All posts tagged: specialty coffee

Away from Tokyo – Kuroiso Guide

One of my favourite finds is a small town in Tochigi prefecture – Kuroiso. It is connected to Tokyo via local Tokaido/Utsunomiya line (takes about 3 hours) or it can be easily reached via Tohoku Hokkaido Shinkansen in 1,5 hours (change at Nasushiobara). Even some Tokyo neighbourhoods would be the envy of this compact town which is brimming with young energy, coffee shops, top-notch bakeries, concept stores offering a wide selection of local and international fashion items, antique stores and design-minded community.

You might have come across Butter no Itoko succulent waffles in Tokyo or elsewhere that are usually sold out in their pop-ups as soon as they’re open; this Kuroiso-based business is one of the best examples of this area’s potential. I travelled to this town a couple of times, befriended some residents and shop owners and even seriously thought of moving there (affordable house prices are also a big plus). If you happen to hop on the train towards north, this secluded town should definitely be on your radar (before the tourist crowd flocks here).

Charmingly Retro Cafés in Portugal

You don’t have to go far to find vintage hotspots while in Portugal. Lisbon is a perfect example of timeless Portuguese charm. Just strolling along the narrow cobbled streets in the Old Quarter is a feast for the eyes. Make sure to get on wooden trams or iron funiculars in bold yellow that go up and down the city’s many hills – they are over 100 years old and possibly the most picturesque in Europe. Take tram no. 28 to Alfama and find yourself in a nostalgic village within a city with streets surrounded by brightly painted houses, azure tiles and tangled stairways. While travelling to Lisbon and Porto, I had a quest to find coffee shops with hipster retro-design and nostalgic atmosphere.

London Coffee Festival with Shinsaku Fukayama

Londoners had a chance to get over-caffeinated once again in the annual London Coffee Festival which is the largest of its kind in the world. It celebrates coffee culture by gathering the best baristas and hosting coffee shops from all around the Europe under one roof. The festival invites customers to learn about the basics of cupping, how to roast, brew at home or pour a beautiful latte art. It has also featured major demonstrations from world-class baristas and latte art masterclasses. Coming all the way from Australia, Shinsaku “Shin” Fukayama is one of the most anticipated guests in this year’s London Coffee Festival. His journey in coffee industry has started four years ago in St Ali, one of the most famous specialty coffee shops in Australia, and by now he is known as a World Latte Art Champion. Shin rushed to London straight after Australian Latte Art Championship where he took the second place. In Latte Art Live shows, Shin amazed crowds by free-pouring his original latte designs – a monkey, an astronaut and …

Tiny Wonders of Coffee in Tokyo

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 …

Kreuzberg’s gem – Companion Coffee

Third wave coffee companies over the last decade have been occupying mixed-use spaces, ranging from barbershops to libraries. That way specialty coffee has become in the centre of community, finding its home in unexpected locations. Companion Coffee, brought by Shawn Barber and Chris Onton, settled in East Central part of Berlin and operates in association with trendy clothing boutique, known as ‘Voo Store’. It is a tiny space for a coffee shop. However, as the café space is extended with a spacious concept store, it creates different types of casual seating. Some sipping coffee on stairs, some sitting on stools, others reading magazines at the concrete tables. There are a few natural layers and all of them present different perspectives and different experiences. The walls and ceiling are roughly whitewashed; the atmosphere is casual, yet trendy. A contrast between concrete and vivid green plants gives an impression of an urban jungle. A bath in the corner of Companion Coffee brings back memories of funky Kyoto Hanjiro shop, where not only bathtubs but also sinks are blooming …