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Tokyo's Coffee Shop Reviews 2012

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by , 11th September 2012 at 09:30 PM (58502 Views)
Tokyo: nice city, shame about the coffee. This used to be a standard complaint amongst foreign residents and visitors alike, with even people who'd considered themselves permanently indisposed to Seattle's most famous coffee export being forced to seek out the 'Bucks in order to get a cup of Joe that seemed even halfway worthy of the name. And while part of the problem was down to ignorance (Café de l'Ambre has been open since 1948, for crying out loud), the good places generally took a lot of effort to find, with shops specialising in espresso drinks being particularly thin on the ground.

No more. The last few years have seen a sharp increase in the number of serious-minded coffee makers plying their trade around the capital, many of them roasting their own beans and wielding heavy-duty espresso machines. Moreover, with the odd exception, most of them actually know what they're doing. Time Out spent a few over-caffeinated weeks trawling around the city in search of Tokyo's best coffee shops, and we were impressed by how many good places we found. If we've missed your favourite, let us know via our Twitter account. And remember: drink responsibly, now.

North Tokyo

Espresso Felice Roaster
Why can't all espresso be this cheap?
The best coffee shops in Tokyo tend not to be the most conveniently located. Felice Roaster's top-class lattes and ¥200 espressos make up for the awkward location.

Review

It's a sad fact that the best coffee shops in Tokyo tend not to be the most conveniently located. So it is with Espresso Felice Roaster, which is the kind of place we'd be visiting every day were it not for the fact that it's stranded about 15 minutes' walk from Mejiro Station – great if you're a student at Japan Women's University, but rather less so for the rest of us. As the name might suggest, this Toshima-ku cafe roasts its own beans, then prepares drinks on a hulking La Marzocco espresso machine that's prominently positioned on the counter. The 2oz espresso costs just ¥200, and has a hint of blueberry in the aroma (we kid you not), though it's let down slightly by the tobacco-y aftertaste. Still: ¥200! It makes the prices charged at other places in town feel virtually criminal. The Felice latte is more impressive, though – even slurping it from a takeaway cup, we're struck by the rich aroma and silky foam, though it's probably better drunk on site, so the owner can indulge in some full-blown latte art.



West Tokyo


Bear Pond Espresso
Coffee, with attitude
If you can get past the fussy rules and occasionally truculent service, they've got the best espresso in Tokyo: a syrupy trickle that's unbelievably potent.

Review

When it first opened in 2009, Bear Pond Espresso didn't take long to acquire a reputation as Tokyo's new coffee Mecca. Housed in a former sweet shop with space for half a dozen customers, it's constantly busy, and at weekends you can expect to queue out the door. The man behind the counter is Katsu Tanaka, who learnt his art during a nearly two-decade stint in New York, during which he attended seminars and public cuppings organised by some of the main players in the US artisanal coffee scene. His espressos come as a syrupy 1oz trickle of chocolate and nut that's gone in a couple of gulps, but you'll be relishing the aftertaste for a lot longer. Just make sure you turn up before 2pm, because Tanaka won't make espressos after that, claiming that the shop gets too busy for him to do the job properly. That's just one of Bear Pond's idiosyncratic rules – there's also a strict no-photo policy – and the service can range from friendly to downright truculent, which has earned the place its fair share of detractors. If that doesn't put you off, though, the coffee is generally superb: the cafe latte and its condensed cousin, the Gibraltar, are both excellent, while the jars of iced latte are a popular option during the summer months.


Caffé Fresco
Looks can be deceptive
This unprepossessing Asagaya cafe opened eight years ago and has been getting increasingly serious about its coffee ever since. The owner pulls a mean shot.

