Release Date: Jun 2, 2017

  1. Andrew, your first memory of coffee?

Thinking way back, as a child, my first memory of coffee revolves around my mother making a pot of coffee for a group of friends that she had over to our house on the weekends. I remember the distinctive smell and the way the group seemed to light up after drinking it.

  1. What’s your favourite cafe in Tokyo (besides the beautiful Blue Bottles!)?

I am a big fan of Fuglen and everyone that works there; I live so close, you can usually find me there on my days off. I also enjoy About Life in Shibuya, Onibus in Nakameguro, Sarutahiko in Ebisu, 4/4 Seasons in Shinjuku and Light Up in Kichijoji.

  1. Favorite cafe in the world?

I would have to say Blue Bottle’s cart (now defunct) at the Saturday Farmers Market at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. This is where I cut my teeth in coffee and where I was fortunate enough to not only meet and work with some truly inspiring baristas but also some amazing local farmers and artisans as well. It was one big community at these markets and all the vendors worked closely together in symbiotic harmony.

  1. How do you take your coffee?

Filter coffee, black. Espresso, Gibraltar, Macchiato, Cappucino.

  1. What’s something that you think Blue Bottle does different (and better!) from everywhere else?

Blue Bottle truly wants to remove as many obstacle as possible that stand in the way of enjoying your coffee. We want to elevate the guest experience and offer the best coffee we can. As James said, Blue Bottle is “Coffee and people, but not in that order”

  1. Maximum number of coffees you’ve ever had in one single day?

Hmm, last time I had to fly to San Francisco from Japan for work, I was extremely jet-lagged and visiting cafes all day tasting coffee. I think I had about 10 shots of espresso along with several other coffee drinks mixed in. To say I felt cracked-out is an understatement.

  1. What’s the most expensive cup of coffee you’ve had?

Probably the most expensive coffee i’ve paid for was a 1500($14) yen cup of Costa Rica from a Starbucks Reserve lot.

  1. What’s the best food that goes with coffee?

Toffee cookie

  1. What type of coffee setup do you have at home?

I have a simple set up consisting of a ceramic dripper(I also have a light, plastic dripper for travel), Hario scale, and Porlex grinder. I use to go bike camping a lot when I lived in california and the 20g Porlex grinder with the plastic dripper were a winning combo.

  1. What advice can you give to people who want to make a better cup of coffee at home?

Start with purchasing a scale. Stick with one coffee-to-water ratio and adjust the variable for grind size to start and that will improve your coffee dramatically. Then I would say taste a lot, experiment often and be curious.

  1. Where did you have a really delicious cup of coffee recently? And who made it?

I had an amazing honey-processed Panamanian drip coffee at Luguo Cafe In Taipei, Taiwan a few weeks back. A very capable barista made it for me but her name slips my mind, apologies.

  1. Which cafe embodies Japan for you?

The old Omotesando Koffee in Omotesando.

  1. Three words to describe James Freeman?

vision, passion and intelligence

  1. What’s the best thing about working in the coffee industry?

The people for sure (and of course getting to drink some of the best coffees in the world!)

  1. What’s the most challenging part about being a barista?

The strain it puts on your body physically.

  1. Who is someone that you look up to in the coffee industry?

Michael Phillips

  1. The coolest movie with a coffee scene in it?

The coffee scene from David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr. The Best!

  1. Who should everyone follow on instagram?

@dantom @ddent @woodygphoto

  1. Best background music to play while you’re making coffee?

Dinosaur Jr.

  1. If you weren’t in the coffee industry, what would you be doing?

Shooting photos


Interview by Vaughan (@vja)

Photography by Nik van der Giesen (@nvdg81)

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