Get to know Tetsu Kasuya, 2016 World Brewers Cup Champion
BY JOSHUA DUSK-PEEBLES SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
Tetsu Kasuya of Japan has not been a coffee drinker for very long, let alone a coffee professional. But once he began, he wasted no time- winning the 2015 Japanese AeroPress Championship, the 2016 Japanese Brewers Cup (using an AeroPress), and ultimately winning the 2016 World Brewers Cup (but not with an AeroPress). Here, Tetsu shares with Barista Magazine his approach to coffee and some of his discoveries so far.
Joshua Dusk-Peebles: You used to be an IT consultant. How did you get started in coffee?
Tetsu Kasuya: About four years ago when I was still an IT consultant, I got type 1 diabetes. While I was in the hospital, I thought, œFrom now on, what should I drink instead of Coca-Cola? At last, I found the answer: œYes. I’ll drink coffee. It is also black like Coca-Cola. There was no clear reason for it. It was just a idea I had.
JDP: So now you work at Coffee Factory! What can you tell us about it? What is your role there?
TK: Coffee Factory is a small coffee shop that has existed for 30 years in Ibaraki, near Tokyo. The owner roasted my competition beans. He also judges COE (Cup of Excellence). I am the manager of a branch. My main role is barista.
JDP: When you get a new coffee, how do you first brew it?
TK: Actually, I haven’t decided that. I usually brew it by any equipment I find first.
JDP: What has been the biggest discovery you have made about brewing so far?
TK: The biggest discovery is that the only role of the last 60% of the total water is to control the strength of coffee.
JDP: That discovery is the basis of your 4:6 method, which you used in your World Brewers Cup routine. How did you develop that method?
TK: Everyday I brewed by various ways and wrote down all the results. And I would think about whether there are any laws. There is no other way to verification. 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Not 40%/60%!
JDP: Why did you choose the Hario v60 as your competition brewer? Why ceramic?
TK: The v60 makes it easy to control the overall quality of the coffee. Also, because almost every coffee lover has a v60. It is popular. I wanted to find an easy method for the coffee lover, not only for the professional.
The reason I used ceramic is because it can keep warm during brewing. The function of keeping warm is especially important in the 4:6 method because I start each pour after all the liquid has dripped down into the decanter.
JDP: Letting all your water drip through between pours is very unique. How did you come up with that idea?
TK: From brewing thousands and getting verification every time.
JDP: How else is your method different from other brewing methods?
TK: This method has the advantage that it is easy to carry out for anyone and is widely applicable. So now, it will probably further develop by many people’s trial and error. I hope so.
JDP: What advice would you give to people trying to become better brewers?
TK: The most important thing is knowing what good coffee is. It’s not difficult to brew. But if you don’t know what good coffee is, you cannot brew that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joshua Dusk-Peebles is a lifelong explorer, experimenter, and learner. He enjoys nothing more than sharing what he is learning with other people. When he was young, he would get legitimately angry if his dad forgot to let him smell the coffee every time a new bag was opened. Unfortunately, the much less pleasant corresponding beverage kept him away from coffee until his 30s, when he smelled and then tasted a well-handled natural process Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, and everything made sense again. He plans on getting his own new-born son started much sooner. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Great interview, it is so nice that you got to talk one on one with Kasuya. It is inspiring and rewarding to see that his whole ethos has been making the highest quality coffee he can achieve with tools and methods that any normal person can do, it shows that you don’t need all those fancy produts to make excellent coffee! It is wonderful as well that Kasuya came upon his love for coffee later in life, I never knew that, it just shows you can always learn and become expert at a new skill at any point. The 4:6 method and letting all the water pour through is very simple but so effective. I’d love to try his coffee. Thanks for the interview!