Review

There's little to suggest from the outside that Caffé Fresco means business; even the aroma of roasting coffee beans is masked by the more assertive odours wafting from the curry shop next door. This unprepossessing cafe opened eight years ago and has been getting increasingly serious about its coffee ever since: the interior is cluttered with caffeine clobber, including a splendid bright yellow La Marzocco espresso machine. There are scones and milky drinks to placate customers in search of somewhere to idle away the afternoon, but the owner also pulls a mean shot of espresso, and is constantly varying the beans he uses, making repeat trips virtually inevitable. Very respectable lattes, too.


Lo Spazio
Your neighbourhood (Italian) bar
Think of it as a local hangout transplanted from Italy to the suburbs of Tokyo, complete with shabby decor, casual food and some seriously good coffee.

Review

Imagine a stereotypical neighborhood Italian bar transposed to the suburbs of Tokyo, and you might get something like Lo Spazio. It's one of those rare places where you can prop up the counter while sipping your espresso (or grappa, if it's got to that point in the evening), and even the slightly shabby decor is of a piece with the kind of places you might expect to find in a small town in continental Europe. Owner Haruhiro Nozaki honed his technique in Italy, and runs a barista school and seminars, while the shop manager is a trained sommelier. Lo Spazio ship their Alberto Verani beans direct from northern Italy, a point that's advertised on the menu and mugs, as well as with the prominently positioned fridge containing bags of the prized coffee (yours for just under ¥5,000 per kilo). The espressos are hard to fault, and while we could've done without the cartoon puppy etched in chocolate powder on the foam of our cappuccino, the drink itself is spot-on, starting smooth but packing a nice, lingering bitterness. The food menu puts the emphasis on hearty, casual grub, including agreeably al dente pasta and risotto.


Amameria Espresso
Let the aroma reel you in
Worth a detour to Musashi-Koyama, this intimate shop offers consistently good espresso drinks, and sells all the gear you need to make your own.

Review

There was a time when Musashi-Koyama was famous for little besides having a shopping arcade that seemed to go on forever. That arcade is still there, but we're more likely to make a detour to the area to get a quick jolt at Amameria Espresso. Opened in the summer of 2010 by certified cupping judge Toshiaki Ishii, this intimate shop – all exposed brick and cement walls, wooden floors and upright piano in one corner – roasts its own beans, and the aroma alone is likely to lure first-time customers. Coffees are prepared on a handsome Synesso machine, and the espresso is buttery with a bracing citrus tang. The Gibraltar – essentially a condensed latte served in a dinky glass – has good crema, smooth with a caramelly finish. Amameria sells its house-roasted beans, including an award-winning (and, at ¥1,800 for 200g, pricey) Nicaraguan San Antonio, and they also stock an array of coffee-making gear. The shop is non-smoking, and there's a bare-bones food menu that includes 'butter toast' and waffles.


Coffee Amp
Small and immaculately formed
It's hard to believe that Koenji managed to go for so long without a single decent coffee shop. Coffee Amp addresses that deficiency with panache.

Review

It's hard to believe that a neighborhood like Koenji managed to go for so long without having a single decent coffee shop. Coffee Amp has addressed that deficiency, and it's done it with panache. The roaster is the first thing you'll notice on entering – space is at a premium in this narrow shop, with weathered floorboards and seats for just over a dozen people, none of them especially comfortable. There's not much opportunity for dawdling at the bar: drinkers are given a simple choice of latte, mocha, espresso or regular coffee, the latter served in a cafetiere and with a choice of different beans. The latte we try packs a bitter crema with wafts of tobacco, and doesn't fizzle out into milky dregs the way that lattes do at some other places. Good sweets, too, and you can also buy beans to take home.


Nozy Coffee
The young turks
The fresh-faced kids behind the counter are barely out of university, but they're already making some of the best espressos and lattes in town.

