Who are we speaking with?
My name is Kenji Kojima. I was born and raised in Saitama, a city located to the north of Tokyo.
Tell us about Fuglen.
Fuglen was established in Oslo, Norway back in 1963. The first foreign branch was established in Tokyo is 2012. The roastery, Fuglen coffee roasters, was established two years after that, in 2014. We don’t just serve coffee; we also sell Scandinavian vintage furniture and serve cocktails in the evening.
What is special about your space?
Our shop is located right by the huge Yoyogi Park, so a lot of our customers take their coffee out to the park, especially during cherry blossom season. Owing to the footpath right outside our shop leading to Shibuya station, I feel Fuglen is a part of a lot of people’s everyday lives.
Tell us a bit about your customers.
On weekdays, we serve a lot of office workers, creatives (who might be working both in Japan and abroad), and regular customers who live in the neighbourhood. At the weekend, we usually see a lot of tourists from Asian countries. We also have a lot of people dropping in to enjoy cocktails and records in the evening.
What’s your favourite thing about coming to work in the morning?
Adjusting the taste of espresso while listening to classical music right before we open the shop. I don’t know why, but I feel somehow that espresso is best in the morning.
If money was no object, what’s the first thing you’d change in your shop?
A larger counter, so I can chit-chat with customers while I make them coffee.
Other than coffee, what would be the hardest food or drink for you to give up?
Definitely sushi—the first thing I eat when I return from abroad is sushi.
When did coffee become important to you?
When I visited Norway for the first time seven years ago, I bought Esmeralda Geisha at Tim Wendelboe. When I tried the coffee three days after I bought it, I was a little disappointed. But when I got back to Japan 10 days later and brewed the coffee with an AeroPress, it was surprisingly juicy and intense, like I was drinking soup or something. At this point I haven’t come across a coffee better than that Esmeralda Geisha.