20 Questions with JAMES FREEMAN

20 Questions with JAMES FREEMAN

Release Date: Sep 2, 2016


(This interview took place at the Blue Bottle Coffee Kiyosumi Shirakawa Roastery & Cafe on March 29, 2016)

1. Favorite cafe in Japan?

I would have to say Satei Hato.

2. Favorite non­-Blue Bottle cafe in the world?

I loved Omotesando Koffee. And Cafe Sant’Eustachio in Rome. Both perfect spaces for coffee.

3. Best city in the world for coffee?

If you travel with a coffee kit, then any city.

4. Favorite coffee region these days?

Yemen. It’s not finished, but we are getting an absolute mind blowing coffee from there soon.

5. Favourite food that goes with coffee?

Pound cake.

6. How many coffees do you have everyday?

I don’t know, it’s not polite to count…

7. Maximum number of coffees you’ve had in one day?

The first time I went to Portland I must have finished a dozen espressos in a 2 hour period.

8. When was the last day you went without coffee?

It must have been a very very long time ago.

9. Favorite brewing method?

It’s hard not to say pour over, but I wouldn’t want to just choose one.

10. How do you usually take your coffee?

In the morning, I love making myself a cappuccino, I’m not afraid to admit it! When I’m out, it’s almost always pour over, and espresso in the afternoons. Sometimes macchiato.

11. Do you use the same mug everyday?

I have three. I have a Claska mug that we use at Blue Bottle ­- there’s just something kind of huggable and affectionate about it. I also have a Heath mug from San Francisco. I also have a Hario tall, thin, stove-­pipe-­like-­mug with a handle that we use for siphon coffee at Blue Bottle.

12. What type of coffee set up do you have at home?

Mid 1970s one group San Marco Leva 100v plumbed in / a Chemex / long neck dripper / nel filters / I don’t own a french press oddly enough – that’s about it. I don’t have any plug in machines other than the espresso machine…

13. A really delicious cup of coffee you’ve had recently?

I had a Guatemala pour over yesterday at our new store in Shinjuku, which was beautiful.

14. Most expensive cup of coffee you’ve had?

I don’t check, but I was just at l’Ambre in Ginza a couple of days ago, I got Mexican coffee from 1975, that was probably not cheap.

15. Furthest you’ve travelled for a cup of coffee?

6000 miles.

16. How many staff work for Blue Bottle?

Over 600 now. We’ve got 25 shops… as of 2 days ago.

17. Which city would you love to open in one day?

Tokyo was always my answer before we opened here. I love London and Paris, but they seem like hard places to insert what we’re doing.

18. Who is your inspiration?

Sometimes Glenn Gould, sometimes Marcel Proust, sometimes JD Salinger. There’s a lot.

<we are interrupted by Aya bringing us some (delicious) matcha pound cake with lemon peel>

19. Best thing about your job?

Somebody just walked in with cake! Do you really have to ask?

20. Worst thing about your job?

Oh, people walk in and give me cake…



interview with James Freeman (Blue Bottle Coffee)

translation by Kana Murakoshi (@bx000p)

interview by  Vaughan (@vja)

photography by  Takahiro Takeuchi (@goodcoffeeme)

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