ーーOverview Coffee Japan
Terrain was launched by creative director Max Houtzager and Yudai Oka, who has worked as a developer for many years. It is said that the two met and started working together through the media "TERASU" that Max has produced for 14 years. Keisuke Masuda, who has been promoting the creative projects of Max and TERASU, is the representative of Japan for Overview Coffee, which is one of Terrain's projects.
When I first stepped into Parklet, I felt the warmth of the materials that make up the space and the playfulness that was added everywhere, and I felt like I was returning to my childhood. Also, although it is in the center of the city, it is connected to a large park, and it was refreshing to be immersed in the open atmosphere. You can feel the blessings of nature from the benches made of huge stumps and the coffee and food provided. And above all, it was impressive that a variety of people, from young children to the elderly, housewives and office workers, were relaxing there.
In both the development of Overview Coffee Japan and the way the place called Parklet should be, it seemed that Max's experience of nature through creativity was crystallized. This time, we talked with Mr. Masuda, the representative of Japan of Overview Coffee, and Max, who worked on the creative direction of Parklet, in order to unravel the charm of the coffee they are working on and the places such as Parklet.
Roaster aiming at soil regeneration by focusing on cultivation methods
――First of all, I would like to talk about Overview Coffee. By reviewing the farming method of coffee beans, it will contribute to reducing the environmental burden. Tell us more about this concept.
Kay: Overview Coffee is a coffee roaster launched by Alex Yoder, a professional snowboarder who is the international ambassador for the outdoor brand Patagonia. While traveling around the world through his work, he said that he was witnessing changes in the natural environment such as "less snow" and "more avalanches" and raising awareness of environmental issues.
Therefore, Overview Coffee started with "I want to leave a positive impact on the natural environment." he chose the coffee business because of the great influence of coffee, a beverage. Coffee is said to be the second most drunk beverage after water. If coffee that had such a great influence changed to regenerative organic farming instead of conventional farming, he thought that even a cup of coffee that I drank unknowingly could have a big impact on the environment.
Kay: Regenerative organic farming (environmentally regenerative organic farming) is a farming method that is thought to have the effect of suppressing climate change by storing carbon dioxide by increasing the amount of organic matter in the soil. It is based on techniques that have been practiced for a long time, such as the utilization of organic fertilizers and compost.
Organic farming methods are based on the fact that while conventional farming methods use chemical substances and GMOs (genetically modified organisms), they do not use chemically synthesized fertilizers and pesticides and do not use genetically modified organisms. In addition to these practices, we believe that farming practices need to support natural ecosystems, improve soil health, and keep carbon dioxide in the air on the ground. Regenerative organic farming is what makes this possible.
Regenerative organic farming emphasizes animal welfare and worker fairness while at the same time bringing the soil to a healthy state. I think it is our role to spread this through the provision of coffee.
Kay: We and Alex Yoder have been friends, and when he started Overview Coffee, we also sympathized with the concept and wanted to do it in Japan someday. When Soil Setoda was to be made in Setoda, it would be nice to have a coffee roaster in the town of Setoda, so the development of Overview Coffee in Japan became concrete. From there, I prepared and started the roaster in the spring of 2021.
I'm basically doing the same thing as in the home country. Receive coffee beans from carefully selected producers and roast them. It is possible to have the roasted coffee beans sent from the home country to here, but since our mission is to have a positive impact on the global environment, we have them sent from the field to Japan and roasted here. I thought that transmitting the roasted beans to all over Japan would lead to a reduction in the carbon footprint as much as possible. In addition to the same beans as in the home country, we also arrange two types of beans from Ethiopia.
Roasting uses a Rolling 15kg roasting machine. The reason is that it can reduce gas by 75% compared to other roasting machines.
Kay: I always think that I want to be "coffee that is close to everyday life". A cup of coffee may change the future, and even a single cup can contribute to the relationship between the drinker and the coffee. That is why we emphasize ease of drinking and try to make the taste suitable for the body without becoming too heavy. Specifically, I try not to make it too shallow between light medium and medium roast.
We do not adjust the taste too much, and we emphasize that the origin of the beans is good. If we make the taste too deep, we will not know which coffee we are drinking, so we are adjusting it.
Of course, we pursue deliciousness, but rather than roasting to give an easy-to-understand flavor, so that you can feel the "liquid comfort" of old-fashioned coffee ... One landing point is to make coffee that suits one scene.
Kay : As for the environment, a lot of bad beans inevitably come out, so we are trying to use it by trial and error. I asked a potter to use it, or mixed it with a clay wall and used it for the interior of Parklet. Also, since I can't go to the coffee producing area now, I will go to the farmers around Setoda to study agriculture.
Overview Coffee Japan
254-2 Setoda, Setoda-cho, Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima 722-2411