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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Ogawa Coffee’s Halloween Latte Art: Sit Down, Relax, and Get Spooky

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Deliciously spooky art for your latte, available for the entire month of October!

Coffee: the ever-important weapon of survival in a jungle of homework, work, classes, and the ever-frustrating crowds at the T. Most of us cannot make it through the day without indulging in our coffee habits.
But in our United States mindset of go, go, go, we often look past the true art and grace that goes into the making of coffee, as well as the importance of actually sitting down to breathe. Sometimes, all you need is a delicious beverage and a reminder that it is okay, even necessary, to truly enjoy yourself.
In fact, it is incredible what we often overlook about the magnificent craftsmanship and culture that may go into something we take for granted. Ogawa Coffee is the perfect place to start paying attention. Absolutely everything – from the taste, the beans, the methods, the cups, and the designs – is intentional and has a truly fascinating story behind it.
Robbin Watson and Christina Ville have a big part in spreading the word about the coffee shop’s unique approach to coffee retail.
For instance, you may be pleased to know that the Japan-based coffee shop, located right off of Downtown Crossing by the Old South Meeting House, is the first international location in the world. Kyoto, the home of Ogawa Coffee, just so happens to be Boston’s sister city, with a similar vibe of lifestyle and culture. The Boston shop also has a staff of baristas personally trained by World Latte Art Champion, Haruna Murayama, who is capable of effortlessly designing some of the most beautiful designs in your steaming latte.
As a celebration of the coming Halloween season, for the entire month of October, Ogawa Coffee features spooky ghost and jack-o-lantern designs at your request. The coffee itself is a uniquely special experience. As someone who has always needed tons of sugar in her coffee, I was amazed to find that without any sugar added, the latte was smooth and flavorful. (Be sure to order your Halloween latte with whole milk; apparently, it is the best selection for making designs that stick!)
I was surprised to learn that this bitter-free flavor blast is all due to the elegant techniques the coffee makers are trained in.
“It even comes to how the mug you are drinking the coffee from is prepared,” Ville said. “The temperature of the mug itself can affect the flavor of the coffee. The baristas warm up the mugs with hot water, which helps maintain the flavor.”
The baristas also use something called the Kalita filter, which is very popular amongst coffee makers in Japan. The filter is a critical pour-over tool for the Japanese, and does a brilliant job of bringing out the flavors of the coffee.
“You can even try out the coffee beans in the Single Origin Trio. You can taste all three beans – one from Guatemala, one from Brazil, and one from Ethiopia – to see which flavor you like best and want in your coffee,” Ville said.
The Japanese, Ville also points out, are all about hospitality. The Ogawa Coffee Shop stays true to its roots in its presentation.
“They use special cups called Kiyomizu cups. Each cup is very unique, with different colors and featured flowers,” Ville explained. “These cups come from traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, and Ogawa Coffee adds a special twist by using them with coffee. They keep the traditions, which is what makes it really special. Customers may not realize, but the cups have different sized flowers on either side of the cup. It is tradition to face the larger flower towards the customer as a sign of respect when serving.”
Fascinating craftsmanship also went into the seating. Behind the bar seats is a set up of stadium-like wooden blocks stacked on top of one another, almost like ascending steps. The set up not only allows for a good view of the coffee-making process, but is also an interesting way to encourage conversation.
“The interesting thing about the seating is that it kind of forces you to turn yourself and face the person you are speaking to without a table in the middle,” Ville said. “The design encourages socializing, and it is also just a cool place to get some work done.”
Although you may have to wait a little bit longer to get your cup of coffee compared to other coffee shops that are more about pace than craftsmanship, I can guarantee that it is well worth the wait. Make sure to take the time to indulge in the flavor of your special beverage; you are enjoying a true piece of art!