For many people, coffee is the morning drink of choice around the world, though, in some places, it’s going to cost you more than others. According to a global cost of living study from UBS that looked at data from 77 cities around the world, coffee prices and varieties, as well as the culture and habits that accompany it, vary widely around the world. ” data-reactid=”11″>For many people, coffee is the morning drink of choice around the world, though, in some places, it’s going to cost you more than others. According to a global cost of living study from UBS that looked at data from 77 cities around the world, coffee prices and varieties, as well as the culture and habits that accompany it, vary widely around the world.
Even in the U.S., prices vary widely. In Miami, a cup of coffee costs an average of $3.93, but then in Chicago, you can save over $1 on every cup of coffee, as its costs average $2.76. These international cities show a wide range of joe-drinking habits and prices — take a look to see if you’re getting the best coffee deal around the world. ” data-reactid=”12″>Even in the U.S., prices vary widely. In Miami, a cup of coffee costs an average of $3.93, but then in Chicago, you can save over $1 on every cup of coffee, as its costs average $2.76. These international cities show a wide range of joe-drinking habits and prices — take a look to see if you’re getting the best coffee deal around the world.
- A cup of coffee costs: $0.62
- How to say “coffee” in Yoruba: kọfi
Africa may be the origin of coffee — historians believe it started in Ethiopia — but for a long time, Africa has produced more coffee than it consumed. That appears to be changing. While still lower than in other countries, coffee consumption in Nigeria increased by over 20% from 2010 to 2015. Bigger cities like Lagos are seeing more demand for it as well.
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- A cup of coffee costs: $1.36
- How to say “coffee” in Arabic: qahwa
In Egypt, historians believe drinking coffee may have mystical roots. Egyptians appear to have begun drinking coffee because of Sufi Islamic mystics, who used it in prayer ceremonies. Nowadays, typical Egyptian coffee is made similar to Turkish coffee: strong, in a small cup and capped by a layer of foam, known as “the face.” If your coffee has no face, it hasn’t been made properly. You also want to be sure to mention how sweet you like your coffee because it’s usually prepared with sugared water.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- A cup of coffee costs: $1.58
- How to say “coffee” in Malay: kopi
Malaysians have started making coffee drinking a greater part of their local lifestyles, visiting coffee shops that sell specialty coffee roasts. Specialty coffee is a designation by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), referring to green coffee beans that achieve the best flavor according to a set of brewing standards. The Malaysians also put on The Malaysia Coffee Fest. In 2018, more than 30,000 visitors from all over the region came to sample java and participated in three coffee competitions: the Malaysia Open Latte Art Championship, the Barista Championship and the first Drip Bag Coffee Championship.
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- A cup of coffee costs: $2.54
- How to say “coffee” in Lithuanian: kava
Lithuania has not become as coffee obsessed as other parts of the world, but when people from here do drink coffee, they want it to be prepared well — no instant coffee or overly sugared drinks for them. It wasn’t until 2013, supposedly, that the first truly local coffee was ever consumed in Lithuania, when a man named Ignas Dombrauskis harvested coffee beans from a tree that was grown in Lithuania. Since then, coffee passion has increased, but it’s still a slowly simmering process; you won’t find any Starbucks in the country.
- A cup of coffee costs: $2.58
- How to say “coffee” in Spanish: café
The U.S. has Mexico to thank for the vast majority of coffee it drinks since Mexico is a major producer of coffee, ranked ninth in the world in 2018. Unlike Americans, Mexicans prefer to drink their coffee at lunch or dinner. They also like to indulge in coffee cocktails, in which tequila and other liquors are added to black coffee. Mexico was also at the forefront of cultivating organic coffee in the late 1980s.
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- A cup of coffee costs: $2.90
- How to say “coffee” in Dutch: koffie
- How to say “coffee” in French: café
According to a 2018 survey, the heaviest coffee drinkers in Belgium are the older folks — over age 50 — 17% of whom reported they drink as many as six or more cups per day. The Americano remains the most popular type of coffee drink overall, though people 35 years old and younger are more likely to enjoy lattes than the older crowd. What it lacks in coffee drinkers, Belgium makes up for in imports. It is the third-largest importer of green coffee beans in Europe, in line behind Germany and Italy.
