Release Date: May 15, 2017
Japanese Kissa-culture catches a lot of attention in a booming of coffee culture around the world. From the long history, skilful brewing and roasting technique and various equipments were formed. It’s no longer not uncommon that to see customers from overseas when I visit well-known Kissaten, where has unique atmosphere which is the mixture of western and Japanese old tradition.
It is such a exciting and impressive experience for me that to find elements of Japan in a cup of coffee in far away from home. Though some tools invented in Japan, for example Hario V60, Takahiro’s kettle, are already international, now the influence is more than that. I’ve got chances to see and talk to coffee people who are interested in Kissa culture and reflects their interests to their coffee.
Crooked nose & coffee stories (Vilnius, Lithuania)
Crooked nose is located in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Emanuelis, the owner of the place talked about their coffee and experience in Japan.
Please tell us a little bit about your cafe. How do you start the cafe? The story about you and coffee.
Emanuelis: Around 7 years ago, I used to work for advertising. At that time, I fed up with that and decided to focus on what I really love. That was coffee.
The first thing I did with coffee was roasting and selling beans with original stories on package written by some local writers. Then I gradually started to roast beans for cafes and offices. I was more passionate about creating coffee products rather than opening a cafe. I produced ceramic collection of coffee cups, cold brew coffee in a bottle, beer from coffee…really various.
The next project was to put these things on education. Every year we do coffee conference in Vilnius, named Dark time. The aim is showing that coffee is not only the toy for baristas, but it can be very diverse activity. At there, half of presenters are from abroad. Besides that, we constantly (2 times per month) hold workshops for more casual customers, such as a cupping and food paring (4 beans, 4 brewing methods with snacks)
Then, you opened Crooked noses around 2 years ago. That’s interesting that you have some steps before opening cafe. If I were you and think about to do something about coffee, opening cafe would come to my mind at first.
Emanuelis: Yes, I believe that these were also good way to share my idea about coffee as well as serving a cup.
The interior is warm and minimalistic designed by Inga Pieslikaite.
Is there any reasons for not having espresso machine? That’s not very common in Europe.
Emanuelis: The main concept of our cafe is to have only “Hand made coffee”. The analog-methods (ex. aeropress, hand drip) is called alternatives for espresso, but I believe espresso is the alternative. It represents only one of, let say 100 ways of brewing coffee. If we have a machine, customers would order the espresso or espresso based drink as soon as they find it. One day they don’t see it, then it’s a challenge. We show alternatives from the menu and explain them when guests shows interests. In this way, we can naturally share the profoundness which coffee have. Guests see there are various kind of methods of brewing and even the same beans can taste differently depends on brewing. We hope this experience inspire people to get interests and enjoy coffee, even they are not coffee freak at first…slow education, so to say.
Awesome idea. And for me, that reminds me Kissaten here. Many Kissaten offer coffee with several different brewing and we can watch how they are doing that.. Besides a cup itself, that moment is so joyful and could be a trigger for a customer to love coffee.
Emanuelis: I’d say i’m more inspired by old-style cafes like Kissa-ten than other movements. We enjoy showing how can it be worked with coffee differently. I was reading about Kissaten 5 or 6 yeas ago and dreamed to go there.
Various brewing toys and clay cups specialised for their coffee.
So you’ve been last year! I’d like to hear about your experience at there. Which Kissa did you visit in Japan?
Emanuelis: We enjoyed many coffee stops, not only Kissaten though. In Tokyo, we’ve been L’AMBRE in Ginza. COFFEA EXLIBRIS, Bear pond espresso and Salmon and Trout in Shimokitazawa. And in LION in Shibuya.. that was unique experience. It looked like somewhat horror movie and I felt like I’m in old train…that was kinda teleportation. In Kyoto, we’ve been to , Kurasu, cafe de corazon and FACTORY KAFE KOSEN. Each places each impressive character..
From that experience, What did you feel? Did you feel any sympathy or similarities with Kissa- culture to your idea about coffee?
Emanuelis: In kissatens, they appreciate every steps and concentrate on details for a cup of coffee. From well-controlled and thoughtful roasting to skilful, beautiful brewing…I could catch their passion in the process..the artisan passion. You don’t need to do it slower, though, I’ve noticed there are many more things that I can pay attention while making a cup after the visiting. With Kissa-culture, coffee brewing is truly a sacred ritual. That’s the most inspiring for me. I miss this feeling. I cant find this in Europe even though many cafes accept hand brewing nowadays.
Ritual sounds the perfect word for making coffee.
Emanuelis: In Lithuania, coffee culture itself is quite long. If you have guest at home, we usually offer coffee rather than tea. Turn to me, as my mom and father love coffee, it has been part of my life since I was child. My mother makes coffee with Moca and regarded it as a small perch between ordinary life..the ritual that let us stop by naturally, as like I had experienced in Japan. I hope we also make our guests feel this. It should be casual and enjoyable for everyone, never pretentious or snobbish.
How about roasting? How are you particular about that?
Emanuelis: Yes, roasting can put out new taste of beans. so it depends on what we want to extract. In general, at cafes which focus on single origin, beans are roasted quite lightly, though, after meeting Minoru Oya (KAFE KOSEN), I’m also interested in dark roast though I’m not perfectly sure how can I manage as like them yet..we are enjoying roasting experiments. Now, at the cafe, we have only single origin, but we also started to make original blend. Blending is also important and fun aspect.
Blended beans with a short story written by a local writer on a package.
Have you known Mr.Oya for long time?
Emanuelis: He has visited Lithuania before I visited Japan and held workshop at our previous place with flannel brewing (Nel drip). We took over that and now it’s one of our brewing option. Since then, I’m inspired by him a lot.
Sadly, some cafes regard coffee culture as fashion and denies dark roast just because light roast is blooming. Here is the impressive words from him. Formally he roasted lightly, but now he has mainly dark roasting as he knows both are good coffee though light roast is booming. Then says “Dark roast is not Dead”.
It truly opposite to the fashion-coffee. Besides him, there are cafes where has great styles as like Kissatens I’ve been in Japan. That’s also why I’m attracted to Kissa culture. Of course these come from their personalities, but also from the culture itself. The artisan passion and philosophy.
If you had to choose one, what is one drink on your menu you’d recommend customers try and why?
Emanuelis: A cup brewed with “Bro”. Bro is our latest project and launched last month. We made this dripper with Lithuanian native wood and linen which is also our local speciality. With linen, bean’s character can be clearly extracted. As coffee oil will be contained, Bro is good with bold tastes beans as well.
Bro coffee maker.
Coffee dripper made with local materials..that’s your signature!
Emanuelis: Exactly. The cups we have here also made with clay which is the local material. We tried to make them updated with minimal design for our cafe.
Šakotis (Lithuanian traditional cake) and Herbal tea are also in our options. With all of these, we are trying to present our coffee in very local way. Inspired a lot by others, at the same time, we focus on seeking and presenting our, Lithuanian coffee culture. In this way, we can say coffee has creative potential as like language in general. Once you lean language, you can start to make your own story.
Thank you so much for sharing such a awesome story about you and your coffee.
Emanuelis: Thank you too! I must add about people. I’m so happy that to work with the wonderful team here. You can see and talk good people, this is the best thing at cafe. We are waiting for you to see you all at Crooked noses & coffee stories!
For more information about Bro coffee maker, you can visit Bro coffee maker, you can visit Bro coffee maker. At the moment they are presenting Bro in London and a distributor is available to talk with.