Review

If the fresh-faced guys behind the counter look young, that's because they are: owner Masataka Nojo started the first branch of Nozy Coffee in Shonan in 2009 when he was still a university student. The shop's new incarnation is housed in a brightly lit space in Sangenjaya, just a block away from Setagaya Park. The bar is in the basement, with a roaster in the adjacent room, and there's a counter with stools on a mezzanine floor next to the entrance. The layout makes the place feel more spacious than it actually is – there are only four seats in the whole place, though there's plenty of room for people who don't mind standing. Espresso drinks are offered with a choice of single-origin beans, and the latte is served in a Bodum glass rather than a conventional cup. On the day of our visit, we're recommended the Mexican beans, which produce a drink with an agreeably bitter crema. The espressos are also very competently executed, and in a nice touch, there's a ¥250 discount if you buy some of Nozy's beans along with your drink.


Primoordine
Drive-by caffeine fix
It may look like a branch of Pronto, but don't be fooled. Espressos and cappuccinos are cheaper if you drink them at the bar – which is open 18 hours a day.

Review

The interior may look like a branch of Pronto – tackier, in fact – but Primoordine takes its coffee rather more seriously. They even run a grandiosely titled 'academy' to school newcomers in the art of pouring lattes and pulling the perfect shot, and in true Italian style, the espressos and cappuccinos are cheaper if you drink them standing at the counter. Coffee is only part of the draw here: there's a full food menu, with decent pastas and antipasti, indifferent pizzas, and a very tempting selection of desserts. Primoordine even has the sleep cycle of a neighborhood Italian bar: open in time for breakfast, and still going long after the last train has left.


Central Tokyo

Sarutahiko Coffee
The fuelling station
Ebisu's newest coffee spot serves satisfying lattes and drip brews at a location that's ideally positioned to snare office drones on their way to work.

Review

Ebisu's newest coffee spot opened in June 2011, at a location that's ideally positioned to snare office drones on their way to work. There's seating for eight people, and while most of the customers seem to be getting takeaway when we visit, the chill-out soundtrack encourages us to linger a little longer. The owner got his start in drip coffee, which is available with three varieties of bean (courtesy of Sangenjaya's Nozy Coffee). He also makes espresso drinks on a Synesso machine, and our cafe latte – made with Colombian beans on the day of our visit – packs an aroma of spice and tobacco and a satisfying, caramelly flavour. It doesn't quite merit a special trip, but if you're in the area, Sarutahiko Coffee is well worth checking out.


Paul Bassett
Like Starbucks... but good
Australian coffee king Paul Bassett's Japan empire didn't work out as planned, but his last shop still serves the best espressos and caffe lattes in Shinjuku.

Review

Australia's famous coffee prodigy won the World Barista Championship at the age of 25, but his efforts to widen his empire to Japan haven't quite gone according to plan. Following the closure of his Ginza and Jiyugaoka shops, this is now the only branch of Paul Bassett in Tokyo. It's also one of the few serious coffee places that has seating for more than a couple of dozen people: the spacious premises, which bleed into the Salvatore Cuomo restaurant next door, include numerous two-person tables and a few large shared ones, with an overhead skylight affording ample natural light. Customers pass an elaborate roaster on the way in, although the coffees can feel a little dashed-off at times. Turn up before 11am for a cheap morning set, including coffee and croissant, or after 2.30pm on weekdays (or all day at weekends) if you want the baristas to oblige you with some latte art. Though there's nothing especially distinctive about the lattes here, they're still the best we've found in Shinjuku. Cakes, including a seriously decadent banana tart, are a draw in themselves, and available in ¥600 sets after 2.30pm.


Streamer Coffee Company
Latte art goes OTT
While the free wifi and communal seating are nice touches, it's the 'extreme' latte art of Hiroshi Sawada and his crew that keeps people coming back.

