Taste of: Tokyo, a night of celebrating micro-roasters and quality
A rugged-up crowd of 70+ attended last night’s Taste of Tokyo. It was like a tin of puffer jacket-wearing sardines at Bureaux, all eager to taste what Tokyo is all about.
We’re very fortunate to have a first-rate Japanese coffee community here in Melbourne. Their contribution and influence is felt throughout the scene, and many of the roasters featured last night have special connections to a number of attendees.
Some established, some new, but all celebrated examples of what Tokyo has to offer, last night we were lucky enough to get an enviable taste of their brilliance.
Fuglen, Onibus, Passage, Switch and Glitch all demonstrated Tokyo isn’t just gimmicks like aged green coffee or canned dark roasted cold brew from vending machines. Punters were witness to Tokyo’s unparalleled level of quality driven by these impossibly small micro-roasters, proving that just because you’re a fraction of the size of the big players in the coffee roasting world, the ability to produce top shelf quality is well within reach.
So what were the five superb coffees? Were our tasting notes on par with the roasters’?
Dhilgee Lot 5 / Washed / Sidamo / Ethiopia / Heirloom
With its roots in Oslo, Fuglen Tokyo has brought a slice of vintage Norway to Japan. Having spent a considerable time in Oslo, Kenji Kojima brings a unique Norwegian/Japanese approach to coffee, with amazing results.
They say: Black cherry, Fig, Black Tea
We say: Kumquat, Finger Lime, Grape, Nashi Pear
Chelelektu / Washed / Yirgacheffe / Ethiopia / Heirloom
With four locations in Tokyo, their 12kg Dietrich gets quite a workout. Owner, Atsushi Sakao, has been a major player in the development of the specialty scene in Tokyo, and it showed last night.
They say: Blackberry, Peach, Citrus, Smooth Mouthfeel, Bright Acidity
We say: Apricot, Raspberry, Jasmine, Melon
Las Botijas / Washed / Comayagua / Honduras / Pacamara
Masahiro ‘Masa’ Onishi loves natural wine, and Switch has become a go-to for visiting sommeliers and baristas, but it’s his buying and roasting ability that really shines. Masa is the winner of the 2018 Japan Roaster Competition and will be roasting the competition coffee for the 2018 Japan AeroPress Championship.
They say: Pre-release! So no tasting notes yet!
We say: Cherry, Papaya, Pink Grapefuit, Black Tea
Herley Rojas Alvarez / Washed / Tolima / Colombia / Caturra
Shuichi Sasaki’s journey through coffee via Starbucks, Paul Bassett and his winning of the 2014 World AeroPress Championship has been quite the journey. Now, Passage is his focus, and Tokyo is benefiting hugely from his experience.
We say: Citric, Watermelon, Caramel, Hazelnut
Glitch Coffee Roasters
Kirinyaga Kiangoi / Washed / Nyeri / Kenya / SL 28 & 34
Perhaps the first of its kind in Japan, the roaster at Glitch is a shared roaster. Suzuki-San, who also spent some time at Paul Bassett, sees the future of roasting via the shared roastery model, and is supporting other independent roasters in Tokyo.
They say: Cassis, Dried Tomato, Grapefuit, Juicy, Long aftertaste
We say: Candied Orange, Grape, Rhubarb, Toffee
The favourite of the night? Onibus Coffee!
We’re so grateful for the generosity of all five roasters and their beautiful coffees — and the knock-off beers from MoonDog.
Most excitingly we’ve reached our target of $750 (and then some!) to donate to FareShare and it will allow the Bureaux team to spend a day helping to produce food for the most needy in Melbourne. So thank you!
See you on 9th August for Taste of: Copenhagen!