Release Date: Dec 1, 2017

Vaughan: Congratulations on your second store, guys! The Good Coffee team doesn’t want to go back home to Tokyo. We could just stay all day – it’s really beautiful here…

Colby: Oh, thank you Vaughan! That means a lot to us!

Vaughan: Is this more like the Verve back in the States, compared to your Shinjuku store?

Colby: The first time we ever came to Japan we came to Kamakura. Shinjuku was the catalyst for us coming to Japan, and we do love our first store in Shinjuku, but we always had our eye on Kamakura. Chill, zen and surf!

Ryan: Yeah, this is a neighborhood cafe. Corner spot, good natural light, room for people to hang out and do their thing… it’s casual but people can expect great coffee. This store really showcases the lifestyle component to our brand.

Vaughan: Your shop is a couple of doors down from Maruyama Coffee, one of Japan’s most respected roasters – did it make the decision more difficult?

Colby: That’s a great question. Generally, it’s getting more and more difficult, especially back in the states, to open up a coffee shop that isn’t near another coffee shop. But in this situation, it’s Maruyama Coffee. I’ve actually been on several COE international juries with Kentaro Maruyama, and we’re friends with him and some of his crew, so we talked to him about it when we were making the decision. Our thinking is that this will become a coffee neighbourhood, not a coffee competition. We have big admiration for Kentaro.

Vaughan: Sounds good, Colby! Now, Ryan, this is your first time to Japan, welcome and congrats on your two stores. What’s on the agenda for this trip?

Ryan: We’ll make sure everything is ready to go at the new store here… there are a few press days, a few days in Shinjuku for good food and coffee – we even had a bit of time to do a coffee crawl this morning!

Vaughan: Any standouts?

Colby: Ryan has only been here 24 hours, Vaughan! But, we did make it to the new Little Nap Coffee Roasters this morning – great vibe… we really loved the music.

Vaughan: Yeah, it’s one of my favourites too! Anything else on the agenda… doesn’t have to be coffee related!

Colby: We’ll be checking out a lot of vintage synthesisers.

Vaughan: Oh, that’s right – you both play music!

Ryan: Yes, we have both been vintage keyboard players since college!

Vaughan: Is that how you met?

Ryan and Colby: Yeah!

Vaughan: Awesome! Now, I wanted to ask about your roasting activities. Are you roasting locally yet?

Colby: Not yet. But we’re actively looking.

Vaughan: So, you’re still sending from back in the States?

Ryan: Yes, we send beans over twice a week.

Colby: Get this Vaughan, sometimes beans get to Tokyo quicker than we can get them to LA!

Vaughan: No way, really?

Ryan and Colby: Really!

Vaughan: Wow, that’s funny! Now, what are some of the projects you’re working on back home at the moment?

Colby: We have some cool projects going on. We are working on an experiential roastery/cafe in Los Angeles. We’re also building another store near Stanford. And something we’re also excited about is another store we’re building on Facebook Campus, designed by Frank Gehry!

Vaughan: Wow! Has this been announced yet, guys?

Colby: We haven’t done the press on that one yet, so you can jump on that Vaughan!

Vaughan: When will these open?

Ryan: Those are all under construction. We’re probably looking at late Spring 2018.

Vaughan: Sounds like some really cool projects, guys! Anything in Japan?

Colby: We’re looking at other areas in Tokyo to open in – but nothing concrete yet. And the roastery we’d love to open over here one day would definitely be an experiential one like what we’re building back home; a space that showcases the coffee where people can come to.. both for wholesaling and for the general coffee community.

Vaughan: Sounds like a cool destination! Let me ask about your coffe menu… anything for us to look forward to over here in Tokyo?

Colby: Every year we have our Geisha in the tins. This year, it was crazy. We sold out our online stuff on the day it went up. And for in-store, we sold out the first weekend. Unfortunately everything was gone before we had a chance to do stuff with it. For our Japanese customers though, we will almost always have single origins or a micro lot that are Japan exclusive.

Vaughan: On behalf of the Japanese coffee community, thank you so much! Can we get a final comment about your new store in Kamakura?

Ryan: Well, we hope Verve will become just one more good reason to visit the beautiful Kamakura area!

Vaughan: I’m sure it will become that! Thanks for your time guys and congratulations again!

Ryan and Colby: Thank you for coming!


Interview by Vaughan (@vja)
Photography by Nik van der Giesen (@nvdg81)

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