MAY 0023
4 min read

MAY 0023

Roasted in Kyoto Japan

Well well here we are, the last of two coffees in the series.

This time, we're tasting from a roaster on a continent not yet represented – Asia. Kurasu is a small roaster in Kyoto, Japan. An African coffee roasted in Asia and now brewed in your home. What a world.

Hambela Wamena Kelloo, Ethiopia,
roasted by Kurasu

Roaster Kurasu, Kyoto, Japan
Roaster Tasting Notes Mandarin Orange, Pineapple, Loquat
Origin Ethiopia, Guji
Elevation 1950 - 2000
Process Washed

About 0023

Our Ethiop-athon continues.

This time, we are just slightly to the east of our recent visits to Yirgacheffe and now we are in the Guji region.

This coffee is from a producer called Mekuria Mergia who selected and processed this Hambela Wamena.

There are three washing stations with this name Hambela - this coffee comes from the one in Guji while the other two are in Yirgacheffe. Mekuria Merga decided to establish his own export company “Wete Ambela” in 2018 to export coffees from his washing stations, which are renowned for their high quality coffees.

The washing stations are supplied by around 500-600 farmers and have a track record of supplying the highest quality coffee to the most known exporters in Ethiopia.

Before establishing their own export company, the Wete Ambela washing stations served as bridges between the community and exporters. Now that they are established as an export company, they are taking on social responsibility actions on their own. They supply school materials for the children of the farmers.

Wete Ambela produces about six shipping containers a year, three to four of these are washed coffees. The company employs about 65 people in its washing stations and export office.

Some information on the farmers who supplied the coffee cherries:

  • Vegetation: Forest
  • Average lot size of farmers: 1-2 hectares
  • Number of trees per hectare: 1200
  • Cherries per tree on average: 2-3 kgs
  • Average selling price of farmers per kilo of cherries for 2019/2020 harvest year: $0.80/25 birr
  • Variety: Heirloom

Kurasu, Kyoto

Kurasu first store in Kyoto, Japan

The journey of Kurasu begins several years ago and didn't even begin as a coffee business. Flashback to 2013. Yozo Otsuki, an investment banker for Goldman Sachs Tokyo and his wife leave their jobs and country to try new adventures in Sydney, Australia. They recognized a desire for Japanese goods and lifestyle in Sydney and created a housewares company called Kurasu - which translates to "to live" or "lifestyle."

By 2015, Kurasu had evolved to focus mainly on coffee wares and coffee equipment for the home. Coffee had always been a central theme in Yoko's upbringing. His parents owned separate Jazz Kissaten’s (Japanese coffee shops) which were in vogue at the time. Even though he didn’t drink coffee until high school, coffee was always around – the scent, beans, vintage equipment, and atmosphere.

Kurasu Kyoto Cafe

In 2015 they moved their operation from Sydney back to Japan while continuing to ship their wares worldwide. One of the most asked questions especially from overseas customers was if they had a physical space they could visit as part or their trip to Japan.

Fast forward to 2016 and a small cafe and showroom opens in Kytoto - a one stop shop for everything coffee. They never looked back and have since opened a second Kyoto location in Fushimi Inari where they roast, and two cafes in Bangkok and Singapore.

"What is coffee to me?" by Yozo Otsuki

Coffee is my passion and it’s what I do right now for a living through Kurasu - spreading the word of Japanese coffee culture and selling beautiful Japanese coffee equipment’s to the world. Coffee has allowed myself to open doors to unlimited possibilities and to be able to connect with amazing people from all over the world. On a personal level, it’s the process to be able to let go of the hassles or busy work schedule for the day. It’s to enjoy the pour, smell, bloom, and the sound of drip. Moreover, coffee is remembering how my mom brewed for me, and how that experience has shaped me to who I am.
The Kurasu roasting shop in Kyoto

How'd it taste?

The aromatics almost screamed Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. A dark chocolate note here and some subtle sweetness (unlike the toothy sweetness of a Reeses).  This coffee went down nicely, with some astringency in the finish. We can see why the roaster uses so many juicy/tropical fruit descriptors.

Revolver staff had a lot of citrus and juicy tastes in this one:

Satsuma orange in your face. Sweet lemon underneath. Jasmine florals and silky body, reminiscent of green tea. Cools down in to lemonade

What did you think of today's coffee?

We would love to hear from you ❤️

Feel free to share with us any comments below and use #coffeechronicles on social media so we can follow along.

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Twenty-three down, and one more to go. What will the last coffee be?

We will see you tomorrow.

– Coffee Chronicles

Bonus Content

  • Peep: Wete Ambela coffee producers Insta with some stunning visuals.
  • Peep: Kurasu stunning Instagram full of visuals and brew guids.
  • Order: June Coffee Chronicles are available now! Claim your $30 off by emailing your May order number to sheriff (at)