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- A cup of coffee costs: $3.05
- How to say “coffee” in Quechua: kaphiy
Peruvians might be too busy producing coffee to consume it. The country was the 11th-largest producer of coffee in the world as of 2018, which accounts for 2% of the world’s coffee. Most of the coffee is grown on small farms in the Andes Mountains, and it’s typically hand-picked by indigenous farmers, who are unlikely to be able to afford the coffee they pick. Tourists flock to towns like Lima for its food culture, which is having an influence on coffee culture, too.
Auckland, New Zealand
- A cup of coffee costs: $3.13
- How to say “coffee” in Maori: kawhe
New Zealanders like their coffee a lot but they lean toward espresso, smaller sizes and more concentrated coffee drinks. New Zealand has been identified as the pioneer of a drink that only recently reared its head at Starbucks in the last few years: the “flat white.” A flat white is similar to a latte, but the milk is less frothy and more textured (thus “flat”), and it’s served in a smaller cup so it has a more intense coffee flavor. You’ll also find a “long black” in New Zealand — a single espresso with equal parts hot water served in a large cup — which is a smaller, more intense cousin of the Americano.
- A cup of coffee costs: $3.39
- How to say “coffee” in Spanish: café
While the rest of the world may be coffee crazy, Chile has been slow to get on board with the obsession. Influenced heavily by English colonialism, many people are still tea drinkers. As of 2015, Nescafé and instant coffee largely dominated people’s coffee habits. In fact, approximately 90% of the population chose instant coffee as their java of choice. However, Chile is known for a sexy spin on coffee shops — in Santiago, there are many café con piernas, which means “coffee with legs” in Spanish. Here, your coffee is served by women in short dresses or even bikinis.
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- A cup of coffee costs: $3.47
- How to say “coffee” in Japanese: コーヒー, Kōhī
Despite Japan’s long history of tea — much like China — the Japanese have been regularly drinking coffee since the early 1900s. Long before Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee, there was The Paulista Group, in 1907, which brought coffee to the masses. However, even further back than that, Japan’s first coffee shop of record, Kachiichakan, in Tokyo, was reportedly founded in 1888. Specialty coffee shops, known as kissatens, are popular for their retro styling that throws it back to the 1950s and ’60s, where the barista might be wearing a bow tie, and you’re likely to mostly get pour-over drip coffee rather than anything with a fancy name or lots of added syrups.” data-reactid=”73″>Despite Japan’s long history of tea — much like China — the Japanese have been regularly drinking coffee since the early 1900s. Long before Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee, there was The Paulista Group, in 1907, which brought coffee to the masses. However, even further back than that, Japan’s first coffee shop of record, Kachiichakan, in Tokyo, was reportedly founded in 1888. Specialty coffee shops, known as kissatens, are popular for their retro styling that throws it back to the 1950s and ’60s, where the barista might be wearing a bow tie, and you’re likely to mostly get pour-over drip coffee rather than anything with a fancy name or lots of added syrups.
- A cup of coffee costs: $3.59
- How to say “coffee” in Gaelic: caife
Ireland is experiencing a “third wave” of coffee being a part of the daily routines of Irish culture. The first wave was coffee, including instant, only purchased at the supermarket. The second wave took place when Starbucks and a European chain, Costa, came to the country. Now, its third wave features trendy, small coffee shops that emphasize hand-crafted, specialty coffee — although the good old-fashioned Americano is on the rise in popularity. A survey from 2017 found that one in three Irish people now purchase coffee at least once a day, up 10% from the previous year.
- A cup of coffee costs: $3.88
- How to say “coffee” in Norwegian: kaffe
For a country that lives with very long stretches of dark during the winter, coffee is a big deal. Norway ranks No. 2 when it comes to countries that drink the most coffee in the world. In the years before big chain coffee shops like Starbucks, most Norwegians consumed their coffee at home only, though that has changed. Norwegians are said to prefer their coffee light-roasted and steeped in a pot, “cowboy style”, for a thicker, oilier cup of java.
