Yasuo Ishii - Founder
I was a boxer before my coffee days but I had to retire that dream after a pretty serious injury in a match when I was 19. It’s been 10 years now that I’ve worked as a barista alongside various other jobs in the restaurant industry which has shaped my palette to what it is today. It was in 2010 that I was gifted a bag of coffee from my friend – a bag (which I came to find out was a natural processed Ethiopia) that left me amazed that coffee could taste the way that cup did. Until that point, all I had were those canned vending machine coffees popular in Japan back in junior high school which made me think coffee was nothing more than a bitter, and dark drink.
The more I got to understand coffee, the more obsessed I became with chasing the flavours that I was looking for which was why I got into roasting. In the west, people are really good at sourcing high quality coffee whereas in Japan, our coffee culture is based on our craftmanship. My goal is to try to bring the two together.
When I opened the roastery and shop, I named it Leaves Coffee inspired by the leaves on a tree. Each season, the leaves will fall but they always grow back, bigger and more beautiful than before. This is the way that I approach all my ideas - learn from the past and continue to create something new.
Which do you enjoy more: roasting, brewing or sourcing?
What’s your favourite region for coffee?
Colombia has been my favourite because they have a great range of character in each region. Although Huila or Cauca are probably the best known, my favourite region is Quindio, nearby to the Andes mountains. I feel Colombian producers are very passionate about experimenting with new and special fermentation processes which opens up their ability to discover new ways of opening up new flavours.
Where did you learn to roast coffee?
Both roasting and brewing have been self-taught.
What roaster are you using?
A Probat UG15 from the 1950’s
How would you describe your roasting style?
I tend to aim for a roast profile on the lighter side, yet still with high development. I want to make sure I bring out all those amazing flavours of the coffees origins without masking any of it in my profiles.
What’s your favourite way of drinking coffee?
A pour over using a Hario v60 dripper and paper filters.
What is your brew recipe?
Medium-coarse grind size, 1:16, 90c water, and target brew time is about 2 minutes
“If I didn’t work in the coffee industry, I would want to be a….”
Head chef at a Michelin star restaurant. I love being able to see the smiles on people’s faces resulting from something that I create. That’s what I love about making coffee as well so fi it wasn’t for this industry, then something food related as well.