A few weeks ago we brought you coverage of the 2015 Specialty Coffee Association of Japan event, a massive trade show celebrating the best in coffee from Japan and around the world.
This is not that article.
Shortly before the 2015 SCAJ event, the Tokyo Coffee Festival was held for the very first time. A grassroots event bringing together some 60 different coffee shops from all over Japan, the TCF took place as part of the Aoyama Farmers’ Market. Event organizer and barista, Yuji Otsuki, says the event focused on the idea of “bringing coffee home” and helping people realize that specialty coffee is a part of life, and not simply a trend.
To do this, Otsuki planned the event around filter coffee—making it the centerpiece for each stall at the event space. Exhibitors saw a slow build of traffic from the early hours of Saturday morning, morphing into long midday lines and extremely busy baristas. But the goals of the Tokyo Coffee Festival were not strictly limited to foot traffic. As Otsuki told me, “I don’t want this to be just a festival. Of course, I want people to have a good time, but the backbone of it is deepening new roots of coffee culture. I’m really happy for everyone who came, and helped, and experienced the event.”
So without further ado, here are some highlights from the 2015 Tokyo Coffee Festival!
2014 World AeroPress Champion alert
On day one at the Paul Bassett stand, 2014 World AeroPress Champion Shuichi Sasaki could be found working his magic on the AeroPress, and also pour-over on the V60.
No glitches here—just an endless flow of coffee
Nearby, newly opened Glitch Coffee brought their home-roasted beans and their trademark style, and were practically an assembly line of pour-over coffee for two days straight. Read more about Glitch and owner Kiyokazu Suzuki here.
Yeti Fazenda and his colorful pour-overs
Yeti Fazenda’s trademark hat, coffee, and doughnuts came all the way from Shiga Prefecture to participate, but it was that lineup of colorful pour-over cones that drew the most attention at the pour-over stand.
Trunk Coffee repping Nagoya
Hailing from Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture, Trunk Coffee served up a selection of Colombia, Nicaragua, and Ethiopia, all in the Scandinavian style that has made them a popular favorite among Tokyo’s specialty coffee scene.
Roasting on-site with Coffee Beans East and Kohiya
These two coffee shops were boldly roasting on-site—with Coffee Beans East doing it fry-pan style, and Kohiya bringing their cute and reliable micro-roaster. Both coffee shops used the opportunity—and undoubtedly the scent of freshly roasted coffee—to share a little roasting knowledge with curious onlookers.
Andromeda Ethiopia, I’m told, is a special coffee imbued with the energy of Idaki Shin’s music for 48 hours by way of a specialized sound system, adding an exquisite taste and resulting in a healthier cup. Makes me wonder if there are any studies out there on the effects of sound waves on coffee—if not, perhaps this is the place to start?
Merry Time Coffee showing some Four Barrel love
The girls from Merry Time were on hand with a selection of San Francisco’s Four Barrel Coffee from Ethiopia, El Salvador, and Guatemala, as well as some delightful “f!ck it” mugs that made me laugh out loud, and then say, well, f!ck it—let’s order another cup of coffee.
Viewings and Cuppings to the tune of “A Film About Coffee”
To help people get a better understanding of the specialty coffee industry, screenings of “A Film About Coffee” were followed by cupping sessions including coffee featured in the documentary. Veterans and first-timers sipped, spat, and shared tasting notes, all the while helped out by the guys from Good Coffee.
Save abandoned animals by drinking all the coffee: Buddy
Buddy Coffee are using their coffee as a vehicle to raise funds for an animal shelter for abandoned pets. They believe coffee is something to share with friends—with buddies—and that includes pets just as much as people. And just look at the packaging for their coffee packs—cats in hats and dogs in shades—it’s adorable.
Single O Tokyo and the Day Two takeover
Recently established in Tokyo, Sydney roasters Single Origin setup on the second day, expecting to share coffee and catch up with friends. That is, until a line started growing, and stretching, and snaking all the way out towards the street. It was a huge hit.
Much pouring was done, much coffee was shared, and when people got lost, they simply looked for Yama’s bright orange beanie.
Kenya Burundi at Tom-Tom Coffee
Hailing from Ibaraki Prefecture, and famous for growing coffee in their own coffee greenhouse, Tom-Tom Coffee and 2006 Syphonist Champion Mieko Koike served up a wonderful Kenya Burundi, as well as a selection of coffee beans.
Tim Wendelboe spotting
Signing books, mean mugging the camera, and talking coffee was Tim Wendelboe, visiting to promote the Japanese translation of his book, “Coffee with Tim Wendelboe.” Flanked by the Fuglen Tokyo crew, Wendelboe was whisked in for a quick signing, and whisked out just as quickly for another one somewhere else.
Hengtee Lim (@Hent03) is a Sprudge.com staff writer based in Tokyo. Read more Hengtee Lim on Sprudge.