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- A cup of coffee costs: $3.98
- How to say “coffee” in Greek: kafés
Greece ranks 17th among countries that consume the most coffee. Technically Greek coffee shops serve Turkish coffee, the intensely concentrated delicacy that originates from neighboring Turkey. But they don’t call it that — it’s a “Greek coffee” or Elliniko kafés — ever since in 1974 when an attempted coup and attempted Turkish invasion led to anti-Turk sentiments. Some people also believe the Greeks invented the Freddo cappuccino and the Freddo espresso in 1993. Whether they really did or not is questionable — most likely, the extremely hot weather of a Greek summer simply forced the need for ice in every coffee drink.
Tel Aviv, Israel
- A cup of coffee costs: $4.09
- How to say “coffee” in Hebrew: קפה kafeh
Ever since the 1950s, when Mordechai Shor began manufacturing the first Israeli espresso machine, called “La Favorita,” Israeli coffee culture has boomed. Though Israel shares obvious Middle Eastern connections, Israelis enjoy coffee that is closer to European, particularly Italian, coffee culture. Despite rising interest in coffee, Starbucks has been unable to hold its own in Israel, closing down its only two locations that lasted from 2001 to 2003. In its place, an Israeli coffee chain called Cofix has had significant success.
- A cup of coffee costs: $4.10
- How to say “coffee” in Indonesian: kopi
Indonesia is one of the biggest coffee exporters in the world — it ranked fourth in 2017 — but its residents have only started to take up a regular practice of coffee drinking in recent years. Given that Indonesia is responsible for growing kopi luwak, considered the world’s most expensive coffee, a hot cup is still relatively affordable. Though small “kopi” shops continue to pop up, Starbucks continues to lead the coffee train, with over 326 locations in Indonesian as of 2018.
- A cup of coffee costs: $4.13
- How to say “coffee” in French: café
Paris is famous for its quaint cafés, such as Les Deux Magots, where literati like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir once sipped and discussed politics and existential philosophy, but it is not necessarily known for its quality coffee. The most common coffee of choice for 60% of French people is un café, simply a shot of espresso. The French are less likely to drink big frothy lattes but do drink café au lait, literally coffee with steamed milk, or café crème, espresso plus steamed milk topped with foam, in the afternoons.
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- A cup of coffee costs: $4.31
- How to say “coffee” in Russian: kāfēi
The Cold War may be over between America and Russia, but the hot coffee war is apparently on. Thanks to a steep increase in Russian coffee consumption — from $750 million in 2001 to $2.5 billion in 2011 — Russians’ demand for American-style coffee spurred the former Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to call the drink the Americano — a shot of espresso topped with hot water — “not politically correct.” He suggested it be called a “Russiano,” and while this may have been mostly a joke, many coffee shops replaced it on their menus. Another option is the less tongue-in-cheek but still popular drink called the “Raf”– short for Rafael — a Moscow coffee patron who allegedly invented the beverage. The drink is steamed heavy cream with sugar and a shot of espresso.
- A cup of coffee costs: $4.60
- How to say “coffee” in Chinese: 咖啡, Kāfēi
For thousands of years, tea has been the hot beverage of choice in China. Coffee only became a growing industry in the late 1980s, when the Chinese government made a concerted effort to shore up its coffee industry with help from the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program. For a long time, the Chinese were content to sip instant coffee, but thanks to Starbucks, as well as millennials, more complex coffee drinks are on the rise in China.” data-reactid=”115″>For thousands of years, tea has been the hot beverage of choice in China. Coffee only became a growing industry in the late 1980s, when the Chinese government made a concerted effort to shore up its coffee industry with help from the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program. For a long time, the Chinese were content to sip instant coffee, but thanks to Starbucks, as well as millennials, more complex coffee drinks are on the rise in China.