Review

Latte artist Hiroshi Sawada is a celebrity on the Japanese coffee scene, so there were some fairly heightened expectations when he opened his own cafe in Shibuya in 2010. Streamer Coffee Company lives up to the hype, especially if you're a sucker for the kind of ornate foam squiggles that are Sawada's speciality. With its unfussy decor and long communal table in the centre of the room, the place might remind Western visitors of coffee shops back home – complete with free wifi. The star attraction on the menu is the Streamer Latte, served in a soup bowl-sized mug so as to give the resident artistes a large canvas. The designs are invariably exquisite – it's always tough to resist taking a photo when it arrives – though the drink itself will be too milky for some people. There's a tempting selection of cakes on the counter that seems to change each time we go; the cinnamon roll isn't all that spectacular, but the carrot cake, when they have it, is a delicious indulgence.


Omotesando Koffee
Tokyo's strangest pop-up shop?
Coffee dispensaries don't get more unusual than this one, where espressos are whipped up within a cube frame deposited inside a 60-year-old wooden house.

Review

Good luck finding this intriguing coffee shop on the backstreets of Omotesando. Owner Eiichi Kunitomo is the man responsible for other caffeine dens including the nearby Bread, Espresso &, but his latest venture is far more distinctive. He works within a cube frame that can't be much bigger than 3 x 3 metres, pulling espresso shots on a pristine La Cimbali machine. But this is a pop-up shop with a difference: it sits inside a 60-year-old traditional Japanese house. It's a slightly surreal setup, and also one that doesn't leave any space for sitting around, though there's a small courtyard outside which customers can use if the weather's good. The coffee itself is even better than what they serve at Bread, Espresso & – the macchiato got a particularly emphatic thumbs-up on our most recent visit – and you can also get dinky cakes to go with it. Cube-shaped, of course. Omotesando Koffee was originally supposed to be open for just 12 months, but a lease extension meant that it's become a slightly more permanent fixture in the neighbourhood.


Little Nap Coffee Stand
In park. Need coffee
You'll be getting your latte in a paper cup at this friendly little shop, which opened in February at a location just across the road from Yoyogi Park.

Review

You'll be getting your coffee in a paper cup at Little Nap, a friendly wee shop that opened in February 2011, just across the road from Yoyogi Park. Calling it a 'coffee stand' is an exaggeration, but only just: aside from a few token stools, this isn't really a place for lingering, though music-mad owner Daisuke will be happy to chat if you do. He roasts the beans together with a friend, and does single-origin drip coffee in addition to the espresso-based drinks, which are whipped up on a Synesso machine. The lattes are on the mellow side.


North Tokyo

Coffee Tei
Deep menu, deeply confused decor
Try not to get distracted by the decor – equal parts British pub and British tea room – and dive into a coffee menu that's the size of a small guide book.

Review

Coffee Tei has the inside appearance of a British pub combined with a British tea room, all oak beams and mock Tudor stylings. They play Mozart nonstop and serve German beer. It all feels a tad confused. As the name suggests, however, it's the coffee that the people gather for, and its been living off a strong reputation since the early '80s. There's plenty of choice, with the coffee menu alone the size of a small guide book, though this presents its own problems, of course. Thankfully, the waitress was knowledgable and helpful and ultimately steered us to a delicate cup of vintage Columbian, the beans dating from 1994, which boasted a naturally sweet tang and was a lot lighter than we had expected, having watched it being lovingly dripped for a good 10 minutes. An odd but likeable spot, all in all, a world away from the neon horrors of Ikebukuro that neighbour it.


Coffee Western Kitayama
Putting the eccentricity into coffee
They give the impression that they'd much rather have no customers at all, but if you can get through the door, the brews are superb.

Review

One of the most eccentric little places we've come across, Coffee Western Kitayama gives the impression that they'd much rather have no customers at all. We arrived there to find the front door locked and bolted, despite the open sign, and just as we were about to give up we caught the owner's eye as he scouted us from within. Once we'd convinced him that we spoke reasonable Japanese, that we'd only stay for one cup of coffee, and that we wouldn't take any photographs, we were allowed to take a seat.
Was it worth the trouble? In a word, yes. The interior is a shrine to an imaginary coffee world, done out like a western saloon but one that specializes in Joe rather than drink. Bags of beans are strewn about like sacks if gunpowder, and two or three of the twelve seats we counted are pressed up against an old barrelhouse piano. The owner went straight to work behind a tall counter, high enough that we couldn't see what he was preparing, but with amazing smells emanating from his secretive work station. The result was a blend of coffee rich in tastes; smooth at first but with a strong citrus kick in the rear. If you can get through the door, it's well worth a shot.


