We got a chance to chat with Miki Suzuki, the second place winner of the World Barista Championship 2017, to hear her thoughts on BALMUDA The Brew. She discusses Japan’s coffee scene, the importance of a pour-over, and how coffee can tie senses to memories.
Can you tell us a little bit about the coffee culture in Japan?
MS: Japan's coffee culture has developed in a unique way and has influenced the international coffee scene. In Japan, there has long been a kissaten (coffee shop) culture of enjoying a carefully brewed cup of coffee. The kissaten culture is said to have influenced the current third wave coffee scene, and many of the coffee utensils used by baristas around the world are actually made by Japanese brands. It may come as a surprise, but Japanese people are coffee lovers and are very particular about the taste of their coffee.
As you probably know, BALMUDA The Brew is made so that you feel as if a barista is preparing coffee for you at home. How do you feel about this concept? What differences/similarities do you see between BALMUDA The Brew and actual pour-over?
MS: The similarities are that you can just pour coffee and you experience the whole of it. The room is filled with the aroma of coffee, and you can also enjoy the sound of the coffee - you can enjoy it with all five senses, and it's a bit like a ceremony, I think. Unlike a pour-over, you almost certainly won't make a mistake. Even if you're not a pro, one can easily try. If you're at home and someone else in the family does a pour-over, you would be reluctant to make a pour-over yourself, but if it was with the Brew, you’d feel you can and want to make one for your family.
You mentioned that the coffee tastes good. As a professional, can you give us your honest impression of the taste from this coffee maker?
MS: The good thing about this coffee maker is that you can enjoy a certain level of taste no matter what kind of beans you use. I feel that the worst thing about coffee, or rather the thing that customers are most concerned about, is that they make coffee wrong. BALMUDA The Brew delivers a consistent taste with any beans every time.
I think we have a lot in common in terms of the idea of connecting through coffee and BALMUDA's Better Moments Better Life, which is the idea that we want people to really enjoy a moment in their life through our products. I would like to hear about your own experiences in terms of connecting with people and your thoughts on this.
MS: It's not so much that I'm consciously thinking coffee connects everyone or creates a better moment, but it’s more that when you look back you think that those times were invaluable. Smells are very close to memories, and when you think about a smell, you remember that moment again, and you feel at peace.
“The Brew is great because no matter who does it, it never fails. No matter who in the family brews it, the taste is always consistent.”