【Future plans and my role at Kurasu】
It’s getting warmer, and we are starting to see customers at Kurasu enjoying iced coffee. Summer is coming!
This is the final part of the trilogy, “Interview with Kosuke: Our Roaster”- in Part 1 we asked him about how he stepped into the world of coffee, and in the previous Part 2, he told us about his day as a roaster and his passion for coffee.
In Part 3, we will talk about our recent big project, Barista Blend, and I, the interviewer, also asked a couple of coffee related questions I’ve been itching to ask.
Is there any coffee you are interested in roasting in particular?
Everything and anything really!
ーーーYay that’s the spirit!
If possible, I’d love to purchase coffee beans directly from a farm. The thing about importing beans is that there is always at least a couple of months from the harvest day until I can finally get my hands on them. These several months make a big difference. I know it would be a big deal if I were to actually do it, but I’d love to find out how different the result would be if I could get green beans that are a few months fresher than what I can get via importers.
ーーーThat would be a very interesting project! I’m very curious to taste what your roast would taste like with fresher beans!
Barista Blend project was a huge success! Speaking of which, would you consider making “Kosuke Blend”?
Well, to be honest, Kosuke Blend is already completed through the process of working with our baristas to make each of their blends.
I’ve never focused so much on a blend like this until this project- I participated in the blend building process for 5 times in total for 5 baristas, and the more I gain the experience the more I could see what kind of advice or tips I can share to achieve the flavor that was in each one’s mind. In that sense, each blend has a certain amount of my opinion and philosophy.
ーーーThat makes sense. Although each of the 5 blends crowns different barista’s names, you were part of all of it. So while they are Barista Blends, they also are Kosuke Blend.
I think I can say that, yeah. Although there isn’t an official Kosuke Blend, I certainly felt like I could go through the process of designing one, and of course, it was a great project for me to be well equipped for making the new house blend. Everyone’s inputs were very helpful and inspiring- their blends were something I wouldn’t come up with on my own, and it was a great opportunity to dive into the world of blend building.
ーーーWhich barista blend do you remember the most?
For being something I wouldn’t come up with, I’d say Kume Blend and Mizuki Blend. Mizuki Blend in particular felt very feminine and something very different from how I would approach. Man, this project was so fascinating! I loved the fact that each baristas’ personalities were right there in the blend.
ーーHow about making an admin staff blend next? Like, “Backoffice Blend”? It would make a very interesting blend too, considering how unique individuals Kurasu staff members all are.
Oh yeah! That would definitely be fun. I’d love to plan more projects where our baristas and other staff members can collaborate.
How should I store coffee beans?
ーーーThis is just my personal question.
I've heard many different pieces of advice from many different roasters and coffee shops on how best to store coffee beans. Some say room temperature, or in the fridge, and the others say put them in the freezer. Is there a correct answer? Even if there isn't, what do you recommend as "Kurasu's way"?
Hmmm. To be honest, I've never really wanted to have coffee beans to last very long. I think room temperature is perfectly fine. Of course, the temperature changes depending on the season and I can see how it affects the coffee, such as how fast they de-gas. But I enjoy that change.
It's great to keep the coffee fresh so that you can always enjoy the same, fresh flavor, but what I like about coffee is its interesting development as the days pass since the roasting day. However, I do understand the feeling of wanting to keep the coffee beans as fresh and tasty as possible until the very last cup, and for that my answer is “store them at room temperature, up to 1 month”.
ーーーThank you so much! I like your way of enjoying the change and development. We tend to go for perfection and freshness, but that can also mean that we are missing out the full picture of what that coffee is. Good advice.
This is just my personal opinion, but I feel that freezing beans accelerates the loss of flavor.
I once tried pulling a shot of espresso using frozen beans- I ground the beans without defrosting them, and it made an amazing shot. But then, I left the beans for another day, and it no longer tasted great. It didn’t last for some reason. I didn’t dig deeper than that in terms of why it happened, but it was a very interesting discovery. I hope everyone would have a chance to learn more about the coffee beans they have by experiencing the change and development in flavor too.
ーーーThere are more people enjoying roasting at home- what’s your opinion on storing green beans?
Green beans require a very good temperature management so you’ll need to give it more attention. It’s important to keep them in a moderately dry and cold, air-conditioned environment to avoid drying the beans out. Just like vegetables, the water in the beans contains all kinds of goodness and flavors, and the more you lose the water content the less tasty it gets. That’s also a key in roasting too- keeping as much moisture in beans as possible is very important.
Last question. What do you see in Kurasu’s future and what’s your role in it?
My role is definitely in controlling the quality.
To make this year better than the last, and make it even better next year. For roasting, brewing or purchasing green beans, I want us to grow better even for a tiny bit every year, and I want to take part in it.
I want our coffee next year to taste better than this year. It may sound like a very pin-point thing to say, but I believe that’s one of the pillars of Kurasu’s core value.
I know my roasting and myself as a person still have a room to grow- I’ve been aware that visiting coffee farms and telling their stories are becoming mainstream in the coffee industry, and as I told you today I do want to visit farms too, but I don’t feel ready for it just yet.
I’d rather be fully prepared and confident in myself first to be able to deliver someone else’s stories. It feels a little too much for me to think about the individuals at farms and what it is like there, and I still need to fully focus on how I can roast the coffee beans in front of me with this particular roasting machine. That’s my job, and only recently I started to grasp the spirit of it. So, if I were to visit the farms, I want to go in pursuit for the higher quality, not for the stories. Then if I witness a great story to tell about that coffee, that would be ideal. I want to establish a solid relationship with producers based on the great coffee they make. Until Kurasu becomes a 1-ton roaster, I won’t stop doing my absolutely best and moving forward!
That’s a wrap of Interview with Kosuke: Our Roaster!
We hope we could share something to learn a bit more about a coffee roaster as a profession, and about Kosuke’s passion for coffee through this interview.
I, the interviewer, felt reassured that with Kosuke Kurasu will be fine, and our coffee will always taste great. How people do their jobs is a good reflection on their personality.
Thank you Kosuke for the great cup of coffee on my desk as always!
We are currently preparing to open a new roastery in the Nishijin area of Kyoto- stay tuned for Kosuke and Kurasu’s exciting future.