An overwhelmingly fruity coffee that overturns the conventional notion that coffee is bitter. That is "GLITCH COFFEE & ROASTERS," a coffee shop and roastery founded in 2015 that operates three stores in Tokyo and Nagoya.
It is attracting attention as a darling of the times who brought new trends to Japanese coffee, but when we interview its representative, Suzuki Kiyokazu , we realize that this is only a one-sided view. GLITCH's popularity lies not in chasing temporary trends or novelty, but in its emphasis on giving back to farms and its Shin pursuit of the taste of coffee.
I admire craftsmen
``When I was 25 years old, having acquired a national qualification in information processing and working at a company, I found myself in a situation where I didn't know what my dreams were, so I started looking for a job in manufacturing as a hobby.I originally wanted to do something like a craftsman. That's what I thought, so I tried various things and eventually discovered coffee."
Kiyokazu started pursuing a career in manufacturing such as ceramics and silver accessories at a time when Starbucks was becoming popular and the presence of baristas was also increasing. However, they experience a gap in values between what they create and what the other person wants.
One day, I gave a piece of pottery I made to a friend, but he wasn't very happy with it. If you don't know what your friends like and what their values are, they won't use it, so I don't think it was something that we could both agree on.''
The thing that pleased me the most was the coffee I brewed in a container I had made myself.
"I was doing pottery and didn't have anything to put in a pot, so I tried making hand-drip coffee and everyone said it was delicious. It's nothing like that, it's just regular coffee. But up until then, I had never had someone so happy or asked me to brew it again, so I started to think it was interesting."
From barista training to roasting
From this experience, he learned that a cup of coffee is shaped by various factors, such as the origin of the beans, the extraction method, and the occupation of a barista, and became fascinated by the depth of coffee. After quitting my job, I trained as a barista for about two years, including training under a Japan Barista Champion and working at a roasting factory.
``At that time, I heard that Paul Bassett, a world champion barista from Australia, was opening a shop in Japan, so I joined as a staff member.The roasters who are still active on the front lines today are also training. , The reason GLITCH has connections with various stores is largely due to the human relationships we have at this time."
At that time, there were almost no shops like Paul Bassett that served coffee roasted on-site using single-origin beans. It was also said that Australian culture was introduced to Japan too early.
There, Kiyokazu first learned deeply about "roasting" and "single origin."
“When I joined Paul Bassett, it was about the second year I had been involved in the coffee world.I wanted to learn about barista techniques, but I wanted to learn more about roasting techniques. From then on, I continued to train morning, noon, and night, sometimes even without sleeping, in order to be able to do that.Perhaps my training got through to Paul, and he said, ``Why don't you try roasting?''
However, the way of thinking in Australia is division of labor. Generally, the positions are for quality control, manager, store operation, barista, and roaster, and there are no concurrent positions. When asked, ``Do you want to be a barista or a roaster?'' Kiyokazu answered without hesitation, ``I want to be a roaster.'' It was also the moment when I decided to pursue roasting as a career.
Reasons to stick to black coffee
After continuing his training at Paul Bassett, Kiyokazu opened GLITCH COFFEE & ROASTERS in Jimbocho. It was 2015.
``Mr. Kiyokazu , who says he is ``more anxious than most people,'' has also built relationships with customers when it comes to purchasing beans. I started my business after clarifying what I wanted to do, including roasting techniques, barista techniques, human relationships, and the concept of the restaurant.
What we were particular about was that black coffee was the main ingredient, and that it was brewed using hand drip. The coffee style is completely different from that of "Paul Bassett," which mainly serves espresso and latte, and also blends. What Mr. Kiyokazu envisioned was the faces of the farmers behind the coffee beans.
``I've actually visited farms, and they can't say no to blending, so they look sad and say, ``We can't say anything about that.'' That's why I wanted to do GLITCH with a single origin.
