A Stop and Chat with BRUT’s Takumi Sakamoto

5 min readFeb 11, 2021


Some people say that the specialty coffee game is getting stale. We beg to differ–just check out the exciting and original work being done by award-winning roaster and founder of BRUT coffee, Takumi Sakamoto. Coffees delivered in sexy envelopes? Hyper-exclusive nano lots only? One unique coffee per month? That’s pretty fresh, if you ask us.

Let’s start with the obvious stuff. What is BRUT?

BRUT is a coffee roasting company specialising in rare and delicious coffees, with all coffees sold directly to the consumer online. I release one coffee a month as a “volume”, just like magazines. And once the coffee is gone, it’s gone.

I only buy coffee in small batches–typically 20 to 30 kilos of each coffee. This means that every coffee I release is sold super fresh [in terms of the green coffee as well as the roasted] and tasting at its peak.

My roasting style is a well developed light roast. I roast coffee with the filter coffee drinker in mind, as I believe it’s the best way to enjoy the nuances of origin flavours when the coffee has been perfectly roasted and brewed.

What made you decide to start the company? What was the vision?

From when I first started making coffee as a barista, my favourite part of the job was that moment when you make a really delicious coffee for a customer and you can see that they really, really appreciate it. But as a barista, it is hard to create special coffee experiences like that all the time. You’re limited by the coffees you have available and by the quality of the roasting. That’s part of why I became a roaster: as a roaster, I can learn to understand the product better.

At Deluca Coffee, I had the opportunity to roast coffee, sample roast, create profiles, and brew the coffee I was roasting. Eventually, I felt like I was ready to start my own business where I could roast what I want, how I want. When you work for a company, regardless of what your beliefs are, you are limited to the company’s style of roasting, sourcing, etc. I would receive coffee samples three to four times per year that would be like “wow, this is amazing” , but we wouldn’t buy them as they didn’t match the company’s philosophy. This gave me the idea: why not start a company whose focus is exclusively on these kind of amazing coffees?

How do you decide that a coffee is eligible to become part of the BRUT catalogue?

The concept behind BRUT is a little egoistic–basically, the coffees I select are ones that I want to share. I have tasted thousands of coffee in my career. I am hoping that if I get excited by the coffee, surely there will be enough people who would enjoy what I offer!

Specifically, I try to source coffees that score 88+. I don’t have much personal preference towards dry processed or washed processed. I like coffees that have clear flavour definition, where you can clearly taste notes like mandarin, pineapple, and blueberry, etc. Not like the usual cocoa and orange stuff.

The coffee should present classic origin character in the best possible way. I also like varieties that are rare, such as Pink Bourbon, Gesha, Java varieties etc, as well as coffees processed using newer and rarer processing techniques.

How do you find running BRUT out of a co-roasting space?

It’s amazing! Honestly, without ECRE, I couldn’t have done it. It is such a great opportunity to start a business without much capital.

It’s not just about the cost of buying a coffee roaster outright. This can be justified over 10 or 20 years. The problem is actually the place where you put the machinery, the warehouse or space that you need to pay rent and utilities on each week. Those overhead costs hurt. Co-roasting at ECRE really eliminated the capital investment at the beginning as well as the ongoing overheads.

The rise of eCommerce platforms and social media have also been a huge help. It has never been easier to reach your customers.

How do you approach roasting your coffees? They’re super expensive and you only have 20–30kg to sell, so there’s not much room for error, right?

Part of it is green selection. I often choose a lot of Gesha variety. Because they’re quite big in size and not super dense, they don’t need a lot of heat. I dislike roasting coffees that are really hard and dense because they can get a little dry and too roasty if you want to reach a certain development level. When you roast coffees that are softer beans or dry processed, the lower density means the beans are more easy to penetrate. By selecting coffees such as these, I reduce the risk of roasting the coffee in a way that makes it taste roasty.

It also really depends on the actual roaster. Once the 7kg Loring is running [at ECRE], I think I should be able to roast denser coffees with a very light roast degree.

You can check out BRUT Coffee here. And if you’re thinking about roasting your own, reach out.




ECRE. Co-roasting, coffee academy, store, and events. 👉🏻 Sydney, Australia. http://ecre.coffee