I had only heard good things about the speciality coffee scene in Japan, and they were right. I didn’t get to visit as many coffee spots as I wanted to, but here’s a brief guide to places you must check out if you’re a coffee lover like myself.
About Life Coffee Brewer
1-19-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku – Shibuya Station
Admittedly I’d been following these guys on Instagram for a long time. I knew they were based in Tokyo but didn’t realise they would be in such easy reach for me. Hands down this cold brew I had was thee best cold brew I’ve ever had – floral, zingy yet mellow – London I now challenge you!
These guys are set in a tiny little spot which has some seating in doors, but its mainly a place you gather outside for a chat, sip your coffee then take it away. I loved the simplicity of the place. I was there for about an hour sitting outside having a break from the long walks around Shibuya, and I saw so many local customers grabbing a brew and hanging out – it had a great vibe and I miss this place already.
Blue Bottle Coffee
3-13-14 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku – Ometo-Sando Station
Blue Bottle Coffee started in California by James Freeman – I had been wanting to try it for ages, so much so that I would drool over their daily Instagram posts (hello 2016). I sought out to find their branch in Aoyama. This area is great generally to visit, it has a real Shoreditch vibe with fashionable clothing stores, speciality coffee and food pop-ups.
The cafe was a little hard to find, just keep an eye out for the famous Blue Bottle logo. Once you see the logo on a wooden board, head up the stairs to the cafe.
I ordered a cascara fizz as it was ridiculously humid this time of year. It was fresh, crisp and floral. I also loved their big ice bucket full of take-away cold brews in old skool style milk cartons.
There was always someone at the bean stand ready to help. I got myself some Kenyan beans to take home which were beautiful when brewed in the Aeropress with citrus notes and an all round ‘twang’ to it (my brother hassles me about this not being a word, but every coffee person I speak to always knows what I mean when I say it).
I didn’t feel alone in the trendy hipster part of Tokyo where everyone also liked to photograph anything that was going to go past their lips.
As I mentioned, this area is great generally to walk around down narrow cobbled streets to all sorts of independent shops.
3-13 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku- Ometo-Sando Station (down the street from Blue Bottle)
For prettiness alone, this cafe is totally worth a visit. Shozo Coffee is originally from Tochigi Prefecture and is located just down the street from Blue Bottle. You can sit in this picturesque Japanese wooden hut sipping a fantastic pour over accompanied by one of their well known scones.
Streamer Coffee Company
1 Chome-20-28 Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0002 – Ometo-Sando Station
Streamer Coffee is owned by latte artist Hiroshi Sawada. It has a very chilled and cozy interior with a choice of sofas, stools and tables to sit at. Their roast is a little darker than what I’d usually go for.
If they still do this, then try their iced coffee with white chocolate and mango. I know what you’re thinking….’err no I don’t want some posh version of a Starbucks cocktail’ – but it was actually weirdly amazing. You don’t expect these three flavours to work, but they do.
The Roastary by Nozy Coffee
5_17_13 Jingumae, Shibuya 150-0001 – Ometo-Sando Station
The atmosphere in this place is great, as you walk to the back you can watch the guys roasting the beans, I obviously got carried away and bought a few bags to take home.The centre island is the impressive coffee station where the baristas craft a brew for you.
[These were the few coffee places I enjoyed most and recommend, however there were still many more I didn’t get to visit. Check out the other Tokyo posts for more food, cake and coffee]
© Amelia Hallsworth – Photography, Coffee, Food & Recipes 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Amelia Hallsworth – Photography, Coffee, Food & Recipes with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.