Another thing is that consumers don't know the taste of each type of bean, so I don't think they can judge what the flavor will be if they are mixed together. If we mix the beans without understanding the uniqueness of each origin, the efforts of the farmers will be wasted, and if we cannot say which variety and which farm the beans are from, we will not be able to properly return the beans to the farmers. lose"
Because we are single-origin, we are able to give back to the farm.With that in mind, we are naturally more particular about our beans than anyone else. We are always on the lookout for new beans, and this desire has definitely reached our customers.
"Some of our customers remember the name of the farm and say, ``That coffee from Sakolo Farm in Ethiopia was delicious. Isn't it available this year?'' I think it's great that people are asking for this by name. I would be happy if I could hear more voices like that."
The "effort" of many people goes into the "taste" of a single cup of coffee.
``Humans only have a limited amount of time to live, right? It's important to be able to choose what to have in that time.
Even when it comes to coffee, I think there are a lot of things that are lacking in effort when it comes to 100 yen coffee. What kind of beans are they, are the machines cleaned every day, when are they roasted, and where does the coffee come from? Push the button and buy something you don't know about.
Our coffee ranges from around 600 yen to around 3,500 yen, and the people at the farm work hard to produce quality beans. If you go to the farm, you can see the hard work that goes into making coffee, and you can see that they make coffee in a completely different way than other coffees.
I believe that the efforts of people who try to bring that coffee to life are also part of the "taste" of coffee.
Then, we roasters concentrate on bringing out the flavor, and the barista extracts it to create a cup of coffee. When you think about it, I think the price of 600 yen is too low."
GLITCH may have the image of a maniac shop that offers special roasts and special flavors. However, this was because Kiyokazu adhered to the policy of ``not doing anything I don't want to do.'' There is a strong desire that ``I want consumers to know the true taste of coffee.''
Light roasting is just a method for understanding taste.
Another image that symbolizes GLITCH is that of light roast. Kiyokazu says that this light roasting is not only a trend, but also a necessity in determining the quality of the beans.
“If you want to know about single-origin rather than just light roasting, you have to hit those roasting points.When cupping or tasting, you don’t taste dark roasted meat. If you want to know, it's easier to tell if it's rare rather than well-done.To tell if it's of good quality, you shouldn't burn it too much.
Cherishing its history as a cafe
GLITCH has created a new trend in coffee, but when we looked into the future of GLITCH, we received a somewhat surprising answer.
``This is the reason I opened a store in Jimbocho, but there are a lot of great stores like Milonga (Nuova) and Kasaboru.It's those kinds of stores that I think are cool.
No matter how popular roasters and cafes pop up, they can't compete with the originality and deep thinking of those kinds of shops. I empathize with that. After all, learning the basics and history are important.”
GLITCH is steadily expanding with two stores in Tokyo and one in Nagoya, but they don't have any plans to increase the number of stores. I think the reason for this is typical of GLITCH.
``If you open too many stores, you won't be able to create your own taste. You'll reach your limits.
I would prefer one store if possible. In order to create the flavor you want, you have to go to an original restaurant. Everyone will end up being a copy.”
“GLITCH” overturns stereotypes
At GLITCH, Kiyokazu handles most of the roasting and controls the quality. When I heard that much, I thought he had a stubborn workmanship of the type that says, ``I don't have anyone to entrust my work to.''
"Do you know what the word 'GLITCH' means? It means 'system bug'.
If you're the only one making or roasting coffee, you'll have a fixed idea because you know what will happen if you do it within the bounds of common sense.
Recently, I asked one of the staff members how they drink it at home, and I had them try the hand-drip method at the store, and it turned out to be delicious. There are many things I discover from things I don't know or have never thought of. This discovery is like a bug, so to speak."
Recently, Mr. Kiyokazu has been training himself since he saw the staff training before the opening. He was a roaster who had the image of a stylish and stoic coffee shop representing light roast coffee, but was also flexible enough to mix in the sensibilities of newcomers.