Our Nakatsugawa Location
Visit our shop in the country area of Nakatsugawa to enjoy a cup of coffee or espresso drink, or pick up some beans to brew at home. We have several tables inside—along with free wireless Internet connectivity—or sit at our tables outside on a nice day. Ours is a bright and friendly environment—grab some coffee in a ceramic mug and sit and stay awhile!
All coffee roasted, brewed and sold in our Nakatsugawa location is roasted in-house in our Diedrich 12kg batch infrared roaster or our 4kg Lucky direct fire sumiyaki roaster. Mr. English Coffee only chooses beans of the highest quality; there are many levels of quality with regards to green coffee beans, varying from extremely low to premium, and quality is usually reflected in price. We try to keep our prices stable by averaging the cost of beans across all varieties, so as to give our customers equal opportunity to try new blends—we don't want you to pay premium prices for premium beans when they might not produce the taste you enjoy!
In addition to the variations in quality of beans, there are also many variations in the way the beans are roasted. The typical roasting method for large, commercial batch roasters is indirect fire, in which the beans are roasted in a closed drum and the fire never actually touches the beans. In our original roaster in Japan , we use a direct fire style of roasting; the drum in which the beans are roasted has a perforated drum, allowing the flame from the gas burners to actually come in to contact with the beans while roasting.
This roaster is one of the more difficult to learn how to use as the chance of scorching the beans or even of catching the entire roaster on fire is greatly increased when compared to our newer Diedrich IR-12 closed drum type. The difference between roast styles is the same as the difference between Teppan cooking and BBQ—both can be excellent when done right. I struggled using our first fire roaster, always trying to maintain a constant radiant heat throughout the drum without turning up the gas burners to the point where they would scorch the beans. After years and years of practice, I finally achieved a level that I was absolutely satisfied with. I then trained my partner and now roast master, Seiya Nakashima, on the intricacies of using this Lucky 4kg roaster. sumiyaki roaster and the fundamental concept of gourmet coffee. Only in some of our darker roasts do we find some minor irregularities of the texture and color of the beans with this small direct fire roaster. In the medium range coffees, inevitably we find a few beans (1/1000 or so) that ends just a little darker that desirable. Actually this slight charcoalization is one of the defining characteristics of this very special Little Lucky roaster. I suppose in trying to achieve that perfect roast one ends up spending too much time just looking at beans everyday, but this was my driving force in my selection of purchasing our new state of the infrared Diedrich 12kg batch roaster.
Our new Diedrich IR-12 uses an indirect fire source with a V-shaped infrared gas burner that generates a constant radiant heat throughout the drum. The Diedrich I-R 12kg. roaster was designed for the main purpose of creating a constant radiant heat throughout the drum to address this issue of bean irregularities in the roast. Irregularly roasted beans in any type of roaster are inevitable but as much as they can be reduced absolutely affects the finished taste of any fine roasted specialty coffee.
The direct fire method of roasting has many loyal customers and connoisseurs worldwide, but it does have one drawback: it is much more difficult than the mass commercial method of indirect fire to produce an evenly roasted coffee. As a result, it truly has taken us years to perfect our talent in roasting the coffee evenly without burning it. "Burning it" is meant literally, as when coffee oil is directly exposed to the fire during the roasting process, the chance of a fire that destroys the roaster itself is highly likely. This method of roasting is truly the most dangerous of all methods of roasting. If you can imagine what happens when oily meat catches fire on the grill, you can start to imagine what happens when oily coffee beans catch fire—only multiply it by a hundred times. However, when roasting coffee to the point of a Dark French roast, Italian roast, or other dark roast, the coffee has to be brought just to the point of catching fire without actually catching fire. It is the ability to judge the point at which the whole batch will start to flame, and the timing necessary to pull the batch out into the cooling drum that defines the perfected art of specialty extreme dark roasting.
Many coffee roasting companies stock their roasted coffee in large open plastic storage bins for retail. At Mr. English Coffee we do not favor this method because we believe that fresh roasted coffee should never be directly exposed to air during the seasoning or curing process. We keep a small amount of beans for retail in our stores in sealed holding bins for short periods, 2-3 days max. All beans for internet orders are immediately packed right out of the roaster while their still even a little warm and shipped a.s.a.p. For worldwide delivery orders with the free shipping system which we offer it takes about 1-2 weeks for the coffee to arrrive which is just at about the point when our coffee is reaching its peak of flavor and is ready for immediate consumption. There are those in the specialty coffee industry that make exaggerated claims that coffee has to be ground and brewed right out of the roaster. This is always an interesting experience to try and compare with properly cured coffee. At Mr. English coffee we feel that coffee right out of the roaster is just a little too bright. In our opinion coffee doesn't reach it's peak of flavor and aroma for about 2-3 days out of the roaster if kept in a semi sealed environment and about 2-3 weeks if immediately stored in completely sealed aluminum valve bags right. That doesn't mean that if you buy coffee from a local roaster or roast your own that extremely fresh coffee is wrong. There are those that prefer slightly green bananas, too. If fresh roasted coffee were to be compared to a common banana we would characterize extremely light and fresh roasted coffee as a little bright (green) and medium roast profiles that have cured for a brief period as being at their peak. (ripe). The darkest of all roasts that had been allowed to cure (ripen) for a little to long would be like eating a banana that had ripened to the point of slight blackness. In these cases that coffee becomes intensely sweet and yet intensely bitter at the same time. There are ever so many likes and dislikes for the palates of the masses. At Mr. English Coffee we tend and cater to the educated and trained palates of the few.
All of our roasted coffee beans are packed in aluminum valve bags for shipping. The valve allows the gases of the fresh roasted coffee to escape; otherwise the bags blow up like pregnant goldfish! The valve prevents oxygen, which acidifies coffee from entering the bag while allowing the naturally occurring gas to escape—acid is the worst enemy of coffee (and your stomach). Many of our customers believe the purpose of this valve is for smelling the coffee and they squeeze the bag to produce the aroma. This doesn't hurt the coffee, but it does make the pack look very peculiar after many people have squeezed it.
We strongly recommend that after this bag has been opened that the coffee be stored in an air tight container and kept in a cool place. For long periods of time, such as over a month, a freezer would be best—because roasted coffee beans have virtually no moisture, they don't actually freeze. You can take the beans directly out of the freezer and grind them immediately for use or take out a few and let them warm to room temperature. Coffee that has been frozen will never have the same aroma profile as when it was fresh but freezing will definitely help preserve the flavor profile for long term storage if necessary. While fresh roasted beans are always best, if circumstances prevent beans from being used within a month then the freezer is the best alternative. Just make sure that the container is air tight so that the beans do not develop that horrid freezer taste!
In addition to roasting beans of only the highest quality, we are committed to purchasing organic and fair trade beans whenever possible, strengthening our commitment to social responsibility. Fair Trade helps farmers in developing countries to receive a fair price for their products, which leads to higher living standards, thriving communities, and sustainable farming.