West Tokyo


Tocoro Cafe
Coffee + tea ceremony. Really
A minimal, uncluttered interior provides an apt setting for the unlikely – and surprisingly successful – fusion of coffee making and Sado, Japanese tea ceremony.

Review

Coffee and Japanese tea ceremony, together at last! A good 15 minutes' walk from Sangenjaya Station, Tocoro Cafe transposes the techniques of Sado to the serious art of making coffee. Order a 'yuwari', and then watch as the owner diligently scoops water from a chagama kettle into a bowl of espresso, then blends it using the distinctive chasen whisk. It seems like an unnecessary rigmarole for what's basically a fancy americano, but the resulting drink is actually rather good: crisp, with low acidity and a clean, lingering bitterness. There are also milk and soymilk lattes, plus a wonderfully refreshing yuzu drink, along with excellent sweets including a matcha cheesecake and sesame gelato. The shop itself has been furbished in a nouveau wa style by interior designers Koizumi Studio, with uncluttered plain wood surfaces and a soundtrack of chirping insect sounds (nice touch, that). It's complemented by the kind of fastidious service you'd expect from a high-end ryokan, making for a coffee shop experience that's totally unique.


Coffea Exlibris
Shimokitazawa's other coffee shop
'This is going to be different,' promises the menu, and they aren't lying. Tuck into a strong selection of single-origin coffees at this secretive Shimokitazawa spot.

Review

Mention Shimokitazawa coffee shops and most people will point you in the direction of love-it-or-loathe-it espresso haven Bear Pond. Exlibris has been around for just as long, but it's dodged the limelight by declining all media requests and imposing a blanket ban on photography inside the shop. It's odd that a place with such good coffee would prefer to keep so quiet about it, though the upside is that you won't have to queue for a seat here the way you would elsewhere. The interior has a very LOHAS feel to it, with whitewash walls, worn wooden floorboards and dainty, undersized furniture, but the drinks menu is pure seriousness. 'This is going to be different from the coffee and style of drinking you've experienced before,' it announces, in to-the-point Japanese. Although they do espresso-based drinks, the main draw is the hardcore selection of single origin coffees, which are served in a cafetiere and accompanied by an information sheet detailing the property and coffee characteristics. We pick the most expensive option, the Brazilian Grota São Pedro (¥900), which won first place in this year's Cup of Excellence competition (dubbed the 'Oscars of coffee'). It's spectacular; as it slowly cools, each sip reveals one of the myriad flavours listed on the crib sheet: lime, lemongrass, pineapple, mandarin, apple, and on and on. ¥900 might be a lot to pay for a coffee, but then this is coffee with a lot to offer.




Harmony Coffee
The intimate option
Sparsely decorated with a collection of antique coffee percolators, Harmony Coffee is as quaint as the name suggests. Meticulously prepared coffee, minimal seating.

Review

Sparsely decorated with a collection of antique coffee percolators, Harmony Coffee is as quaint as the name suggests. The shop is tiny, seating exactly seven people, though there's nothing intrusive about the service. You can expect a private hour with which to nurse your coffee, conversation free if you so choose, despite the fact that the owner is all but sitting in your lap. For coffee lovers, such intimacy is welcome. You can watch the careful presentation of your chosen poison closely (the weighing out, grinding and balancing of the beans is meticulous), and you even get to choose from a vast selection of chintzy cups. For machine-made drinks, the owner proudly cranks up an old Viva Reneka that looks like it first saw service before Elvis joined the army. The Tanzanian light bodied coffee we chose was an undemanding brew, so delicate that the flavours came like beams of morning light through threaded curtains. A strong taste of vegetation nestled in the aftertaste, a fresh herbiness that made us wish we could give up life in the rat race and become baristas. In all, a great little spot that suffers only from being so far off the beaten track, though that in itself may be a virtue of sorts.


