This month’s #KurasuPartnerRoaster is LIGHT UP COFFEE in Tokyo. The owner, Kawano san named his business with the hope of his coffee brightening up the days for those who visit. You can find their cafes in Kichijoji and Shimokitazawa, the cities of rich, unique cultures known for fashions and small theaters to mention a few. Following those, they recently opened a new roastery equipped with Probat UG22. Kawano-san’s journey is expanding outside of Japan as well- based in Bali, Indonesia, he is producing and processing coffee in collaboration with the local farms. His exploration attracts many fans as he not only hosts a farm tour, he also does not shy away from sharing his raw experiences on his YouTube channel and a podcast
When Kawano-san asks himself what kind of future he wants to see in the industry, his mind revolves around two questions: “how can we balance between quantity and quality, and how can we grow the industry while valuing human interaction and compassion?”
“Coffee is a wonderful drink. The world is flooded with fake and empty information, but even in that chaotic life, the experience of drinking a cup of coffee is always very real. A good cup of coffee fills your body with warmth and calms your soul”, Kawano-san says. Specialty coffee culture started out as a counterculture to a trend of mass-production and mass-consumption, valuing quality over quantity, but Kawano-san feels that we are not at the point of figuring out how we can turn the trend around once again, while securing the quality part.
“My mission is to encourage people to drink high quality coffee more frequently: to increase the number of coffee fans, to contribute to the coffee scene to thrive, and to seek the way to better improve the partnership between the consumers and producers.”
As we talked about the core value in the specialty coffee industry, Kawano-san shared his own experience- in his early days, Kawano-san visited Fuglen Tokyo and he was impressed by the clean and fruity flavor of Tim Wendelboe’s Kenyan coffee. “But I wouldn’t have been so intrigued by specialty coffee without the conversation I had with the owner, Kojima-san. His knowledge and passion were what got me into coffee. Looking back, at every stage of coffee production and consumption there is always a human interaction, more than just someone selling something to someone else. There has always been a conversation, and through that a love and passion have been passed along.”
“We don’t need to have a loaded conversation to enjoy coffee from the start. Just simply try it out, and it would be lovely if that cup can be the start of a fun journey to know more about it”, Kawano-san smiles. Beyond industries and across genres, Kawano-san will carry on, being a beacon of hope for a brighter, happier future of the industry.