Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sansui Coffee Review

For the past few months, I had been buying coffee beans from the Starbucks in Okinawa City, but since that means a 30-minute drive from where I live, I decided to local shops that roast their own. I live in Onna, so no matter where I buy them, I will have to drive a while to get there. Of the shops I found, one is here in Onna - Sansui Coffee in Yamada.
The shop is off of Route 6 in Yamada, but it is really easy to miss. Use your car navigation system or a smart phone.

Like other local roasters, they have a display of green coffee beans arranged near the entrance, but behind them are the bulk roasters visible behind a window. They only do large batches, but they roast almost daily, so no matter when you visit, there should be something fresh and waiting. 
Though Sansui has other shops and is sold here all over Okinawa, this is the headquarters where they roast the beans. The owner is a generous and friendly native of Okinawa who has been roasting coffee for over 20 years. She helped me choose by offering single bean samples to crunch and taste. I took a Kilimanjaro dark roast that the owner said had been done just that day. The beans were still warm.
The moment I got home, I ground the beans and tried it out. At 1.5 minutes in a French press, it was crisp and dark… clean with good body. At 3 minutes in the press it was thick and heavy, almost overwhelming, but not sour or overly bitter.

This coffee is more than worth a trip to Yamada and navigating the narrow road and tiny parking lot. Good people, good coffee, and the price per gram for most of their coffee is the same or less than I was paying at Starbucks, so consider this a guilt-free luxury. Another good thing about Sansui is that their member' s point cards do not expire, so you can slowly build up points to get free coffee.

Sansui Coffee
239 Yamada, Onna-son, Okinawa 904-0416

サンスイ珈琲 会社概要
〒904-0416 沖縄県恩納村山田239(本社・焙煎工場)

Good Company Coffee Roasters Review

Intrigued by blog posts about locally-roasted coffee and people who roast their own beans at home, I searched the internet for nearby coffee roasters. I found a place called Good Company in Uruma City, but only by the grace of Google Maps on a smart phone. The building looks like a cottage retreat. 
Near the door was an arrangement of barrels and burlap sacks full of green coffee beans, each labeled with country of origin and price per 200 grams. Good Company is a roast-to-order coffee bean shop where you select the beans (they're actually seeds), and they roast them while you wait. 
Junko and Masaki Nakamoto have been doing this for the past 17 years. While bulk roasting with large ovens in the back of the store are probably more profitable, this single-order roasting keeps people coming back.
It is both experiment and performance art, because while you go home with any bean variety roasted any way you like, you also get to watch the owners heat, toss, cool, and clean the beans for you while enjoying a complimentary cup of coffee and a chat.
An added bonus is seeing their roasting equipment, which looks like the love child of a smithy and a steam punk barbecue grill.
I picked a Dark City Roast of their Special Blend, and it really was very nice - fresh and fruity, yet dark and smooth, with no sourness.

Good Company Coffee Roasters
1943-1 Taba, Uruma City, Okinawa Prefecture
Japan 904-2213

〒904-2213 沖縄県うるま市田場1943-1