Matsue – Shimane has a well-reputed coffee shop in Matsue. The shop’s name is Imagine Coffee, named after the music band group Beatles singer John Lennon’s famous number, Imagine.
Nobuaki Kishimoto opened his café when he was in his early 20s. Initially, he started his business in a suburb of Masue: Higashi Izumo, where his parental home was. The corner of the garage at his grandfather’s home was the shop back then named Hanare Imagine. Hanare means an outside building or detached house in Japanese.
Hanare Imagine had very few customers when it first opened. Having few customers, he was sometimes ridiculed by others. However, he firmly decided to choose the way to sell coffee. His passion for coffee, especially for roasting coffee beans, motivated him. His love for coffee and perseverance allowed him to attract customers to the shop by word of mouth.
He moved the coffee shop downtown Matsue in 2013. This incident became a turning point in his career. He changed his cafe’s name, Imagine Coffee, to which Hanare was excluded. A skilful architect in Matsue designed the new coffee shop, and his fellow artisans worked on the interior to complete the shop. He also introduced a roasting machine to pursue excellence in roasting.
While customers are chatting merrily, the machine’s whirring sound fills the shop. Kishimoto stares at the gauges of roasting logs. He carefully carries out handpicking and cupping, which are vital for roasting.
The difference in temperature in roasting resulted in different coffee flavours and aromas despite using the same beans.“The roasting process is profundity,” says Kishimoto.
He studies cutting-edge roasting theories by reading books written in foreign languages. This style is not standard in Japan’s coffee roasters, which emphasise professional techniques more than theories. He realises both methods and approaches are two halves of the same whole. In short, both of them lead to the essence of the roasting.
Kishimoto’s journey to make it his ideal roasting is still going on.
Written by Takashi Saito
Corrected by Mitsuko Isohara