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warmth (Gunma) : 2023 April #KurasuPartnerRoaster

warmth from Takasaki, Gunma is this month’s #KurasuPartnerRoaster. The owner, Fukushima-san, established his skills and career in the industry at Paul Bassett, before playing a crucial role in opening PASSAGE COFFEE in Tokyo. After leaving PASSAGE COFFEE in trusted hands, Fukushima-san joined an industry leading importer, SYU・HA・RI, as a green beans buyer while leading the coffee scene of his hometown running warmth.

Coffee industry in Japan hasn’t been an ideal environment for younger, newer generations to emerge in certain areas. “The head of SYU・HA・RI, Tsujimoto-san, encouraged me to take on this job to tackle the issue, and I swore to carry his torch and pass it on to the next generation” Fukushima-san says. His vision for his shop also includes providing younger generations a place to learn and grow- “I want each one of our staff members to have a sense of ownership, and I’m eager to pass the baton to them in essential departments such as roasting and quality control”, he explains. The whole process of coffee production is often described as “from upstream to downstream”- as a coffee person in a consuming country, Fukushima-san’s mission is to provide a systemized environment for next generations to gain first-hand experiences in from purchasing green beans to roasting and brewing.

Two Brazilian coffees you received this month were both selected and purchased by Fukushima-san himself- one is from Fazenda Um, managed by the 3-times national barista champion, Boram Um. This nutty, fruity coffee with mild and complex acidity is the very first lot to be ever imported to Japan, and sure to add a completely new perspective to what you already know about Brazilian coffee. The other is from Espirito Santo, a well known area for its high altitude and harsh natural environment. Hand-picked and sorted by skilled farmers , this microlot is an excellent display of the craftsmanship of Brazilian coffee production. Through this month's package we hope the superb complexity and nuanced flavors of Brazilian coffee will even be more highlighted by comparing and enjoying back to back.

At the end of the interview, Fukushima-san mentioned that his life-long mission and theme is to nurture excellent talents for the future coffee world. His words still linger in my mind, prompting me to ask myself if I am an excellent coffee person- as I brew my daily coffee, I promise myself to become a great coffee person that I can be proud of, slowly but surely.