Profile photo of Otaku Coffee Lab's founder Kingsley Choi making a pour over coffee

Whenever I have an opportunity to serve someone new to speciality coffee, it always brings a smile to my face when I see them take that first sip of a well made pour over. The story almost always starts the same way. As I’m preparing them a cup of coffee, they usually tell me about their experience and how they love coffee for it’s caffeine and bitterness.

“The darker the roast and the more bitter the better, because that’s how adults drink it.”

They tell me that to love the bitterness of an extra dark roast is to be mature, sophisticated, and grown up. But honestly speaking, coffee doesn’t really have to be that way. That’s like telling me that you really enjoy overcooked steak and love the fact that it’s tough, dry, and tasteless because it’s manly to eat it that way. You wouldn’t spend all that money to eat steak like that, so why should you drink coffee in that manner as well?

When that last drop of coffee comes out of the dripper and I serve the drinks, the facial expression of my guests are usually that of shock. Shock that drinking black coffee isn’t bitter and shock that there are so many nuances and flavors in their cup.

This eye opening experience is usually followed by a question about why they’ve never had coffee like this before and why they can’t order something like this all the time at coffee shops. I think many are eager to learn how to make great coffee themselves. It’s a drink that gets people going every day, so why not consume it in the best possible manner?

The truth is, great coffee takes time and effort to make and to learn it well can sometimes send you down a deep rabbit hole that no one wants to be in. I thought about this dilemma for a while as specialty coffee can sometimes come off as being a bit pretentious.

For being one of the most popular beverages in the world, coffee has many amazing stories to tell.

I believe that teaching through stories can make coffee more approachable and fun to learn and what better way to teach coffee than through my favorite art form. Anime.

Growing up as a kid in the 90s and early 2000s, Anime played into a big part of my life. At a time when most kids were watching Looney Tunes and Power Puff Girls on Cartoon Network, my parents introduced me to the likes of Doraemon, Sailor Moon, and Gundam from our local Asian video rental stores. I still vividly remember popping in those VHS tapes with starry eyes wondering to myself why cartoons on local TV didn’t look the way they did on my parent’s video rentals. Doraemon expanded my imagination on what a creative childhood could look like, Sailor Moon taught me what love was, and then there was Gundam. I watched Gundam long before I heard about Star Wars,  so battles in space for me came in the form of giant robots with laser rifles and beam sabers as opposed to star fighters and light sabers.

The point is that Anime was really fun to watch, but behind all the visual animations, their stories also communicated many life lessons and meaningful messages. They inspire people to do more and with each new story, they fuel people’s curiosities to be more imaginative and passionate. To me, it’s a driving force that reminds me each day to look at the world differently, to find unique variables that make the ordinary extraordinary.

The term Otaku was once a derogatory term used to poke fun at people who obsess about Anime, but in the modern day, the term has evolved in a way to represent people who obsess over anything that they are very passionate about. So as an Otaku of coffee, it is through the creation of Otaku Coffee Lab that I wish to tell the story of coffee through Anime. Through Anime, it is my hope that I can inspire other’s to fall in love with coffee as well. So let’s build this wonderful Anime coffee community together. A community where we can express ourselves freely and share fun filled ideas without holding back!