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- A cup of coffee costs: $5.70
- How to say “coffee” in Arabic: qahwa
Coffee is not only a popular part of Middle Eastern hospitality — it’s typically consumed thick and dark and with spices like cardamom — but these countries may have been among the first cultures to consume it. Coffee is almost as popular in the United Arab Emirates as it is in the U.S., but challenges with brewing it, such as poor water quality from desalinization and thinner cow’s milk, may contribute to its steep price.
- A cup of coffee costs: $6.24
- How to say “coffee” in Danish: kaffe
Perhaps it’s those chilly winters in the Scandinavian country of Denmark, but the Danes rank fourth in countries that drink the most coffee in the world. However, don’t expect to find any decaf; the Scandinavians prefer their coffee fully loaded. Could their coffee consumption have to do with the fact that they’ve been rated the happiest country in the world, according to the World Happiness Report? It seems possible.
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CARY, Ill. — Just off the tracks of the train depot in Cary, Illinois is the black awning of JC’s Cafe, a place known by locals for fresh coffee and warm pastries, and its famous homemade soup.
Cafe owner Juan Carlos Beristain makes it fresh every morning, using only seasonal ingredients from the local market. One of the local favorites includes butternut squash, zucchini, parsnips, yellow squash, organic carrots and sweet potato. It’s good stuff, the kind of soup people fall in love with.
“As soon as they try that soup, they get in love with it, and it is a delicious soup,” Beristain said.
Down the road lives Noah Dionesotes, a Cary-Grove man in the thick of multiple rounds of chemotherapy to treat his multiple sclerosis. He also loves the soup at JC’s Cafe, but between his wheelchair and his treatments, usually can’t make the trip.
Then one day, Juan Carlos spotted a random post on neighborhood Facebook group mentioning Noah’s situation, and his love for the cafe’s soup. The next thing Noah knew, there was a knock on his door, and JC was there with a few fresh cups.
“I really feel when other people are in pain,” Juan Carlos said. “I felt that I could help him at least by delivering the soup that he likes, with the nutrition that is going to help him.”
Noah says Juan Carlos not only told him he not need to pay, but also promised to keep bringing the soup.
“He’s like, ‘I only want to see you get better,'” Noah remembers.
Noah didn’t expect to see Juan Carlos again, but then there was another knock on his door.
“The second time he brought it, I was like, ‘he’s not lying,'” Noah said.
Over time, Juan Carlos continued to visit and bring soup, and in the process learned about Noah’s condition, and met his wife and children.
“You have to do these things because you like to do them, and have that connection with people,” Beristain said.
In the three short years JC’s Cafe has been open, customers have become family. Juan Carlos credits lessons learned from his father, who was “always a giver” and offered support, love and help to those around him. Now that his father’s health is failing, Juan Carlos says following his example is a way of honoring him.
“This is part of my way to thank him,” Juan Carlos said. “I couldn’t be any other way.”
For over a year now, Noah has received soup deliveries several times every week.
“I think the guy’s a saint … he’s an amazing human,” Noah said.
Later this summer, Juan Carlos and his family plan to return to their hometown in Mexico, leaving a gaping hole under that black awning in Cary. The town will lose not only a business owner, but also a great friend.
“Every time you help somebody that appreciates what you do, that is your reward,” Juan Carlos said.
Noah is approaching another round of treatments, and hopes to raise enough money through a GoFundMe to pay for stem cell treatment in Mexico.
RICHMOND, Ind. — Bob Anderson spent more than 40 years working for MCL; Shonda Brim spent more than 20. Amanda Marquis, well, she just liked the food.
So, when they open Corner Cafe at the Leland, it won’t necessarily be a mini-MCL, but it will definitely have an MCL influence that customers will likely recognize.
It might be the Irani iced tea. Or the Harvard beets. Or the liver and onions. Or the beef manhattan. Or the Reuben sandwich. Or the strawberry shortcake. Or the chocolate cake. Or just the familiar faces.
