If you are living in Melbourne, chances are you won't have to look hard to find a place that makes a coffee the way you like it.
Small wonder, then, that most of us regard coffee roasting as a practise best left in the hands of professionals.
Tomohiro Matsuoka is an exception.
Tomohiro is one of the few that practises roasting coffee at home for his pour over style coffee. He views it as a pursuit of leisure, a joyful occupation. Wild Timor Coffee had the pleasure of chatting to him about his craft.
For Tomo, the key to a great pour over is freshness. "It's fun to start pouring and see all the foam swell up... You don't get that if the coffee isn't freshly roasted."
What could be fresher than roasting your own?
He began roasting in 2017, sourcing green coffee beans from a local supplier and using a simple mesh apparatus over an open fire. ("You have to be careful on a windy day" he cautions.) The mesh is designed for roasting ginkgo nuts, a delicacy in Japan, but works exceptionally well for coffee beans.
"You roast for about ten minutes" explains Tomohiro. "It's quite hard, because you need to shake-shake-shake the beans the whole time. I can do about 200g at a time... I use a cooker in the backyard so it doesn't set the smoke detectors off!"
Prior to roasting, Tomo had purchased roasted coffee beans from our Coburg cafe, just down the road. He recalled the taste and on an impulse wrote in to ask if Wild Timor Coffee would be willing to supply him with our green bean.
Of course, we agreed!
Tomohiro describes the Wild Timor green bean as "high quality and consistency" compared to previous green been he had purchased.
(Read more about our special Timorese beans here.)
We talked at length about where his love of coffee stems from. Raised in Japan, Tomo still remembers his first coffee- a milky, sugary sweet mug of instant. "I always preferred coffee over tea." He was later influenced by a close friend who moved away, but not before piquing Tomo's interest in brewing pour-over style coffee.
Fanaticism is catching, and the obsession with the coffee bean is one we Melbournites know all too well.
19-year-old Tomohiro quickly purchased a suite of high-quality Japanese brewing equipment. (He would later bring it with him to Australia in 1994 and still uses the same grinder and kettle to this day.)
Asked how the coffee of Japan compares to the coffee in Melbourne, Tomo carefully said, "The espresso here is very good... Italian style espresso really dominates here. After Starbucks came to Japan, a lot of coffee houses in Japan serve espresso. Instead of filter coffee they offer a long black, which is totally different."
He is less impressed with the pour over coffee he has encountered in Melbourne.
"I've seen staff use spoons to stir the grinds while they are brewing... Not good!"
For Tomohiro, roasting coffee is the perfect hobby.
A stay-at-home parent, he has a small window of time in the middle of the day, which roasting a batch of coffee fills perfectly!
As an afterthought, he adds happily, "My wife also loves my coffee!"
Special thanks to Tomohiro Matsuoka.