As announced in our previous blog posts, our beloved Kume-nii has left Kurasu to open his own cafe in August.
Some of you may already have visited his nice new place, but today we want to share what our visit was like- it was so cool!
“common.” is the name of this great new coffee spot in Kyoto, and we asked Kume-san all about it!
We asked him which part of the shop he’s the most proud of and put the most effort into- and that was a silly question to ask.
- Hey Kume-san! How have you been?
Kume: I’m doing great!
- First of all, congratulations on the opening of your shop! How long has it been from the first day?
Kume: Actually, today marks exactly 1 week. It’s our 1 week anniversary.
- Wow that’s great! Please tell us everything- starting with the shop’s concept, maybe?
Kume: I think I’ve shared this a little with you on the last interview, but this shop is a cafe and a hair salon. I think this combination is sort of unique enough, so I will simply keep brewing a good cup of coffee, not trying to be quirky or anything.
Walking past the counter into the back of the shop, there is a private salon where Kume-san’s wife gives customers a hair cut.
Here, you can enjoy Kume-san’s freshly brewed coffee while getting a haircut.
How luxurious is that!
- Is there any special thing or corner you have made in the shop that reflects your taste and philosophy?
Kume: I selected pretty much everything with a lot of attention to details- cups and interiors like things from light bulbs to furniture, floor and ceilings. My intention was to keep our customers entertained with those nice little details, so that they can discover something new every time they visit us.
Kume-san then showed us his favorite corner of the bench.
Kume:No one who sat on this bench could ever leave the cafe before our closing time- it’s too good to stand back up and leave.
The bench is made with a material called MORTEX, and according to Kume-san, his aim was to create the Mediterranean resort vibe by putting soft cushions on stone/concrete benches.
“This is Malta in Kyoto”, he says.
(Why Malta though? The cafe is not in the South of Kyoto, it’s in Maruta area, Maruta...Malta...wait a minute)
- I love this lovely little plate for the chocolate! (They serve chocolates from Dandelion chocolate here, by the way)
Kume: Thanks, we have many people commenting on this. This is made by Bowl Pond Platz in Osaka, and they also made our shop sign, our menu binder, light switches, and the clothes hangers over there are also from them. The shop owner there has a great taste and we also got my favorite pentagon shaped umbrella stand over there from there as well.
- This cash tray is also very nice- is this from the same shop too?
Kume: It is! They said the material will age very well over time.
- Just how you like it.
“Nurturing and maturing”, a customer joined our conversation.
- Wonderful way to put it!
They already have such nice customers!
Kume: We also have furniture from Denmark, spoons from Italy, glasses from Belgium.
- It’s amazing how things from many different places are living in harmony. Oh I love this sugar pot!
Kume: Ah, that one is an impulse purchase from Tamba-sasayama (in Hyogo, Japan).
- Oh, I thought it’s from a different country as well! It looks very unique.
Kume: The lid is made of tin and I thought that’s interesting. My wife loves tableware, and she instantly fell in love with this when she saw it. The sugar inside isn't just regular sugar too. This is called raw sugar, and it dissolves nicely, goes very well with coffee- the sweetness is not too intense, has a very mild and natural flavor.
This coffee cup is a Mashiko-yaki pottery from Tochigi.
Kume-san said his wife’s passion for tableware influenced him too- it’s wonderful to see how two lovely people are building a shop together!
【About the machines setup】
- Could you tell us about your machines and gears?
Kume: I made sure to get a high grade grinder. It’s a small shop, but that never stops me from trying my best to serve a good cup of coffee- using a good grinder makes a very big difference. You can train yourself to brew better, but you can’t improve a bad grinder to be better.
Kume: Oh and this counter is made of solid timber, and the great thing about this is...
ーand the list goes on and on, and he has something to say on every single thing in the shop. Yep, that’s the Kume-san we know and that was a silly question to ask. Of course he never slacks off and has something he doesn’t approve of in his own shop.
We’ll stop here to save some fun for when you visit the shop yourself- do ask him about the counter! It’s not just stylish but there is a quite impressive reason behind why he chose that counter.
- Are you planning to change what’s on the menu in the future?
Kume: Yeah, I’ll probably add some more rather than changing what’s already on it. I will keep the concept as simple as possible- serving a good cup of coffee, but I may start serving baked sweets, eventually. By the way, this is my favorite juicer- I make fresh grapefruit juice and orange juice with it.
Then he immediately made some for us to try, and it tasted great!
We were expecting some bitterness from the whole fresh grapefruits, but not at all.
It’s difficult to find a coffee shop where expecting mothers and little kids can also enjoy, and fresh juice is a great one to have on the menu.
Being 9 months pregnant myself, I thoroughly enjoyed this glass of bliss- I could drink this every single day.
Kume: Nice, isn’t it? I’m thinking of making some cocktails with fresh juice in the future. A cocktail that’s so fresh that you won’t feel guilty drinking while the sun’s still out.
About the opening hours- we are planning to open 9-5 during from December to February, no lunch break, because the days are short. We open at 7:30 in the morning now, so that people can drop by after their morning jog or yoga session, before going to work, etc. But I don’t really want to get up early in winter, and I assume that’s the same for everyone too, haha.
common. will be a shop that is flexible, and transforms by following the organic rhythm of my habit and biology.
As we were wrapping up the interview, there was a bouquet delivered to Kume-san’s wife.
It was from their friend since they were in New Zealand- it was a nice reminder of how much they are loved by their friends, and it also made us happy to see that, as if we were the one who received the bouquet.
Messages for Kurasu Community
- Please give some messages for the Kurasu community!
Kume: If you love Kurasu, you’ll surely love this place too- drop by and say hello to us too when you visit Kurasu.
- Anything for the Kurasu team?
Kume: They have been visiting us a lot so I don’t feel lonely or feel like they are missing from my life- let’s stay in touch and visit each other! We continue to have each other’s backs.
When you have a chance, visit Kume-san’s cafe and look around- if you see anything you like, ask Kume-san and he will tell you a great story about it with his gentle smile.
The shop looks like it came straight out of an interior magazine, and it’s very stylish but not intimidating at all. The warm, inclusive and calming atmosphere is the embodiment of Kume-san’s personality.
Kyoto's new great coffee spot tends to get busy after lunch time, so morning time is a good time if you are looking for a nice pick me up and a relaxing conversation with Kume-san. It will be a wonderful start to your day.
Address: 340-5, Kamikajicho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 6028033
No Tel/e-mail address available
Opening hours: AM7:30~PM17:30（Nap break 11:00~13:00）
Closed on Mon/Tue
May potentially sell coffee beans in the future, but TBD
Parking space available for approx. 5 bikes