The next #kurasucoffee subscription featuring roaster is Townsquare Coffee Roasters in Fukuoka. Fukuoka has been embracing the rapidly growing coffee culture, and Townsquare Coffee Roasters is especially eye catching amongst the rising stars of Fukuoka. We interviewed Ide-san, one of the top managing team of the shop.
How did you start your career in the coffee industry?
I used to be working as a patisserie, and my first encounter with coffee was through my job, where I produced syphon filtered coffee for the customers. Then I started to drink coffee, and I was captivated by latte art. I started to dream about mastering the skill, and that lead me to this career. After joining Townsquare, my interest in coffee has strengthened and deepened remarkably, and now I am pouring my heart and soul to try and make better coffee every day.
Please tell us about Townsquare Coffee Roasters.
Our parent company owns several coffee shops and Japanese restaurants, and we will celebrate our 7th anniversary this October. We are focusing on specialty coffee, and we recruited one of the Japanese chefs from our group company as well as Mr. David Ockey from California as a baker to ensure our meals are always served at a very high standard. The first manager of the café was Mori-san, the owner/roaster of COFFEE COUNTY, and it was under his management that we installed the Petroncini and started in-house roasting to introduce specialty coffee to Fukuoka.
We also serve our drinks with latte art, which makes us a little different from other roasters in Fukuoka which are usually focused solely on coffee itself. We also offer wholesale, provide support for setting up new café businesses, as well as training. We often provide training for non-business partners. We encourage people to brew at home, which is why we have such a large section of our shop devoted to selling equipment.
When did the café start doing latte art?
I joined this café about 4 years ago, and they were actively performing the latte art back then already. Personally, I prefer to suggest that people enjoy the flavor of the coffee itself rather than enjoying the visual aesthetics of latte art, but I still think latte art is a great way for people to start gaining interest in coffee and liking it more.
Townsquare Coffee Roasters has been a center of attention with your skill support and latte art, as well as the quality of the roast .
I visited Fukuoka about 3 years ago, and compared to then, the growth in number of the cafes and roasters is remarkable. I imagine the environment and atmosphere in Fukuoka 7 years ago was very different, so how did the people in Fukuoka react to your roaster?
It was indeed a little bit difficult to get people interested in us, but it is important to keep on working on it. Through the years, we often hear people saying that they can’t drink coffee from other places after tasting our coffee, and it was the great feedback like that which kept us going. We believe that we should keep up our output to make ourselves known, so we routinely host cupping sessions and seminars, and also join as many events as possible. Most of our customers are locals as we have a strong connection with the local area, but hosting seminars and events has been a good opportunity to welcome new people from other areas too.
We also host a big cupping seminar annually, and last time, we featured Kyushu’s roasters, and a customer from Tokyo and other places brought some beans too, so we ended up with about twenty five kinds of beans which was a truly wonderful experience for all of us. We are quite happy about our relationship with other roasters inside and out of Fukuoka. We also started a monthly cupping session at Stereo Coffee in Fukuoka, hosting our fifth event this August.
At one event we arranged for a professional photographer to attend and held a workshop photographing coffee and cake. We are also planning to hold a hand drip seminar in September.
Please tell us about Townsquare Coffee Roasters’s roast.
We have been focusing on light roast from the very beginning. We roast almost everyday and sell around 20 kinds of beans at the shop. We use Petroncini, the hot blast roasting machine. We’re the first in Kyushu to install one, and it enables us to express the natural characteristics of the beans using our original roasting method and skill.
We never miss a cupping after roasting for the quality control, and we do the cupping with the same beans several times within a certain period of time to see how it will develop after they arrived at our customers’ home and monitor the shift of the flavor and the quality.
At the shop, we first ask our customer to try “Today’s coffee”. We also ask them to describe their preference, so we can match the perfect beans for each and every customer.
Please tell us about your future plans.
We will continue to improve our roasting skill, and maintain the good, balanced variety of our products as well as providing the opportunity for people to learn latte art. We will also continue to refine the overall skill level of our staff so that the quality we provide will be more consistently of a high standard at any time.