# 4 -《Sprout》

Interview with Mr. Yoshi Toge San, the owner and operator of Sprout.

Mr. Yoshi Toge San :

Originally from Chiba Prefecture (千葉縣), moved to Niseko 15 years ago with his wife Yukiko Touge. He was a kayak instructor in the summer as well as a ski patrol for Annupuri during the winters. They are passioned in all outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking, skiing or anything to do on the mountain. Sprout is one of the very first coffee roasters in Kutchan Town area.

 

 Why did you open this shop?

My wife and I liked coffee and the outdoors, so the concept (coffee + outdoors) was an idea that came out to us. It was that simple. Also, back in the days, we didn't have any coffee shop or a place for people to gather in Kutchan Town. Therefore I wanted to create such place, especially after kayaking or skiing, people can come into Sprout to take a rest with a cup of delicious coffee.

We welcome everyone, even if you are new to the town or didn’t know much about the mountain. We hope you will start liking the outdoor activities while you are having a coffee here at Sprout.

 

How did you name this shop?

Sprout means to grow and we would like to grow with our passion and core beliefs inside our heart that will never  change since started. They are playfulness, adventurousness, happiness, pursuance and the joy of sharing.

 

Why here?

I moved to Niseko with my wife 15 years ago from Chiba. When we were in Chiba, we used to travel for 3-4 hours to do kayaking and skiing but here in Niseko, I can do it anytime whenever we want. Niseko is a very nice place, there is a strong and close connection with daily life and nature here.

We love this location, Kutchan station is a just 50 meters away. Therefore all travelers or people from elsewhere could easily come and join us while they are waiting for their train.

 

 

How long has Sprout been open?

8 years

Do you ski or snowboard?

Ski, I use dps Alchemist Wailer 112 RP2.  

Where is your favorite area for ski area/mountain?

Niseko Haute route, it is a mountain route of about 40 km long which runs longitudinally through Niseko mountain ranges from Raiden mountain (雷電山) near the ocean to Mt. Annupuri. It takes two days to hike and camping in winter.

 

How do you roast your coffee?

It actually took us 8 years since Sprout opened, we think that we were ready to roast our own beans. There were a lot of trials and fails in the beginning. But I know I have the hang of it now. I think each coffee bean from each batch from each country will have its own strengths and weaknesses, just like people – you can’t force them to be one way or another. So I don’t really aim for one flavor when I roast coffee. I try to let the best of that bean speak.

  

Epilogue

In 2015, we discovered Sprout while we were waiting for the train at Kutchan JR station, it was also our first time to Niseko. The aroma of the coffee led us to go into the shop. There are many retro vintage furniture and local handcraft souvenir displayed inside the shop. Their staff always greet the customers with a big welcoming smile. Since then, it became the place that we often meet up with our friends. Even when we were just by ourselves, the stay-as-long-as-you-like atmosphere that keeps us going back. We just love hanging out there.

After talking to Yoshi San, we feel like everyone is so helpful to each other even to their competitor. He said all coffee makers here in Niseko are good friends, they like to help each other and share their knowledge to make better coffee for the people and for the Niseko area. 

 

 

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