Good afternoon from a slightly overcast Tokyo!
It’s now week 7 of being in Japan, and I’ve been missing a few things from home. Mainly random foods, my local neighbourhood cats, and British humour. But most of all I miss my home brewed coffee!
I own up to being a coffee snob and a caffeine addict. On a typical day I drink two cups of black coffee in the morning, and one in the afternoon. First I pop the kettle on, measure out 20g of beans (usually from the excellent Pact Coffee or my local coffee shop Dark Habit), grind it in my Wilfa Svart electic grinder, and then depending on my mood make an aeropress, paper filter, or cafetière coffee.
Here in Tokyo I should be very grateful to have a Nespresso machine: the coffee isn’t bad, but it cuts out the morning ritual. There’s something about going through the process that makes the final product more meaningful. Perhaps this is why I enjoy spinning wool…
In any case, I have been sniffing out local coffee shops over the last month or so and want to share my top ten:
At number 10: Cafe Landtmann, Omotesando. It’s not really fair to put this amongst the others as they specialise less on the coffee itself and more on fun creations. If you like a milky coffee, ice coffee, sweet coffee or boozy coffee, it’s worth a visit.
9: Coffee and Cake “Shu”, Omotesando. A very old-style European vibe, and I love a place that does a Chemex, and their seasonal Columbian coffee was decent, if overpriced.
8: Ueshima Coffee, Aoyama Dori. Their ‘Nel drip coffee’ is great if you like a dark roast. For me it got on this list because their taster packs are excellent for nice coffee at home!
7: Il Primario, Omotesando. This is the cafe attached to Kinokuniya, a world foods store, and the coffee (again a washed Ethiopian bean) was delicious. The location isn’t so great but it’s good for a quick coffee on the go.
6: Island Vintage Coffee, Omotesando. Their Hawaian Kona Coffee takes 7 minutes, but if you have time to kill in the area it’s a lovely cup with depth of flavour that balances sweetness and acidity.
5: TOM’s cafe, Yoyogi. This was a lucky find – from the outside it looks like a dusty antique shop that isn’t open. Inside, it’s got a cozy yet slightly worn-out look, and is very dark. You can choose either a ‘soft’ or ‘strong’ coffee, both were quite a dark roast but very good and very reasonable for the quality.
4: @Kitchen AOYAMA Cafe × HARIO CAFE & Lampwork Factory, Aoyama Dori. Yes it’s a long name and the only reason I remember it is because I walk past it every day on my walk. Their pour-over coffee was excellent.
3: The Roastery by Nozy Coffee, Cat Street. First of all, this is a great little side street to know with an excellent takoyaki stand and fried bread stand. Their coffee was excellent every time I went, especially the Ethiopian beans which I was blown away by. So much choice too!
2: Kitasando Coffee, Sendagaya. A beautiful minimalist cafe that did a truly fantastic pour-over coffee. The washed Ethiopian beans ‘Refisa’ was delicious, well balanced, and together with the outdoor seating just a wonderful moment of calm. It’s a cashless cafe.
And finally, the number 1 spot goes to: Miyashita Cafe, Shibuya. Located in the brand new Miyashita Park, this is the crowning cafe of all the cafes thus far. The Chemex, with Guatemalan beans, was possibly the best Chemex I’ve had. I brought home their ‘Rico’ blend beans, which they ground for me, and that has been the best coffee I’ve been able to brew here in Tokyo thus far.
So, if you ever travel to Tokyo in future, I hope some of these cafes will still be around and thriving.