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nai (Nagasaki) : 2022 December #KurasuPartnerRoaster

The final #KurasuPartnerRoaster for 2022 is nai in Isahaya, Nagasaki. The owner/roaster, Kondo-san, has won 3rd prize at Japan AeroPress Championship in 2015, while working for KARIOMONS COFFEE ROASTERS, before opening his own shop in 2020. I had a chance to visit the shop in person recently, and I absolutely loved the place- I’m writing this like a diary, to share my excitement with you.

It was a total coincidence that I was planning a holiday in Nagasaki only a week after I had our online interview with Kondo-san. To tell you the truth, this was my first time meeting our partner roaster in person. Every month I try my hardest to capture and convey their story as vividly as possible by communicating with them over the video calls, but meeting in person really gave me an experience on a completely different level.

I was walking down the street in a residential area, with a map in my hand- then the space suddenly opened up, and a little shabby, factory-like building appeared. As I approached I could catch a glimpse of the inside where there was a little hut-like box. None of these clearly said that this is the place and where the roasting machine is, but they had some magical atmosphere that somehow tells me I have come to the right place. Everything existed in a seemingly random order- a shelf, pots of plants, an old coffee grinder- but altogether they existed in harmony that Kondo-san creates. His hearty laugh and the somewhat chaotic store was making an interesting contrast, creating that uniquely “addictive” environment.

One of the coffee Kondo-san selected for this subscription has a very special place in his heart. The coffee from Nicaragua that Kondo-san has been purchasing ever since the beginning of his business. He also has visited the farm in person, with his vision for the future of making the market more producer-centered. After hearing from the farm owner, Sergio san, that they are suffering with 80% decrease of harvest due to the pandemic and other natural disasters this year, Kondo-san decided to pay extra for the same amount of beans, hoping to be of any help he can.

“Isahaya, where we are, is a small town, but it would be great if we can deliver something unique and intriguing. Oh, also I love music, and I play LP records here- I love that laid back sway it creates, and I hope people can enjoy our coffee like we enjoy music here”, Kondo-san smiles. I know where he is coming from- coffee is like music. Whenever I encounter someone like him, I’m more and more convinced that coffee roasters are “art workers”. Kondo-san, thank you so much again for joining us!