⟨ Misc ⟩

To collect the traces

Horizon Labo

Words / Jas Tse
Translation / Iris Heung

「咖啡豆對我來說,就像一個宇宙般深奧。」

大自然、城鎮街道、木的紋理、各種對生活的感知,都變成他的咖啡豆的味道。他烘焙的豆子每個月都有新的主題,像是「聲音帶來的世界」、「痕跡」、「焦香與甜蜜的起伏」等。店子位於日本群馬縣桐生市內的山間,是在家上層的小房子,由爸爸改建而成。環繞的落地大窗戶能眺望整個小鎮,店外是大片叢林,他有空便會在那邊散步,摸摸老樹斑白的皮、鏽色的鐵牌、聽聽自然的嘹亮。

「我想蒐集那些感覺。」

“To me, coffee beans are as complicated as the formation of the universe.”

Nature, urban landscapes, wood grain, the perception of life, these elements together complete the taste of Iwano Hibiki’s coffee beans. Every month, Hibiki picks a new theme for the beans he roasts. Some of the themes that he came up with before include “The world of sound”, “Traces”, and “The ups and downs of the roasted aroma and sweetness”. Right above his flat in the mountains of Kiryū, a Japanese city in Gunma Prefecture, is his coffee roaster. This is an additional story to his house that Hibiki’s father built for him. Outside of the window wall of his shop is a grand view of the entire town. One of Hibiki’s habits is to take a stroll in the woodland near his shop; he enjoys touching the half-dried greyish tree bark, the rustic steel signage while listening to the sound of nature.

“I would like to collect all these feelings.”

Iwano Hibiki因患上亞氏保加症而有段時間輟學​在家,這段期間他會為家人做飯,父母發覺原來他對食物香氣與味道都很敏感。有次他想要煮出味道獨特的咖哩便嘗試將咖啡加進去,結果卻意外地美味。而咖啡,早在他還是小學生的時候就懂得它的滋味。小學五年級時他會一個人拿著零錢去喫茶店,他喜歡微醺的光線與慢條斯理的氛圍,喝的便是黑咖啡,那時的喜好已有著早來了的大人味啊。

他先後有過兩位師傅,分別是桐生市著名咖啡烘焙師「伊東屋珈琲」的古谷哲成,傳授了他淺烘的知識。後來隨東京「大坊珈琲店」的大坊勝次學習深烘。也是大坊先生讓他追求一種「甘い苦味」的狀態,苦中而有甘甜。

Iwano Hibiki took a leave of absence from school after being diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. During his absence from school, Hibiki would spend time preparing food for his family. This was when his parents realized how strong his sense is towards the aroma and taste of food. One time when preparing curry, Hibiki had a particular taste in his mind that he really wanted to achieve. There he added coffee into the curry, which turned out surprisingly tasty. Coffee is, in fact, the taste that he has learned to appreciate as early as in elementary school. Hibiki, in his fifth grade, would use his pocket money to get himself a black coffee at the dimly lit cafes. Before growing into an adult, he already knew to adore the laid-back vibe and the bitter taste.

Hibiki has been trained by two master coffee roasters. While Orimasa Furuya of Itoya Coffee in Kiryu taught him the skill of light roasting, Katsuji Daibo of Daibo Coffee in Tokyo trained him with the technique of deep roasting. It was also through Daibo that Hibiki got to understand the beauty of the blend of sweetness and bitterness.

2017年春天,在他15歲的時候正式開了店,專門烘焙咖啡豆的店子。不賣咖啡,只賣豆子。名字叫Horizon Labo。那個「Horizon」,出現在某趟家族旅行中。他們在泰國乘船出海,中途看見了無邊無際的海平線,身體隨著海面的搖動,那恍惚間他好像明白了,「和其他人不一樣也沒什麼不可以的吧。」這條海平線就是那條海平線了,labo則意味著這裡是他尋找自己的實驗室。

某個冬天,他為那個月的豆子寫下了這樣的駐腳:
冷冷的/圓潤的/轉眼即逝的/如煙/如飴糖的光
淡淡的、這是我關於冬天的回憶
甜、苦、酸,也在一體
希望你也能感受到這樣的味道和香氣

In spring 2017, Hibiki opened his shop at the age of 15. It is a roaster that only sells coffee beans without serving coffee. The name Horizon Labo was inspired by Hibiki’s family trip to Thailand. Sailing on a boat, looking at the infinite horizon, he suddenly realized that it is completely fine to be different from others. Horizon Labo is the laboratory that allows him to explore his own infinite horizon.

On a winter day, he wrote a remark of the beans he roasted that month.
They are cold, round and temporary,
Like the smokey and sweet light.
My winter memory is so subtle.
A brew of sweetness, bitterness, and sourness;
I wish you could share with me this taste and aroma.