“That’s what we know, plus I think there’s a feel for that need in the community,” said Anderson, who managed Richmond’s MCL Restaurant and Bakery until it closed Dec. 9. “Even though the MCL closed, I think that people still like comfort food. I think there’s still a demand for that in the community.”
Corner Cafe will occupy the southwest corner of Leland Legacy’s first floor, a space previously used by several small restaurants. Big windows look over South A and South Ninth streets, and diners can pull up a bar stool at counters that face out those windows. The stools and table chairs came from the former Country Rib Eye, and new light fixtures illuminate wooden tables waiting for the restaurant’s opening.
Leland Legacy residents will be served for a week after a May 13 soft opening, then the restaurant will open May 20 to the general public. It will be open 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday to serve breakfast and lunch.
Marquis, who will continue as the executive director for Leland Legacy, was an MCL customer and has known Anderson for years, she said. When MCL was first slated for closing in July 2017 before an influx of customers and support saved the store, she told Anderson she’d like to have him as part of the team at Leland Legacy, which serves residents three meals a day. Then, when Anderson received the call last December about the closing, he called Marquis to ask about MCL employees finding jobs at Leland Legacy, which hired about a half-dozen.
“I always said I’d love to have a cafe,” Marquis said of the Leland Legacy space. “We met a week or two after, and I said, ‘I really want you to think about that cafe.'”
Anderson, who Marquis said showed his character with his concern for his employees when MCL closed, then came on board.
“We kind of chatted about what could we do with this space,” Anderson said. “I have been in food service over 40 years. I looked at a couple other options, and I didn’t think they were going to pan out, so basically plunged back into the food business and that’s what I’m doing.
“You’re kind of born with it. It’s in your blood, I guess.”
At that point, Leland Legacy owner Hillel Shapiro supported the cafe idea; however, he said he was experienced with senior living facilities but not with restaurants. Planning continued, with development of a menu and decorating the space. Finally, about two weeks ago, Marquis said she approached Shapiro about her owning the cafe and renting space from him.
“There’s no way this wouldn’t work,” Marquis said. “We’ve had great support.”
She said potential customers have already been checking to see if their MCL favorites will be on the menu, especially the liver and onions, which will be a weekly Thursday special. Also desserts, which will be baked by the same baker as at MCL.
On top of that, Marquis said, Leland Legacy residents have been excited.
“A lot of the residents love to go out to eat, but they can’t get someplace,” she said. “They can go down and feel like they’ve just gone out to dinner. The residents are pumped, and it’s so much fun to see the excitement.”
Breakfast will be a meal such as sausage biscuits and gravy along with items such as muffins and, apparently, bacon.
“We will have the best bacon in town,” Marquis said emphatically.
Lunch options will include some sandwiches, paninis, roast beef, Cobb salads, the manhattans, tilapia, liver and onions and more hearty, made-from-scratch cooking. Brim will do most of the cooking.
“People at lunch do they really want a good, meat-and-potatoes scratch meal, and the more I think about it, it’s like, you know what, I think they do,” Anderson said. “Shonda and I know how to put the product out. She’s a good cook; she’s very good at that. Consistency is the thing we have to make sure we provide.”
He said the Corner Cafe price point will be lower than at MCL, which he said eventually was MCL’s downfall.
“Everybody always raved about how good our food was, but the problem is it was kind of pricey,” he said. “It really was. That’s probably the main reason we aren’t there today. I don’t think the city could support it.”
Customers will place their orders off menu boards at one end of the service counter, then collect their food at the other end, either to eat in the cafe or carry out. Eventually, Anderson said, there might be curbside service. Anderson said it’s been enjoyable to put together a menu.
The visibility on a busy corner “is the best in town,” Anderson said, and the cafe has a built-in customer base with Leland Legacy residents and visiting family members. Anderson and Brim also have already accepted catering jobs, something that will continue. Catering and special events fit neatly into Corner Cafe’s daytime, weekday schedule
“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “I think it’s got potential to be huge. We’re excited.”
