Interview with Ryoya Takashima

by Simone Forgia, Claudio Santoro
Interview with Ryoya Takashima

Hi Ryoya, before starting with the interview, can you tell us who you are in your opinion and if the "real" Ryoya is the same as the Ryoya your YouTube followers know?

I’m Ryoya Takashima, I was born and raised in Japan. I’d say I’m just a typical guy who just loves authentic stuff and creating things, especially food, photography, videography and furniture. I am calm, relaxed, enthusiastic and quite active. My followers might think that I am a gourmet or a foodie since I make cooking videos but I always try to make simple foods. I never make complicated foods at home, except for coffee, of course.

What is Peaceful Cuisine and why did you decide to start this project? 

Initially, Peaceful Cuisine was just a blog where I posted vegan recipes I created with photos and my lifestyle which I think is good for our health, all creatures and the environment. In 2010, YouTube wasn’t a thing at that time but I strongly felt that sharing a video would be getting more and more popular and also no one was making high quality vegan recipe videos so I decided to give it a shot.

What are the contents that are usually more appreciated on your channel and why?

Lots of people watch my videos for different reasons so I actually don’t know which content is more appreciated or popular. Some people watch my cooking videos just for relaxing and even when they sleep, they just listen to the sounds of me cooking and I get so many comments and messages that they say it helps them to fall asleep or reduce anxiety which makes me really surprised because I really didn’t expect people to use my videos in such a way.

When / how did your passion for coffee trigger?

When I was 20, I lived in Australia for one year. Australia has an amazing coffee culture and I worked at a café in Bondi beach. As a consequence of working in there as a barista, I used to drink about 3~4 cups of coffee a day at a beautiful beach, so I was feeling very lucky and then, there was just no way I couldn't enjoy coffee more.

Soon after I left Australia, I traveled through Italy and although I don’t remember in which city it happened but, I saw a shiny cool machine being displayed in front of a cooking tools shop: it was a La Pavoni. I instantly fell in love with that machine and decided to get one as soon as I had enough money.

Is there something about coffee that makes you speechless every time?

When I succeed to brew my coffee with the perfect aroma and flavors. I do roast my own coffee, so it is very hard to achieve everything right. Which coffee beans to use, how fine or coarse I should grind them, how hot the temperature of the water, how long should I preinfuse. Then when I make a latte, which milk I use, what ratio works best, etc. There’re so many things that I have to consider, but it’s always so much fun to make coffee. 

Your videos are watched by millions of people and can indeed influence their choices; do you feel this responsibility when working on a project?

I don’t feel any responsibility when I post something on YouTube. Deciding what to get, what to choose and what to buy are completely their choices not mine. I just show what I use, what I choose and what I love.

What are the comments that struck you the most about your coffee-based videos? 

Well, …Italians really hates americano!

Behind the scenes of Ryoya Takashima recording a video

Behind the scenes of Ryoya recording a video

What is in your opinion the vegan dessert that accompanies the espresso at best? And is there a good cake recipe based on coffee?

In my opinion, dark chocolate works best with espresso. The combination of coffee and cocoa is definitely something that leaves me speechless every time. It’s not a cake but I love espresso ice cream.

The name "Peaceful Cuisine" implicitly reminds us of the reasons why many people choose a lever machine: the absence of a noisy pump. Was this reason the same for you in choosing such a machine?

I guess, it’s not. The reason why I chose the name Peaceful Cuisine is that people should know how the foods you choose affects the environment, all creatures and your health. If you choose the better foods considering all those things, our world will be a better place. In addition, I love machines, and I also do love “manual things” where the full control is up to the user. This also applies to the very first car I bought in my life: it was a Mazda MX-5 MT6. Basically, I want to control as many things as I can by using my body. I just want to feel it.

What is your espresso dream machine? What do you exactly like about it?

Slayer Espresso or Manument Leva. I love the design of both machines, just beautiful.

In Japan, the handcrafting tradition is very renowned in many different fields, does this also apply to coffee?

I think so. Japan has a really long history of hand-drip coffee. Kalita is one of the most famous coffee equipment companies in Japan.

What is your opinion about the coffee that is usually drunk in Japan? Is there any coffee culture developing or is it still not studied and only brewed in the old-fashioned way without much knowledge about the process?

I think most consumers don’t have a deep knowledge but I feel that coffee is getting popular, or I’d say trending these days, so, many people are keen to know more about coffee. Still, Japan’s population is about 130 million, so there are all kinds of people who loves different styles. Some people like to drink espresso while others only brew pour over coffee. I really can’t tell which is more popular, but I’m sure both espresso and pour over being served in Japan are cutting edge and absolutely delicious.

If you could start from scratch again, what would you change in your professional life?

I never regret what I have done in my life, so I’m quite satisfied with the pathway I took. I always try to enjoy the present right here right now.

In conclusion, how do you think your work will evolve in 10 to 20 years?

To be honest, I have no idea even what I will be doing next year. 10 to 20 years from now? I can’t even imagine. But one thing I’m certain of is that I will be enjoying my life as much as I can. That’s for sure.