Horiguchi Coffee
The perfect hideaway
Toshihide Horiguchi is revered on the Japanese coffee scene, but his shops are about more than beans. Grab a good book and a spare couple of hours and this place is very heaven.

Review

Dark polished woods, nooks and crannies are the order of the day at the large Horiguchi shop directly opposite Chitose Funabashi station (the small chain also boasts outlets in Komae, Setagaya and Uehara). Not nearly as anal as some of the other coffee specialists we've uncovered recently, Horiguchi specializes in a few select blends, some rather special cakes (try the peach sponge) and the kind of atmosphere that, coupled with a good book and a few spare hours, feels like a well-deserved treat. We'll be going again and again.


Cafe Obscura
Coffee for the arthouse crowd
Brush up your cultural cred at this Sangenjaya cafe, where the siphon coffee is accompanied by a well chosen library of art and design books.

Review

Siphon coffee is the speciality at this Sangenjaya cafe, which looks like the kind of space you'd expect to find attached to a gallery or arthouse cinema, complete with exposed cement ceilings and walls and a well chosen library of art and design books. There are two blend coffees ('fruit' or 'chocolate', both ¥500 and aptly titled) and a rotating selection of single-origin ones (¥600), with beans roasted – and sold – at a separate site known simply as the Laboratory. The food menu includes toasted sandwiches and chiffon cake. Bonus points for service that manages to be attentive without ever feeling overbearing.


Cafe Facon
Would you like a sandwich with that?
The Francophone trappings are a distraction, but the blends and single origin coffees are délicieuses – especially with a sandwich or hunk of cake.

Review

Reputed to be one of Nakameguro's top coffee spots, Cafe Facon appears to be angling for a more mature crowd. It's pocked with Parisian references, including a small library of Francophone books and a grotesque faux-naive painting of cherubs frolicking around the Eiffel Tower. More confusing still are the wooden ornaments that resemble nothing so much as dreamcatchers – but iffy decor aside, Facon clearly means business. The shop roasts its own beans, offering four blends and a selection of single-origin coffees, plus a few milky variations and a variety of teas. If you're feeling peckish, the best bet is to order a cake or sandwich set – the latter being substantial enough to satisfy the lunch crowd. We order a cup of Facon blend coffee – a little on the acidic side, though with a relatively sweet aftertaste – which outclasses the flabby omelette sandwich that we get to go with it.


Mocha Coffee
The hardcore option
Owner Hussein Ahmed imports beans from his native Yemen, and his cafe doesn't sell coffee from anywhere else. Expect some robust, explosive flavours.

Review

Just around the corner from Daikanyama's famously refined Sarugaku Coffee, newcomer Mocha Coffee offers a rather more in-your-face alternative. Owner Hussein Ahmed imports beans from his native Yemen, and his cafe – which he runs together with his Japanese wife – doesn't sell coffee from anywhere else. The shop occupies a narrow, glass-sided space that feels like a glorified greenhouse, with a counter flanked by a few tables. There are four varieties of Yemen mocha coffee on offer: Ibbi, Ismaili, Anisi and Ibbi Mt. Somarah (the latter cultivated at an elevation of 2,800 metres, and costing a princely ¥1,200 per cup). We order a cup of Ismaili, said to be the most traditional of Yemeni coffees, and it's a punchy brew, bursting with fruity and winey flavours. Other drinks feel wimpy compared to this stuff.


Sarugaku Coffee
Tokyo's favourite, apparently
So popular that it even comes with a decoy coffee shop, Sarugaku actually lives up to the hype. Perfect if you prefer to drink your Joe like a fine wine.

