.
As for the future prospects, Miki-san is hoping to visit farms himself as soon as it becomes possible to travel again. “While directly trading with farmers will benefit our deeper understanding of the raw materials, it also means we will need to increase the sales as we will need to buy in bigger lots. We are in our 5th year and we’ve been discussing where we want to head after this big milestone”, Miki-san says with a sparkling hope for the future in his eyes.
GLUCK means “happiness” in German, a word Miki-san took a liking to when he was younger- the small specialty coffee shop sprouted in Kumamoto has now become one of the fastest growing coffee brand in the city, and he will certainly be making more and more people in Kumamoto, Japan and in the world happy with his coffee.