For the past few months, I had been buying coffee beans from the Starbucks in Okinawa City, but since that means a 30-minute drive from where I live, I decided to local shops that roast their own. I live in Onna, so no matter where I buy them, I will have to drive a while to get there. Of the shops I found, one is here in Onna - Sansui Coffee in Yamada.
The shop is off of Route 6 in Yamada, but it is really easy to miss. Use your car navigation system or a smart phone.
Like other local roasters, they have a display of green coffee beans arranged near the entrance, but behind them are the bulk roasters visible behind a window. They only do large batches, but they roast almost daily, so no matter when you visit, there should be something fresh and waiting.
Though Sansui has other shops and is sold here all over Okinawa, this is the headquarters where they roast the beans. The owner is a generous and friendly native of Okinawa who has been roasting coffee for over 20 years. She helped me choose by offering single bean samples to crunch and taste. I took a Kilimanjaro dark roast that the owner said had been done just that day. The beans were still warm.
The moment I got home, I ground the beans and tried it out. At 1.5 minutes in a French press, it was crisp and dark… clean with good body. At 3 minutes in the press it was thick and heavy, almost overwhelming, but not sour or overly bitter.
This coffee is more than worth a trip to Yamada and navigating the narrow road and tiny parking lot. Good people, good coffee, and the price per gram for most of their coffee is the same or less than I was paying at Starbucks, so consider this a guilt-free luxury. Another good thing about Sansui is that their member' s point cards do not expire, so you can slowly build up points to get free coffee.
239 Yamada, Onna-son, Okinawa 904-0416