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SKY BLUE COFFEE ROASTERS (Sapporo) : 2023 November #KurasuPartnerRoaster

SKY BLUE COFFEE ROASTERS is this month’s #KurasuPartnerRoaster- a roaster located in Sapporo, Hokkaido. The owner, Yano-san, is a leading figure in Hokkaido’s coffee scene- a Q grade holder with winning record of SCAJ roast masters championship. Also teaching masterclasses at culinary school, he is literally inspiring the next generation of Hokkaido’s coffee professionals.

Yano-san started his career at a marketing agency, and with his expertise he moved onto coffee companies’ startup business, including that of the star of Sapporo's coffee scene, ONIYANMA COFFEE. He first felt the power of specialty coffee when he visited GLITCH COFFEE & ROASTER in Tokyo. Perhaps because of its harsh, cold climate, Sapporo has always been known as a city with a deep-rooted preference for dark roast coffee- to challenge and diversify Hokkaido’s coffee scene, Yano-san opened SKY BLUE COFFEE ROASTERS in 2019.

However, his path to today’s success didn’t start smoothly. Being physically detached from the mainland, Hokkaido has its own metabolism in the market: conservative, and new things are rarely integrated. Even major successful companies from the mainland often fail to extend their reach to the island. Convincing people of Hokkaido that these unique light roast coffees are actually palatable and can be a great options for their everyday coffee wasn't easy.

“My experience as a marketer really helped me”, Yano-san reflects- “I couldn't drink coffee before, which was predominantly conventional dark roast. But I could enjoy light roast coffee when I tried. That’s how I noticed that my target market was not the existing one but the people like me who are still new to building a coffee habit.” Also by starting a roasting machine sharing service, Yano-san slowly built a coffee community around him. His grass root evangelism eventually took off, and we see more and more people in Hokkaido enjoying light roast coffee on a daily basis.

“Compared to big cities like Tokyo and Osaka, it may still be difficult to find good options on coffee or coffee related job opportunities in Hokkaido. But I believe that taste and preference change along with generations, and I will do everything I can to help the aspiring young people, who I see more and more of”, Yano-san says. The coffee culture may have only sprouted out of the great land of Hokkaido- but Yano-san strongly believes that one day, it will grow into a big tree reaching out to the sky.