Marquis said that her marketing background plus the recognition Anderson and Brim have from their days at MCL give Corner Cafe a leg up on success. She said a good product and good personalities providing customer service will be important, as will be the communication with potential customers. But she doesn’t expect a problem enticing and retaining diners.
“Between Bob, Shonda and myself, we’ll do well,” Marquis said. “It was a no-brainer to me to work with Shonda and Bob.”
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The current price of coffee futures on the commodities market has, as of writing this, dipped just below the $.91 mark, bottoming out thus far today at 90.88 cents. It is sadly no longer news when the C price hits a new low; the only number that seems to be increasing is just exactly how long it is has been since the price of coffee was this low. Currently, that number sits at 13 years.
In response to this, some Brazilian farmers are refusing to sell their harvest until there is what Bloomberg calls a “price miracle.”
As the article notes, a record crop from the past season has helped usher in the historically low prices, and with a similar yield expected this year, hedge funds—the people who obviously should be in charge of making coffee valuations—are “wagering on further declines.” With the threat of even lower prices looming, Nelson Salvaterra of Rio de Janeiro’s Coffee New Selection tells Bloomberg that many farmers are “hoarding their beans” in hopes of a “miraculous” recovery in the C price.
The numbers back up Salvaterra’s claim. In March, green coffee exports dropped by 20%, to 2.6 million bags—roughly 156 million kilos or 343.2 million pounds—where it is expected to remain in April. The amount that was shipped, according to Salvaterra was only to “[cover] previously agreed upon contracts.”
In the short term, withholding coffee is “doing more harm than good.” Though the prices have increased due to the artificial shortage, it is setting the price higher for Brazilian coffee than that of other countries, further slowing the export rate. But for the farmers, the hope is that they can hold off on selling their crop until the price rebounds. But for this gambit to pay off, the C price of coffee will have to do something it hasn’t reliably done in a long time: it will have to increase.
Let’s hope their gamble pays off.
Top image © Adobe Stock/Paulo Vilela
Welcome to the Sprudge Twenty interviews presented by Pacific Barista Series! Read more about the Sprudge Twenty and see all of our interviews here.
Nominated by Mami Sakamoto
Kazuhiro Nagasawa is an entrepreneur and coffee professional based in Morioka City, some 300 miles from the city of Tokyo on the northern tip of Honshu. He is the owner/operator of his own eponymous small town coffee brand, Nagasawa Coffee, founded in 2012.
Here’s more on why Nagaswa Coffee is special from Mimi Sakamoto’s nominating essay:
“Let me explain a little bit about my hometown, the city of Morioka and its relationship with coffee. Coffee is loved by all generations here, and many families have their favorite coffee roasters and cafes. But what they call ‘coffee’ has traditionally meant a dark roasted, thick, strong tasting drink. When Nagasawa Coffee opened in 2012, their coffee selection had fruity, lighter, or sometimes unique tastes in addition to ‘traditional’ dark ones.
Mr. Nagasawa was not trying to follow ‘in-fashion’ coffee then. His coffee choices are not swayed by trends. Instead, he is cultivating his own world of coffee, traveling from Africa to Taiwan to keep his knowledge current, and expressing everything he’s learned here for the locals. I think this is how a barista in a small town can contribute to change and influence the world of coffee.”
Sprudge Media Network spoke with Nagasawa digitally from Morioka City.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
What issue in coffee do you care about most?
I care about the future of coffee cultivation, especially how it will be affected by global warming. Secondly, I am concerned about the worldwide rapidly growing demand for coffee, which may lead to an imbalance in supply.
What cause or element in coffee drives you?
In 2011, I encountered the Great East Japan Earthquake, the biggest earthquake that we had ever experienced.
The seacoast areas of Tohoku region, or the North East side of Japan where we live, had massive damage. From day one of the disasters, I couldn’t help thinking that I have to do something.
My desire became stronger day by day and about a month later, there I was, visiting from shelter to shelter of the seaside towns hit by the massive tsunami. Taking a whole day, I served so many people cups of coffee that I couldn’t count how many they were every day. The more I served, the more people became delighted, thankful for me with many smiles. Some of the victims even told me, “thank you very much for coming over to such a terrible disaster area,” and I was unexpectedly encouraged by those words.
