Suzuki Kiyokazu roaster has the strength to persevere in his commitment

[Modern Artisan] GLITCH COFFEE & ROASTERS Interview with Suzuki Kiyokazu

Lightly roasted and overwhelmingly fruity coffee. That is the coffee from GLITCH COFFEE & ROASTERS, a roastery with a store in Jimbocho, Tokyo, where coffee lovers from not only Japan but all over the world gather.

GLITCH is popular as the darling of Japan's so-called third wave. However, after talking with Suzuki Kiyokazu the owner and roaster, you realize that this is only one perspective. The source of GLITCH's popularity is not that they follow trends or novelty, but that they place Shin on giving back to the farm and pursue the best coffee flavor.

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 while I was trying out various things, I discovered coffee."

At a time when Starbucks was becoming popular and the presence of baristas was increasing, Kiyokazu began pursuing a career in manufacturing such as ceramics and silver accessories. However, they experience a gap in values ​​between what they create and what the other person wants.

``One day, I gave a piece of ceramics that I had made to a friend, but he wasn't very pleased with it.If I didn't know what he liked or what his values ​​were, he wouldn't use it, and it wasn't something we could both agree on. I think"

The thing that pleased me the most was the coffee I brewed in my own cup.

"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."

Begin the journey of roasting under the guidance of world champions

From there, Kiyokazu became fascinated by the depth of coffee. After learning that a cup of coffee is made based on various factors such as the origin of the beans, the extraction method, and the barista's occupation, he quit his job, trained under a Japan Barista Champion, and started roasting. I worked at a factory and trained as a barista and coffee expert for about two years.

``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 the time, there were very few Oceania-style coffee shops like Paul Bassett, which used single-origin beans and roasted the coffee in-house. It was also said that it was introduced in Japan too early. At such a shop, I 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 QC (quality control), manager, store management, 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 for choosing single origin

After continuing his training at Paul Bassett, Kiyokazu went independent and opened GLITCH COFFEE & ROASTERS in Jimbocho, Tokyo. That was in 2015.

Mr. Kiyokazu , who says he is ``more anxious than most people,'' has already taken steps to purchase quality beans. He started his own business only after clarifying what he wanted to do, including roasting, barista skills, and the concept of the restaurant.

The two things we were particular about were making the beer primarily black, single-origin, and hand-dripping it. It's a completely different concept from "Paul Bassett," which mainly specializes in espresso and latte, but also blends. When coming up with this idea, the first thing that came to mind was the faces of the farmers on the other side of the coffee beans.

``Sometimes we actually visit the farms, and even the farms 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 coffee drinkers don't know the taste of each bean, so it's hard to judge what it will taste like if you mix them 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 the best 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 it by name. I would be happy if I could hear more voices like that."

The “efforts” of many people are put into one 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.

GLITCH's 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 beans with special flavors. However, there is a strong desire that ``I want consumers to know the true taste of coffee.''

Light roasting is just one method

The roast that symbolizes GLITCH is light roast. However, Kiyokazu says that light roasting is not the goal.

“If you want to know about single-origin rather than just light roasting, you have to hit those roasting points. When you do cupping or tasting, you don’t roast darkly. If you're thinking about roasting something, it's easier to tell if it's rare rather than well-done.In order to determine if it's of good quality, you shouldn't burn it too much.

Cherishing its history as a cafe

GLITCH is said to have created a new coffee trend. When I looked into the future of GLITCH, I received a somewhat surprising answer.

``That's the reason I opened a store in Jimbocho, but there are a lot of great stores like Milonga (Nuova) and Sabouru.It's those kinds of stores that I think are cool. .

No matter how popular pop-up cafes are, they can't compete with the originality and deep thought that goes into them. I empathize with that. After all, learning the basics and history are important.”

GLITCH is steadily expanding its stores in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, but says it doesn't have any plans to increase the number of stores.

``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 is in charge of quality control. When I hear that much, I imagine the type of craftsmanship that says, ``There is no one else to whom I can entrust work.''

"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 that 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 with the flexibility to mix in the sensibilities of newcomers.

Expectations for CROWD ROASTER

“Since we are creating a service that we have never thought of before, we wonder what kind of world we are imagining and what the future holds.We are creating a service that no one else has done, so we wonder if it will work or not. I think it’s cool to go down a path that no one else has trodden, regardless of whether it’s true or not.”

Roaster Suzuki Kiyokazu
In his 20s, while worrying about his future dreams, he encountered specialty coffee and entered the world of coffee. He became fully involved in roasting under Paul Bazett, a world barista champion from Australia, and opened ``GLITCH COFFEE & ROASTERS'' in Jimbocho, Tokyo in 2015. With a focus on single origin and light roast, the fruity coffee that can only be enjoyed here continues to attract many coffee lovers. There are three stores in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya.

Shop information

Kanda Nishikicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0054
3-16 Kamura Building 1F
Business hours Weekdays 7:30-20:00, Holidays 9:00-19:00
No regular holiday