Review

When the users of obscenely popular restaurant review site Tabelog have pronounced you the best coffee shop in the whole of Tokyo, you can probably count on having a few customers. Sarugaku Coffee has dealt with success in an interesting fashion: it essentially comes with its own decoy shop. Follow the sign for Caffe Foglio down into the basement, then keep going and take the door at the end of the corridor instead. You'll be inducted into a warren of wooden beams and antiques, dimly lit by small lanterns, with records and faded photos pinned to the walls. Sarugaku is arranged in such a way that almost every table in the house feels secluded, leaving you to concentrate on the serious act of drinking Joe. (Unlike some other shops around town, conversation isn't frowned upon here, though the setting lends itself to hushed tones.) The coffee is prepared drip-style and served black as standard, with a choice of regular, bitter or strong, all priced at a flat ¥600. There's no faffing around with long lists of single-origin beans, and if you want milk or sugar, you'll need to order a separate drink. That's dedication. Our regular coffee takes an age to arrive, but when it does, it's so exquisitely well balanced that we drink it the way you would a good wine, taking deep sniffs before each mouthful. We can't resist ordering an accompanying dessert – they're only ¥200 – and the rare cheesecake is a nice complement, if a little gelatinous.


Central Tokyo


Café de l'Ambre
Vintage shop, vintage beans
'Coffee Only' reads the sign outside this bustling shop, which has been keeping the Ginza hordes well caffeinated since 1948. Unpretentious, with aged beans aplenty.

Review

'Coffee Only' reads the sign outside Café de l'Ambre, which has been keeping the Ginza hordes well caffeinated since 1948. Remarkably, it's still run by the same man – Ichiro Sekiguchi, now just a few years shy of his 100th birthday – though he's entrusted some younger tykes to handle the day-to-day running of the place. Though they treat their coffee with the utmost seriousness, this isn't one of those fussy, killjoy coffee temples where conversation has to be conducted in furtive whispers and customers need a secret handshake to get through the door (we exaggerate, but only slightly). On a recent weekday afternoon visit, it was packed and only marginally less raucous than an average izakaya, with all of the tables taken and only a couple of vacant seats at the bar. The interior looks like it was last remodeled in the early '80s, although some of the equipment is clearly much older, and it's also the only coffee shop we've visited that has a washing machine behind the counter, on account of the cloth filters used when preparing drinks. Take your pick between a lone blend coffee and 30-odd single origin varieties, including a good number of aged coffees. The air of accessibility extends to English-language menus, and practically demands that you order something odd: we end up plumping for an 18-year-old Brazilian Bourbon variety that's downright intense.


Guild Coffee
Drive-by caffeine fix (again)
With seating for just four people, they're clearly aiming more at the takeaway crowd, and the coffee is a steal if you're ordering it to go.

Review

Coffee roaster Yasutaka Hisamitsu ran the oddly named Dun Aroma shop in Toritsu-Daigaku for over a decade before opening this dinky sister outlet in Kagurazaka in late 2010. There's jazz wafting off the record player, but the interior at Guild is a riot of conflicting influences, somewhere between an old-fashioned coffee house and a theme park dungeon. With seating for just four people, they're clearly aiming more at the takeaway crowd, and while the coffee is worth the ¥600-700 you'll pay to drink in, it's a steal if you're taking out: ¥250 for the coffee of the day, and ¥350 for other drinks on the menu. There's a choice of four blends and a dozen-odd single origin coffees, prepared drip-style and available regular, strong or demitasse. We opt for the Dark 240°C Blend, which is rich but not overbearingly so, the chocolates offset by a citrus tang. Coffee beans are also available to buy, and the prices aren't exorbitant.

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Comments

  1. HarryM's Avatar
    here's a few more Coffee Shops in Japan to visit:
    http://www.hottopowners.co.uk/conten...Shops-In-Japan


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