Blue Bottle Coffee Japan
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Blue Bottle Coffee Japan (@bluebottlejapan)
KOLSHITSKY & THE FIRST BLUE BOTTLE
The apocryphal tale goes like this: In the late 1600s, the Turkish army swept across much of Eastern and Central Europe, arriving at Vienna in 1683. Besieged and desperate, the Viennese needed an emissary who could cross Turkish lines to get a message to nearby Polish troops. Franz George Kolshitsky, who spoke Turkish and Arabic, took on the assignment disguised in Turkish uniform. After many perilous close calls, Kolshitsky completed his valiant deed, delivering news of the Poles’ imminent rescue to Vienna.
On September 13, the Turks were repelled from the city, leaving everything they brought, including strange bags of beans, which were thought to be camel feed. Kolshitsky, having lived in the Arab world for several years, knew these to be bags of coffee. Using money bestowed on him by the mayor of Vienna, Kolshitsky bought the coffee and opened Central Europe’s first-ever coffee house (The Blue Bottle), bringing coffee to a grateful Vienna.
319 YEARS LATER
In the early 2000s, in Oakland, California, a slightly disaffected freelance musician and coffee lunatic, weary of the commercial coffee enterprise and stale, overly roasted beans, decided to open a roaster for people who were clamoring for the actual taste of fresh coffee. Using a miniscule six-pound batch roaster, he made a historic vow: “I will only sell coffee less than 48 hours out of the roaster to my guests, so they may enjoy coffee at peak flavor. I will only use the finest, most delicious, and responsibly sourced beans.”
In honor of Kolshitsky’s heroics, he named his business Blue Bottle Coffee and began another chapter in the history of superlative coffee.
Now, nearly 15 years later, and thanks to the enthusiastic support of many loyal guests, Blue Bottle Coffee has grown to a small network of cafes, an espresso cart, the occasional pop-up, and a small fleet of Loring roasters. We are still united by the simple purpose of getting great coffee to everyone who asks for it. We have gotten even more specific about freshness and peak flavor. Improbably and delightfully, there are hundreds of us now.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
MAY WE BRING YOU COFFEE?
The first method of selling coffee we tried was enjoyable but short-lived:
We would call our customers, have a conversation about what kind of coffee they liked, and how much they tended to drink, and, if it was a good conversation, we would take their credit card number and make them a promise: to drive to their homes once a week and drop coffee on their doorstep.
This turned out to be a fraught business model for a number of reasons—and besides, there is only so much coffee you can pack into your Peugeot 505 wagon—but it is still, more or less, what we are trying to do.
We work directly with farmers around the world to source the most delicious and sustainable coffees we can find. Then, we roast them to our exacting flavor standards, and serve them to you at peak deliciousness, hopefully alongside a good conversation and some friendly advice. We think it’s a privilege to deliver the coffees we love, by farmers we admire, into your hands or onto your doorstep.
We started our company with a vow insisting that we would only sell coffee within 48 hours of roasting. Coffee doesn’t necessarily taste best within 48 hours, but we wanted to get our coffee into your hands quickly, so you could enjoy the ascent to peak flavor.
Flavor in coffee is a crescendo—no part of the journey is boring.
In our cafes, we fanatically taste each coffee to determine the precise days on which it will achieve peak flavor. Hayes Valley Espresso, for instance, really sings on days 4–7.
We’re now applying this precision to our whole beans, so you can experience our coffee at the absolute summit of deliciousness.
HOW DO WE EVALUATE DELICIOUSNESS?
Basically, it’s a science experiment.
We set up blind taste tests at different days out of the roaster. We taste each batch, repeatedly. James and our team of roasting and quality control experts cup all of our coffees before they go into the world. We repeat this process every day. Each time we change a component of one of our blends, we start over. Every time a new single origin is introduced (three to five times per month) we go through the process anew.
We then identify a window of peak flavor. When a coffee hits that range, it goes into service at our cafes and onto the shelves as whole beans.
WHEN SHOULD I BREW WHOLE BEAN COFFEE?
You can start brewing whole bean coffee the day you buy it. Refer to the deliciousness matrix above to identify your coffee’s peak flavor range. If you buy espresso beans, a rest or “de-gassing” period is extra important for pulling a sublime shot. We talk all about that here.
WHEN SHOULD I BREW PERFECTLY GROUND?
Perfectly Ground makes this all very simple, because we only grind the coffee used for it on the precise day that it is most delicious. Not a day sooner. (At some point, we’ll get this down to the hour.)
When you grab an envelope of Perfectly Ground, you’ll know you’re hitting peak flavor just by tearing it open.
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