In between Tokyo’s mile-high skyscrapers, a million passengers pass through every day without recognising each other. This extremely fast pace slows down in coffee shops, the smaller the better. A coffee shop with no more than three stools doesn’t invite you for lingering but rather for a short personal experience. Facing a barista and a fellow caffeine-thirsty customer surely loosens up the atmosphere and leaves you randomly chatting about what brings you here.
This time I am settling down in tiny coffee shops with serious-minded coffee makers.
COFFEE AND ICE CREAM | Little Nap Coffee Stand
On the back side of Yoyogi park, Little Nap Coffee Stand is not easy to find but people make their way to this side of Tokyo just to sip its coffee. Having featured in many publications, this coffee shop is a popular destination for tourists, both Japanese and foreigners. Little Nap Coffee Stand is run by Daisuke Hamada and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that he is one of the most recognised baristas in Tokyo. Hamada is involved in every aspect of running a coffee shop – from roasting beans, free pouring lattes to baking cakes and serving generous scoops of ice cream. This cafe is most famous for its espresso-based drinks with their own mellow and earthy coffee blend but a filter is also available with single-origin coffee beans.
FRESH ROAST | Switch Coffee
Switch Coffee is a local coffee spot in between residential streets near Meguro river, hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the main street-life. Pure dedication to roasting coffee to perfection has made Switch a pilgrimage for fellow baristas. Owner Onishi has learned his craft in Australia, a country which is famous for the outstanding coffee scene. Every day he experiments with the impressive Probat roaster, producing different single origin roasts. A barista prepares coffee jugs of each brew every morning that are available for sampling. Switch brewed coffee can be enjoyed hot, warm or cold – either way, it tastes exceptional.
1 Chome-17-23 Meguro, (map) Tokyo, Japan http://www.switchcoffeetokyo.com/
BIKE-FRIENDLY PICK UP | About Life Coffee Roasters
If I had to describe About Life Coffee Roasters in one word it would be a variety. But only a well-thought selection of variety. A tiny stand offers a variety of beans, sourced from roasters all over the city, such as Onibus, Switch Coffee and Amameria Espresso. It also often hosts a variety of guest baristas that highlights the rise of Third Wave coffee movement in Japan. And then, there is a variety of drinks available, from espresso to filter to suit everyone’s taste palate – both of high-quality. A brainchild of Sakao Atsushi, About Life Coffee Roasters showcases how collaboration between roasters, baristas and customers in such a small space can produce a world–renowned cup of coffee.