Founder of Glitch Coffee
"Work and lifestyle should be in harmony," says Suzuki. "That's really important to me. Wearing a suit to the office and working as a salaryman until 65—it just wasn't me; I couldn't imagine being happy. But at a cafe, I can wear what I want and be who I am—my personality is in my work." After departing his day job as a salaryman early in his career, Suzuki set out to look for his calling, experimenting in a variety of crafts, including pottery and silver accessories, before going down the rabbit hole of coffee. He found himself working for Australia Barista Champion, Paul Bassett, where he honed his craft as barista trainer and head roaster before solidifying his place in the industry by taking home the Japan AeroPress Championship in 2014. It was the year following this victory that Suzuki made the decision to open Glitch to improve and promote the coffee of Japan. "I thought about it a lot. And I didn't want to just talk or think about it. Opening my own place and putting out my own coffee meant I could help start a movement towards new and better coffee for Japan – something we can share with the world and something I felt really strongly about".
Glitch takes their passion for spreading their love for coffee one step further with their Share Roasting Program, allowing those from smaller shops without roasting machines to use their own Probat. "There are a lot of excellent baristas in Japan who can make good coffee and provide excellent customer service," Suzuki says. "When we started the program three years ago, we were the first ones, but now there are more (share roasters) in Kyoto and elsewhere. As different share roasters help foster specialty coffee culture," he explains, "the links between different coffee shops increases, helping to develop and widen Japan's coffee community." Another crucial aspect of the roasting program is the exchange of information. "If you roast by yourself, you are limited by your own abilities."
What is it about coffee that captivates you?
The depth of it —the differences in the source location, brewing methods, roasting varieties. There was something appealing in the complexity of it all, the skill involved in making it work, and the way it acted as an entry point to connection and communication.
Why did you choose the name Glitch?
It's the glitches in the process where the surprise discoveries lay—it's in the accidents along the way that delicious new flavours await. The name works as a reminder to be open-minded in the face of the unexpected.
What is the most essential aspect when it comes to roasting?
Repetition and consistency. To improve, you must first maintain the standards for each roast, mastering the basics. Only after you've achieved this level of consistency can you experiment.
Do you prefer hand-drip or espresso?
To express each origin's characteristics and recreate the surprise and joy I feel when I first encountered good coffee, I go for manually brewed filter first. For example, if your first experience is a latte of a Brazilian/Colombian blend, you won't know what makes Brazilian coffee special, and how it will then taste with milk. I value a step by step learning process so that people can understand the coffee and appreciate it.
How do you feel the Japanese coffee scene compares with others in the world?
I feel that there's a tide coming for Japanese coffee. People are starting to talk about it, and that's good. But I am worried that if we stay shy and quiet, we will miss the opportunity and this culture would eventually die out. We need to go out and show what we can do. Repetition and consistency. To improve, you must first maintain the standards for each roast, mastering the basics. Only after you've achieved this level of consistency can you experiment.