We opened Kurasu Kyoto in 2016, and we have been serving coffee roasted by numerous talented roasters from all over Japan. At Kurasu Kyoto, people can enjoy coffee from many different parts of Japan in one place, and people can learn about Japanese coffee culture and equipment through friendly conversation with baristas- local customers and visitors to Kyoto soon noticed what Kurasu Kyoto has to offer. People would drop by, enjoy coffee and conversation, always leaving with a smile on their face. Kurasu Kyoto has been blessed with talented staff and wonderful customers, and growing into such a comfortable place that’s open to everyone has built a bridge between Japanese coffee culture and the world.
In 2018, our main focus was to enhance the unique character and function we have established as our brand. We made sure to join many domestic and international coffee festivals including events in Taiwan and Shanghai, and have launched many original products. We feel that at the heart of Kurasu's characters how our presence has expanded across the world, and through that how we have used it as a platform to showcase Japanese coffee culture, and now it is our call of duty to keep it up. That sense of responsibility was even more enforced after meeting many people at coffee events who are eager to learn more about Japan.
2018 has been a wonderful time for Kurasu- and during such an fruitful year, we started to hear from more and more customers asking for a Kurasu roast. We also were keen to establish “our flavor” something which our baristas can really take time to make it their own, alongside our specially curated selection of coffee that express the values and characteristics of our partner roasters available at our cafe.
If it were not for the wonderful encounters with people and perfect timing, Kurasu would not be where we are today. And - in another case of 'perfect timing' we are finally ready to open our own roastery in Fushimi Inari just in time for our end of the year!
We chose a Giesen for our roasting machine- while there were several reasons that led us to the decision, such as the limited space and accessibility to the manufacturers, what we loved about Giesen the most was how passionate they are about coffee: their love resonated with ours, and it just felt right to work with them.
We asked ourselves, what kind of coffee did we want to create? The very first thing that we thought about was the faces of our customers all over the world who excitedly wait for their coffee subscription from Japan every month, loving to learn more about coffee and Japan.
Giesen expresses flavor very well- it is truly a wonderful machine with very detailed and flexible settings that have enabled us to express ourselves exactly as we want in every part of the roasting spectrum. Light roast develops a solid character, whereas medium/dark roasts create a mellow and deep aroma: we are falling in love with it more and more every day.
It is often the case that specialty coffee roasters only serve light roast, and that can sometimes put people off. However, through our first hand experience of serving people with many different personal tastes and backgrounds, we wanted our flavor to be something that appeals to everyone. Giesen was, in that sense too, the perfect choice to roast coffee that everyone can enjoy, from the beginner to a coffee connoisseur.
Probat is often a favorite choice by Japanese roasters, whereas many of the roasters we know outside of Japan recommended Giesen. By choosing Giesen, communicating new ideas with them will be a lot smoother, and we are excited to find out the difference and commonalities there are between Japanese norms and theirs.
Angelo, the manager of Kurasu's Singapore cafe, and together with Pok - also a great friend anan experienced roaster over in Thailand - they were able to provide plenty of training and deep insight for our roasting staff. The trends and techniques in the industry is changing quickly- and in the global network we have established, we intend that our roast will be an interesting blend of the latest trends in roasting style combined with the iconic identity of Japanese coffee.
The Fushimi Inari branch will open as a roastery as well as a cafe. It is located slightly out of the main tourist part of Kyoto, but still within a 5 minute walk from the station. It is somewhere you have to know to find.
Communication with our customers is important to us at Kurasu. We set Kurasu Kyoto’s bar counter much lower than the standard for that very reason- to lower the barrier between the staff and the customers. This philosophy is alive in our new branch as well, and the location strikes a balance between being accessible, but also not too busy so the environment is quiet enough where we can have constructive conversations with the people who choose to visit us looking for a good cup of coffee.
Giesen has blessed many roasters with prizes at various world roasting championships, but it is still not very well known in Japan yet. We believe that will make our workshops and events here even more exciting- we are looking forward to welcoming you at Fushimi Inari soon!