Gozan no Okuribi fire festival inspires new line of gourmet coffee.

Kyoto is a beautiful city no matter when you visit, but Japan’s former capital sports an especially dynamic look one night each summer. As part of the Obon celebration, in which your ancestors’ spirits are said to return home to visit the rest of the family, huge fires are lit on five of the mountains that border Kyoto, in the shape of kanji characters or auspicious drawings.

Called Gozan no Okuribi, the practice has been carried out for centuries, and Kyoto coffee company World Coffee is offering a unique beverage-based way to connect to this part of Japanese culture. Through a crowd-funding website Makuake, World Coffee is offering a new line of five different coffee blends, named after the mountains/characters used for the bonfires each year.

▼ Package for the Nyoigatake Dai (“Big”) kanji coffee

The various coffees have varying strengths and flavor balances, but what really makes them special is that they’re roasted with the very same charcoal the Gozan no Okuribi artists use for their mountainside fire layouts.

World Coffee has obtained a supply of charcoal from the Gozan no Okuribi ceremony organizers, and it’s also returning the favor, as it plans to donate a portion of the money raised in the crowdfunding campaign back to the Gozan no Okuribi organizers to help cover the costs of keeping the tradition going into the future.

Reward tiers for a five-blend set (100 grams [3.5 ounces] of each) start at 5,000 yen (US$46), and the Kyoto Gozan Okuribi Coffee campaign page can be found here.

Source, images: Makuake/株式会社ワールドコーヒー
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