We sent Sprudge Tokyo reporter Hengtee Lim to the recent 2015 Specialty Coffee Association of Japan trade show. There he discovered an espresso machine made of gold, all kinds of brewing gear, a coffee horse, a life-sized wax effigy of Tim Wendelboe, some new product launches, and much, much more.
10. Brewers Cup Champion spotting
Ninety Plus Coffee are planning to start up in Japan next year, and to let people know, they brought over Brewer’s Cup Champions Odd-Steinar Tøllefsen and Stefanos Domatiotis, and 2014 New Zealand Barista Champion Hiroko Hanna Teramoto. I’m told that Tollefsen even brought water over from Norway for a few special cups—impressive.
9. The Saza Coffee horse
Saza Coffee had a horse sitting by the side of their booth—a holder for lanyards being handed out to visitors. When a daring woman asked if she could ride it, she was given the green light, resulting in the photo you see below. She later commented, “the turning circle on the animal is pretty poor.”
8. The unveiling of the Hario Smart 7
At the Hario booth, debut models of the new Smart 7 were on display, a coffee maker allowing for more control than any of their previous coffee makers—including bloom time, water temperature, and dripping speed.
To demonstrate, they’d had hand drip champions Yuka Takahasi and Issei Ogomori, as well as 2014 WBC winner Hidenori Izaki test recipes on the machine. Photography wasn’t allowed, but you can get a sneak peek in these photos of advertisements running between events
7. Life-size wax model of Tim Wendelboe
It uh… it turns out it wasn’t a wax model, it was the real Tim Wendelboe, visiting Tokyo to celebrate the Japanese translation of his coffee book. All the same, I didn’t touch it. Him. I didn’t touch the Tim Wendelboe.
6. Award for cutest coffee setup
Though she may not have won the Japan Barista Championships, Sugi Coffee Roasting’s Yuko Sugiura won our hearts with this adorable setup for her presentation. Each board had a person in a different place, wearing different colors, and even her signature drink came complete with a cute little man on the side.
5. Takayuki Ishitani and his unique decanter
Coming in just shy of total victory with a respectable second place, perennial top competitor Takayuki Ishitani wowed the judges with a snake-like decanter during his signature drink, in which he aerated his espresso shots, and then spun the decanter as though it were a dance partner. A beautiful, somewhat confounding piece of glassware.
4. The Golden Slayer machine
Once again, Seattle’s Slayer Espresso were in town, and this time they brought with them a very sparkly looking new Slayer machine, which has its future home at Fuglen Tokyo. We’re told that with time, the brass plating will change in color as it oxidises, so that’s something to look forward to, or perhaps document, or perhaps take a photo of every month for an interesting time lapse.
3. Slayer X Japan Roasters 2015
Continuing with their tradition of open collaboration, Slayer Meets Japan Roasters was once again a chance for people to experience both the machine and a variety of different coffees, ranging from old favorites like Trunk Coffee and Fuglen, to Takamura Wine and Coffee Roasters from Osaka, And Coffee Roasters from Kumamoto, and even Kariomons Roasters, who flew over all the way from Nagasaki, in southern Japan.
2. These specially-made ceramic coffee filters.
Coffee Rankan’s Terukiyo Tawara is well-known for bringing a unique approach to the table for his competition presentations, and the Brewer’s Cup was no exception. To bring out the best possible flavor in his Philippine coffee beans, he’d brought along specially made ceramic filters—made in Kyushu—in which he placed an astounding 30 grams of coffee, and brewed with 200cc of water.
1. AeroPress? Nel Drip? Nelaeropress?
Not to be outdone in the creativity department, Ogawa Coffee’s Yasuhito Kobayashi served his coffee—Guatemala El Injerto—in a metal filter AeroPress, which he pressed through a nel drip cloth to remove grit from his brewed coffee. His water temperature also ranged from an initial pour of 60 degrees Celsius, to a second amount at 40 degrees Celsius. The cold-brew nel-AeroPress? Whatever you want to call it, it was enough to earn him second place in this year’s Japan Brewer’s Cup.
Also, check out that rad AeroPress t-shirt. Do want.