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Our Coffee Story: Marketing Team, Shoko

My coffee roots: Shokoさん

Hey, everyone!

We will start this new year with a new blog series titled “My Coffee Roots”. Although Kurasu is based in Kyoto, our staff members originated from a lot of different places.

So through this blog, we will be introducing the Kurasu staff members’ coffee journey, from their upbringing to local coffee shop recommendations, and more!

Today we will be sharing the story of our Marketing Team member Shoko! We recommend you have a cup of coffee in hand while you enjoy the story of her coffee roots.

[Shoko Sekiya, 28 years old]

She was originally from Aichi Prefecture and an art college graduate. After graduation, she was involved in the planning and production work at a pottery company located in Gifu prefecture. Then she proceeds to join a design office in Kyoto, before finding her place at Kurasu around two and a half years ago. Since joining the company, she has worn multiple hats, from being part of the Packing Team, Human Resources, and Accounting. Now, she is working as a manager of the domestic marketing team, involved in both online store operations and product planning. She definitely is a rare jack-of-all-trades among the Kurasu members, who has a strong creative streak. She is known for her cheerful smile that caught you off guard and her refreshing personality, which makes her well-loved by everyone.

Some fun facts about Shoko:

Her motto is "less is more." Her favorite things are Kashi by Kurasu sweets and fun patterned socks. Her favorite coffee regions are Rwanda and Tanzania. Her favorite brewing gear is the Hario V60.

How did you fall in love with coffee?

During university, my ceramics teacher loved coffee, so I would go to his ceramics studio and get a cup of coffee. A junior in the same department who also loved coffee, would grind coffee beans in the studio and brew some for me. During this time, we would talk and discuss a lot of different things. Coffee was a part of my circle, and I came to like it.

Picture: (Atelier, coffee, and hanging out)


Picture: (Professor brewing coffee at the open campus)

For me, coffee is something to enjoy, but it is never the main focus. Coffee is something that accompanies a good conversation or something that provides small comfort during a difficult time. That is what coffee means to me.

Now that I think about it, my brother shared with me in the past, how his interest in coffee peaked after drinking a hand-drip coffee during his university days. I remember him sharing about how his professor was also a fan of coffee.

I think coffee is an inevitable part when you meet adults who like coffee, or when you are working at a university and need a break.

Coffee becomes indispensable when you are in the company of adults who are fans of coffee, working at university, or when needing a break.

Picture: (University upper classman)

Coffee at my parent’s house:

While I was growing up, living in my parent’s house, we were not in the habit of brewing coffee from scratch. We would drink instant coffee from the brand Blendy, dissolved in hot water and mixed with milk. Nowadays they opt to brew better coffee with drip bags coffee. When I grew up and visited my parent’s home, they would brew coffee with a French press or they have a lot of options for drip bags or they would have a café au lait base available. It seems they would go for different types for different occasions. Now that I work at Kurasu, I would brew some coffee while I am at home.

Picture: 2022 end-of-year drip bags

What coffee shops do you recommend?

Coffee Kajita (コーヒーカジタ)

My ceramics teacher at university took me to this coffee shop. It was the place that made me think coffee was delicious. It is a small store run by a couple, with only a counter that seats 4 people. The man was in charge of coffee and the woman was in charge of making the cakes (the cake is also delicious). I often go either with friends or by myself. Since back then and now, I don’t often go out to drink coffee. This coffee shop is a rare and memorable spot for me. It is not a place where I come to chat, but it is a place where I can relax and enjoy coffee and pastries.

Hoshikuzu 星屑珈琲

I used to go there sometimes when during university. It was a coffee shop that was open until late at night and I have fond memories of talking about the future into the night with my university friends. The demitasse coffee was very rich and delicious. Currently, the coffee shop is only open to solo customers. I recommend checking the opening hours via the owner's blog post before visiting. 

Picture: Hoshikuzu demitasse coffee cups

A unique way to enjoy local coffee shops:

When I think of Aichi prefecture, I think Komeda’s coffee! And eating their dessert Shiro Noir.

This has nothing to do with coffee but, I heard some people remark that they prefer Komeda to Starbucks when they are working on their computers.

What do you think of Shoko’s story?

Many of you might have some nostalgic feelings as you read them. Reminiscing about your parent’s home or your hometown.

Do you remember your own coffee roots? This weekend while brewing coffee at home, try remembering that day you first encountered coffee.
Surely, that cup of coffee that you always take for granted will taste a little more special.

If you’re ever in Aichi Prefecture, be sure to visit Shoko’s recommendation