Walking into Leytons Coffee Roaster is akin to entering a lab. Not some trendy, lab themed coffee shop but a place where coffee is created around you. Leytons is a small shop. Seven to ten people would max out the seating capacity. Amidst the bags, boxes, and tubes of coffee beans that adorn the seating area, the space is charmed by the warmth of the owner and the variety of his clientele.
There are no employees; only Kenshi Inoue, the owner himself. He is roaster, brewer, and server. Of course, his path to operating a coffee shop was a little different than most.
Born in Fukuoka, Japan, Kenshi moved to New York after studying Ocean Biology at National Fishery University in Yamaguchi. After living in New York for two months, Kenshi moved to London to study English. That’s where he met the woman, also a Japanese national studying English, he would later marry.
Having learned English, Kenshi moved to Shanghai to take on the Chinese language. After a year in China, he decided to return to Japan and study coffee. He studied at the Baha Coffee School, in Tokyo, for one and a half years.
At the conclusion of his studies, he decided to return to Fukuoka and open his own shop. He married in February of 2011, had his first child that July, and opened Leytons Coffee Roaster in November. At last count, Kenshi has travelled to sixty-five countries spanning six continents, and it shows. The coffee beans sit in containers adorned by the flag which corresponds to their nationality. They come from China, Ethiopia, Panama, and at least thirteen other countries. The Ethiopian bean is the most popular with customers and one of his personal favorites.
Kenshi prefers to do a light roast but he differs the roast level depending on the coffee bean. Books about his interest: travel, ocean biology, and art, further decorate the small shop. He opened his store in Ohashi because he wanted to be away from the hustle and bustle of Tenjin and Hakata.
Although most of his customers are locals, Leytons Coffee Roaster draws an eclectic group of customers who share his passion for international travel. Regulars include neighboring shop owners, international businessmen, and even a professional stuntman.
Leytons’ offers a variety of coffee classics, like the americano, the cappuccino, and iced coffee (to name a few). He also offers vanilla ice cream in a double espresso. If you just need some expertly roasted beans, you can buy those as well… roasted to order, as always.
Menu: French press hot/iced: ¥400, latte hot/iced: ¥450, cappuccino hot/iced: ¥450, affogato (vanilla ice-cream in espresso): single ¥550, double ¥650
Leytons Coffee Roaster
• Open: 11:00~19:00
• Closed: Every Wed. and the 1st and 3rd Thu.
• Address: 1-22-12 Ohashi, Minami-ku, Fukuoka
• Phone: 092-408-9377
Report and photos for Fukuoka Now by Nathan Spencer (May 2017)