During this activity, I strongly felt the magic and miracle power of coffee that made me think deeply about how good it was to be involved in the world of coffee. Unlike water or foods, we can live without coffee. However, at the moment you have a sip of coffee, a joy arises. Feeling healed, a calm space is born, and smiles overflow. That strange feeling that I had under that ultimate and devastating natural circumstance made me mad about coffee more than ever.
What issue in coffee do you think is critically overlooked?
The reality of coffee grower’s poverty.
What is the quality you like best about coffee?
Coffee can take us beyond countries, regions, languages, ethnic background, and religions. It provides us opportunities to share our common values. I believe it is a wonderful drink that connects people to people all over the world.
Did you experience a “god shot” or life-changing moment of coffee revelation early in your career?
A long, long time ago, one day, I hiked up to the top of a mountain for snowboarding. It was a tremendously cold day, and I was almost freezing. Then, somebody poured a cup of hot coffee from a thermos for me. I vividly remember the scene and its unforgettably delicious taste of the coffee still now.
It was not that tasty as we could call “specialty,” it was precisely my life-changing moment that made me realize it all depends on the environment or situation; we could find any coffee to be the best coffee. I could say it was a very precious discovery for my career.
What is your idea of coffee happiness?
My idea of coffee happiness is: Coffee is always a side player, not takes a leading role but it still beside us when we need it. Coffee is always there when important decisions are made or brilliant inventions are found in history. I think what coffee happiness truly means is bringing to us our everyday life itself. No drama needed. Spending our daily lives with a cup of coffee is such a wonderful treat. Also, I would like to always be with coffee as a part of people’s ordinary lives.
If you could have any job in the coffee industry, what would it be and why?
I would be a coffee farmer and cultivate coffee from scratch all by myself. My town, Morioka, is very cold in winter, so it’s impossible to grow coffee here. So I have an aspiration to commit to producing coffee.
Who are your coffee heroes?
All the customers who come to my store, including the past and future visitors, are my heroes. Without any supports by all of them, we, Nagasawa Coffee, don’t exist.
If you could drink coffee with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
No doubt, it would be John Lennon. Although John and I are not the same age, we share the same birthday, and unilaterally I have admired him for many years. If this were to happen, for me to drink coffee with him, it would be amazing. However, to speak honestly, I would like to have a drink of something stronger than coffee if given the chance with John Lennon!
If you didn’t get bit by the coffee bug, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
I would be a professional snowboarder (if my age does not matter). I have quite a long career in snowboarding, and there are a lot of great places to go snowboarding with ideal snow conditions around my city.
Do you have any coffee mentors?
Nope. Nobody. I started my career in coffee by self-study and have kept it that way to the present.
What do you wish someone would’ve told you when you were first starting out in coffee?
When I first started in coffee, I knew nobody who was in the coffee industry then. I had to go very far to find my way. If I could have some advice from somebody, it would be much more comfortable. However, as much tough time as I been through, I now feel I am making good use of my past experiences.
Name three coffee apparatuses you’d take into space with you.
I would choose just one. AeroPress. I want to challenge pressing in weightless space.
Best song to brew coffee to?
Something by the artist French Kiwi Juice.
Look into the crystal ball—where do you see yourself in 20 years?
I can see I am on the southern island of Japan, and enjoying watching coffee cherries.
What’d you eat for breakfast this morning?
I had natto (fermented soybeans), white rice, grilled fish and miso soup. Quite a traditional Japanese breakfast.
When did you last drink coffee? What was it?
I would prefer to tell you when I drank coffee for the very first time, because I feel like my last coffee is always in the future. So, I think I was nine years old or so back then. My father brought coffee beans at a local coffee shop and brewed it in a siphon for me. I do not remember what coffee it was. Despite my father’s solemn and polite conduct, I could not understand the taste of the coffee at all. It has become a good memory of my late father.
Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.