Kurasu’s Meet Your Barista series will introduce our baristas who make Kurasu Kyoto special. We will introduce them one by one every month—you may find something in common with them, or discover something new!
1. What brought you to the coffee industry, and how did you become a barista?
It has started completely by chance—I had no idea that I would be working in a coffee industry, I haven’t even tried any coffee before. When I was a teenager and was travelling around Australia for a month, I got lost, and I went into one Starbucks café to take a break. Watching baristas there enjoy making coffee singing and chatting comforted me a lot. Since then, I have repeatedly visited the café whenever I needed a break. I was not familiar with their customizing system, so I always ordered a pourover, which was on top of the menu. After going back to Japan I started to work at Starbucks, and through that experience I became more interested in pourover. I have worked for 5 years then revisited Australia, and lived around Melbourne and Perth for 2 years, working at several coffee shops. That’s where I found out about specialty coffee culture, and I decided to bring that culture back to Japan with me.
2. What made you interested in Kurasu?
After living in Australia for 2 years, I was planning to move to Kyoto and looking for a job. My friend in Kyoto told me about Kurasu, and their motto, “introducing Japanese coffee culture to the world” instantly captured me. Their brand new café has everything baristas can dream of, such as environment and equipment, and all the beautiful Made in Japan products excited me a lot. Most of all, their cold brew coffee was shockingly good. I am so blessed to be able to work here and to introduce many Japanese roasters’ coffee to people who visit Kurasu.
3. What is Kurasu’s strength? What makes Kurasu unique?
It’s so difficult to pick just one! I would say Kurasu is a very progressive coffee shop. Many roasters, baristas, importers, farmers and all kinds of people who make coffee industry great visit us from all over the world. It gives everyone a great opportunity to share information and make friends. At Kurasu Kyoto, we regularly serve several coffee roasted in Japan, as well as some guest beans from overseas. Our customers often ask us how we got those beans, but it’s difficult even for us to explain so I tend to say “they were destined to be here”… Also we have great staff, and that is what I’m proud of the most!
4. What kind of coffee do you personally drink often?
5. What type of coffee do you enjoy making?
I like pourover. It excites me when I create recipes depending on kind of coffee beans, how much I make, how I brew, how I grind, which dripper and kettle I use. There are so much to explore.
6. What is the most important thing for you when you prepare drinks?
I tend to be very precise when it comes to espresso. I need to get time and weight right, otherwise I start all over again. That’s why I sometimes become quiet while serving…sorry!
7. Other than Kurasu, please share your favourite cafes in a) Kyoto, b) Japan and c) Outside of Japan.
8. Where would you recommend for people visiting Kyoto?
I recommend Fushimi Inari Shrine. Senbon-torii (1000 Torii gates) is a must-see. Don’t forget to drop by at Vermillion for a great coffee!
9. Do you have something you would like to try at Kurasu? Do you have any future goal outside of Kurasu?
I want to make Kyoto’s coffee culture great by collaborating with many superb coffee shops in Kyoto and hosting events, etc. I also want to do a roasters report by asking roasters “what is coffee roasting?” and “why does every roaster’s coffee taste different?” In terms of my future goal, I want to introduce Australian coffee as a coffee tutor/ importer.