Gluck Coffee Spot in Kumamoto is this month’s #KurasuPartnerRoaster. This is our second time partnering with them since 2021, and we are very excited to learn more about the thriving coffee scene in Kumamoto through this interview with the owner, Miki-san, and barista, Takeuchi-san.
What attracts people to Kumamoto? Miki-san feels the great balance between city and nature is one of many elements- while the central city of Kumamoto is relatively large and convenient, it is surrounded by a beautiful natural environment, with seaside area and mountains both within 1 hour drive away. The mind-nourishing environment and great food that comes with it makes it easy for many people, including the younger generation, to decide to settle down in the area.
Takeuchi-san, their barista, is one of them- “I used to be a regular here until Miki-san offered me this opportunity 5 years ago”, explains Takeuchi-san. She compares the working experience at Gluck Coffee Spot to that of start-up companies- she feels that she can make her own decision and set goals and challenges for herself. Lately, Takeuchi-san is taking part in green beans trading, joining an importer, SYU・HA・RI, while still working as a barista.
The culture developed around coffee was what originally attracted Takeuchi-san to this industry, but now she is eager to delve even deeper into the world of coffee, especially by learning more about the coffee itself as a raw ingredient. “There are countless ways to be involved with coffee professionally, and I’d love to be part of a positive cycle and energy that encourages people’s passion for coffee”, she smiles.
The secret behind the recent rise of Kumamoto’s coffee culture seems to be this “cycle” Takeuchi-san talks about. Rather than following the typical path of working under people then becoming independent, in Kumamoto a circle of friends from the same generation teams up and drives the culture forward. The unconventional development of the coffee scene here embraces a wider range of values and backgrounds, therefore becoming the birthplace of a better diversity and energy that takes roots then attracts even more people.
Miki-san’s vision also revolves around the idea of a cycle. He’d want to invite people to be interested in coffee in their everyday lives, which leads to larger, more steady purchases of green beans that builds a foundation of long-lasting relationships between them and the producers. “Step by step I’d like to build up to expand this positive cycle”, he explains.
There are some who travel to Kumamoto to visit Gluck Coffee Spot- “I wouldn’t say that contributes to the development of the city, but it would be wonderful if coffee shops can be that first step for people to join the community and fall in love with Kumamoto”, Miki-san says. It may sound dramatic, but a good cup of coffee shows who and where we are in this world and can be the catalyst for building new cultures, and ultimately changing the world.