TERRA COFFEE ROASTERS in Esaka, Osaka is this month’s #KurasuPartnerRoaster. We interviewed their head roaster, Junpei Yamamoto-san, who also is in charge of their quality control.
Actually, both me (Kosuke) and Yamamoto-san are “graduates” of Ogawa Coffee and he has been my inspiration ever since- so with love and respect, I refer to him as Junpei-san here as I always do!
I first heard about Junpei-san when I was in my previous job at Ogawa Coffee- there was no overlap between our career there so I did not get to work with him in the shop, but the rumor of a legendary OB who is roasting coffee at Populus Coffee in Berlin greatly inspired me, being new and eager at the beginning of my career with coffee. It was his Honduras that encouraged me to make a decision on the direction I wanted to take in this world. Junpei-san, you said you want to improve yourself, to be more effectual- but even back then, me and many others admired you and followed your back for your courage and action.
For this month’s package, Junpei-san picked Ethiopia and Kenya. “I want this to be a great opportunity for us to share what’s unique to us”, he said, and he arranged to import an Ethiopian natural from an importer in Bordeaux, via Mr. Henrik Haavisto, the owner of Populus Coffee. According to them this has never been in the Japanese market before- exciting! Junpei-san describes the Kenyan coffee (which will also be on our shelf this season) he picked as “a striking coffee with a defined acidity and voluminous sweetness that shines through an intense roasting”.
“Our roast focuses on sweetness and balance in taste, and I hope our coffee conveys that”, Junpei-san says. It feels almost rude of me to describe him like this but throughout the interview he was so modest and honest. People like him in my life inspire me and help me carry on my journey- the person who inspired that young man standing in the shop’s kitchen, making sandwiches day after day, to make a step forward in his career. Junpei-san, without a doubt, your presence in Berlin has helped me find my path. For the first time in four years, I finally get to say, thank you so much.