Kurasu’s Meet Your Barista series will introduce our baristas who make Kurasu Kyoto special. We will introduce them one by one —you may find something in common with them, or discover something new!
1. What brought you to the coffee industry, and how did you become a barista?
There’s a great quote by Richard Brautigan that goes, “Sometimes life is merely a matter of coffee and whatever intimacy a cup of coffee affords.” I realized that same thing early on. As a kid, I watched the adults I knew to be usually close-lipped open up about their days and dreams over a cup of coffee. I knew that I wanted to be someone who could facilitate that same atmosphere that everyone seems to share over a cup of coffee.
2. What made you interested in Kurasu?
The first time I walked in to Kurasu, I was greeted in English and Japanese and presented with a perfectly tempered soy latte. There were customers from all over the world seeking refuge from the cold November night in this comfortable place. Although only a four-seat cafe, it didn’t feel claustrophobic at all. It felt warm and welcoming- the way every cafe should.
3. What is Kurasu’s strength? What makes Kurasu unique?
Kurasu is unique in its simultaneous grasp of Japanese and “Western” coffee styles. Some coffee shops tend to lean in one direction or the other, but Kurasu has been able to master both through the worldliness of its staff. All of my coworkers have worked as baristas abroad and understand what good coffee means across the world. With a great sense of hospitality, they serve customers with trained fluidity and a welcoming smile every time. No awkwardness or pretension involved.
4. What kind of coffee do you personally drink often?
Since moving to Japan, I’ve fallen in love with light and mildly acidic coffees. I’m always on the hunt for clean Ethiopian and Kenya beans.
5. What type of coffee do you enjoy making?
I love making pour over coffee. No two cup ever tastes exactly the same and it’s so fascinating to notice the differences and share them with customers.
6. What is the most important thing for you when you prepare drinks?
7. Other than Kurasu, please share your favourite cafes in a) Kyoto, b) Japan and c) Outside of Japan.
Kyoto- Light Up Coffee (some of the best hand dripped coffee I’ve ever had)
Japan- Tokyo’s Switch Coffee and About Life.
8. Where would you recommend for people visiting Kyoto?
Sanjo and Demachiyanagi Shopping Arcades- they both offer a ton of mom and pop stalls to choose food and wares from! Also, it would be a shame to miss out on traditional Kyoto kaiseki and or shojin-ryori. The miso pastes and soy sauces used in traditional temple shojin-ryori have oftentimes been fermented on temple grounds for decades and pack in so much natural umami.
9. Do you have something you would like to try at Kurasu? Do you have any future goal outside of Kurasu?
Honestly, I just want to keep showing people how great Japanese coffee is. I think there’s this misconception that Asia doesn't have great coffee and it couldn't be more false. Outside of Kurasu, I want to continue studying food and drink movements in Japan through a PhD in (food) anthropology. Hopefully, I can continue to explore what food and drinks (especially coffee) mean to people in Japan.