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Ningin Shoten (Miyako Island) is a Coffee Shop Perched on a Hilltop Offering House-Roasted Coffee & Homemade Donuts Made from Shima-Tofu Okara
post : 2018.12.27 06:00
Ningin Shoten. This uniquely named coffee shop opened its doors on Saturday, October 29 in Miyakojima. In the local Miyako Island language, Ningin means people. The owner is Teruyuki Takaesu, a warm and friendly man who is definitely a people-person. At the shop, you can enjoy fresh hand-dripped coffee from beans he roasts and grinds in front of your eyes upon order.
The three varieties of coffee beans he has waiting for you are Ethiopian, Columbian, and Tanzanian. The Ethiopian beans are roasted medium, the Columbian is dark roasted, and the Tanzanian beans are also dark roasted for café au lait.
I also recommend their donuts to accompany your awesome coffee. The homemade donuts are prepared with Okara or soy pulp from local Shima Tofu. They also have homemade beverages made with organic shikwasa, lemon, and other fruits from Miyako Island. They’re sweetened with honey collected from honeybees tended by Teruyuki’s father-in-law. I can’t wait to taste their juices when I go again.
After working in the publishing field on Okinawa Island for ten years, Teruyuki decided to return to his home island of Miyako at the age of 30. He met his wife, Yukiko, who had also decided to return to Miyako after her time in Tokyo as a percussionist. They soon married, and Teruyuki began to draw, encouraged by Yukiko. His illustrations have a strong following of people who were fortunate enough to come across them. As he worked as a social worker to bridge children with developmental challenges and their schools, he found himself getting pulled into the world of coffee.
He encountered a cup of coffee that got him hooked at Moja-no Panya, a coffee shop popular among the locals on Miyako Island. He looks back at his starting point with a smile and says, “To this day, I still remember the amazement when I took a sip of their coffee. They used a manual roaster to dark roast their beans. I was instantly hooked. I bought myself a hand-turning roaster and began roasting my own beans in the early morning hours every weekend.”
“I wanted to bring joy to many people by preparing a cup of coffee for them, every day. To bring moments in their days that pass by nonchalantly to get back to themselves, to talk about art and music, or to just gaze off in the distance with a nice cup of coffee. It would be great to make this a place for locals and visitors to our island to connect. I began to think that I wanted to pursue this path and continue to learn more until I become an Oji (grandpa),” he says. Again, with the encouragement from his wife, Yukiko, it didn’t take long for him to decide to open a coffee shop.
The coffee he prepared for me was gentle and kind, just the right touch of bitterness, acidity, and sweetness in flavor. When I visited Ningin Shoten which is perched upon a small hill, a comfortable melody was floating in the breeze, music by the group that Yukiko used to play with. That afternoon, seeing the gentle sunlight pouring into the garden of their home, and the chime of children’s voices from the park across the street, I felt a sense of happiness that gently embraced me.
Teruyuki says he grew up seeing his father, who ran a guest home and also went out to sea almost every day to fish. His father taught him about living life how you choose to. That’s one of the reasons, he says, that made him decide to open his coffee shop, Ningin Shoten. Teruyuki, who’s a little shy, says he hopes his shop will be a place for people to feel happy and comfortable being themselves. At his coffee shop I felt very comfortable indeed, and also felt the passion and warmth of Teruyuki’s intentions.
Address: 887-1 Kugai, Hirara, Miyakojima City, Okinawa
Business Hours: 11:00-17:00
Closed: Sundays & Mondays
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Nobuya Fukuda