BEST COFFEE SHOPS IN TOKYO, JAPAN

10 days in Japan equals to me experiencing 10 straight great coffee days. I drank dark-roasted coffee more than I probably should, up to 5 glass per day. The Japanese probably realize their position as one of the largest coffee consumers in the world and they take their coffee seriously. Previously on my first visit,  it was painful leaving the city, the people and the food, and on my latest visit, that too and the coffee *sobbing hard mucus all over my shirt*.

I am a lazy person 75% of my daily life, that's what you should know, but when I am travelling and if there's a promise for teriffic coffee like what I consistently thought of while in Japan, waking up at 7 PM daily was a pleasure.

You know that joy of getting semi-lost in the city on your own and those happy steps following where Google Maps tell you to go. I don't take orders but this time I have to, otherwise I won't be meeting these awesome coffee shops (and that would be sad). Most of the coffee shops that I visited in Tokyo had this rich "hipster" feel about it, but some kept in pretty simple & posh but as equally photogenic. I must say that I didn't experience a single bad coffee on this visit, except for that one Starbucks coffee that tasted a tad like burnt rubber (that being said it's even forgivable as the Starbucks there was even better than Jakarta's), and I even love the Tully's and Doutor as well can you imagine?

I am an occasional soy coffee drinker and I was thrilled to find that most of the coffee shops there provide soymilk here *heavenly sound effect*, well again Japanese people are very health-conscious and here's the fun part: THE SOYMILK IS SO DELICIOUS and it had that Bonsoy character to its flavor and texture, only just a tad-tad thicker. Come on Jakarta please replace your rubbish soymilk and change to the better one I'm dying here.
So put aside your matcha love for a while and here are some of Tokyo's best coffee shops for the caffeine breed to your system!
*list sorted on alphabetical order*
ABOUT LIFE COFFEE BREWERS
Nearest train station: Shibuya
Map
Opening hours: 8:30 AM-8:30 PM
About Life is a little coffee stand with simple and practical design located at one corner at the busy Shibuya neighborhood and it has gained its reputation as one of the most promising coffee shop in Tokyo, particularly Shibuya, especially the fact that it's owned and motored by the same people who owned Onibus Coffee (also on this list - more below) which is the big player in Tokyo coffee roastery scene, and that's why both their coffee had pretty much the same character: acid, well-bodied with clean finish. Here they will allow you to choose between two available options for your espresso: one from Onibus and another one from a different roastery and 4 hand drip coffees.

Tips: I paired my coffee with their tempting looking cinnamon roll, it was a thick with moist center, talk about easy sweets to pair my coffee with.
BEAR POND ESPRESSO
Nearest train station: Shimokitazawa
Map
Opening hours:
CLOSED ON TUESDAYS
Mon, Wed-Sun: 11 AM-5:30 PM
Bear Pond Espresso has quite a reputation for its infamous service (you can read the online reviews they're everywhere) that to me it's almost an honor if I encounter one (which I unfortunately didn't). Kopi Tuku is one of my most favorite coffee shops in Jakarta and Bear Pond's coffee character strangely had the same characteristics as Kopi Tuku's. It's cappuccino (and even the Iced Latte - 370 Yen) was thick, creamy, flavor wise more to the acidic side, well-bodied with fresh soft finish.

BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE (OMOTESANDO OUTLET)
Nearest train station: Omotesando (located beside Shozo Coffee Store)
Map
Opening hours: 8 AM-7 PM daily)
They also have another outlet in NeWoman Shinjuku and Kiyosumi
If you ask me my personal favorite, then Blue Bottle was my favorite throughout the trip! I don't really like using the word "perfect" but Blue Bottle's coffee was THAT close to my definition of perfect coffee. Their cappuccino (550 Yen) was well balanced in each element (flavor, consistency) they almost run in an aligned harmony, medium-bodied and the cleanest and smoothest after-finish. Their Iced Latte was also very good and weirdly creamier on my palate comparing to the lighter cappuccino. Skip their pastries, improvement is much needed.
Tips: if you love a bit of outdoor ambiance, head to their Omotesando (Mini Aoyama) outlet, just 2 mins walking distance from Omotesando station, and be sure to come before 10 AM on the weekends to avoid the long ass queue.
BREAD, ESPRESSO
Nearest train station: Meiji-Jingumae
Map
Opening hours: 8 AM-8 PM daily
I went to Bread, Espresso on that first Sunday of the trip, and I remember it was around 4 PM and I had to wait 1 hour before getting a seat. Bread, Espresso is located across Lattest Omotesando and it's highly famous among locals as one of the most promising brunch spots. What to order? Of course their famed French Toast which served on a mini pan.

Tips: come as early as you can on weekends!
FUGLEN
Map
Opening hours:
Mon-Tue: 8 AM-10 PM
Wed-Thu: 8 AM-1 AM
Fri: 8 AM-2 AM
Sat: 9 AM-2 AM
Sun: 9 AM-12 AM
Fuglen is a posh coffee shop located in Shibuya which turned a drinking bar at night (that's why they close pretty late on a daily basis). Many refers to this particular coffee shop as a little Scandinavia in Shibuya due to its origin: Norway! If you like bright-fruity acidic coffee with clean finish then Fuglen is one of the place you should have in mind. One of the highlight of this coffee shop has got to be the Slayer espresso machine, which is currently one of the world's most expensive espresso machines, and do indulge their coffee sitting on the outdoor bench on a good Tokyo day (hashtag lyfe)
LATTEST OMOTESANDO ESPRESSO BAR
Nearest train station: Meiji-Jingumae
Map
Opening hours: 10 AM-7 PM daily
Visited Lattest twice and had their "Lattest" and "Iced Soy Latte" (which was uniquely presented in this jar glass). The "Lattest" (550 Yen) was their special menu which consist of combination between cold milk and double shot espresso, almost macchiato-like: it was very rich, thick, creamy, well-bodied with soft faded finish. As for their Iced Soy Latte (400 Yen), they managed to make the thickest-creamiest iced soy latte, maybe they used a certain soymilk brand (or they even made one themselves) but there's something about it that's thick in presence and delicious of course.
Lattest (550 yen)
"Be amazing today, but first, coffee!"
ONIBUS COFFEE
Nearest train station: Jiyugaoka
Map
Opening hours:
CLOSED ON TUESDAYS
Mon, Wed-Sun: 9 AM-6 PM
Onibus has another more well-known outlet in Nakameguro, but I went to the one in Jiyugaoka when I happened to be in the neighborhood. Their Jiyugaoka outlet was uber small with two small tables for 6 but somehow had this comfy homey vibe, along with the fragrant smell of the coffee. Onibus is a big player in Tokyo's coffee roastery scene and of course, expect to have the flavorful bodied-acidic coffee roasted by them.
SHOZO COFFEE STORE
Nearest train station: Omotesando
Map
Opening hours:
Weekdays: 9:30 AM-6 PM
Weekends: 11 AM-6 PM
Shozo is a part of Commune 246 which is the outdoor food court located in Omotesando, Shozo itself might be the most photogenic coffee shop I found during the trip. The look was exactly my kind of coffee shop where it's very hipster, mini-house like with very little seating capacity and incredibly pleasing to the eye. Shozo does not serve espresso based coffee, but they do serve classic drip coffees americano style and milk fusion coffee (caramel milk coffee). If you fancy sweets to pair the coffee, they also have small baked goods, tried the chocolate brownie cake and it was pretty delicious.
STREAMER COFFEE COMPANY
Nearest train station: Shibuya
Map
Opening hours:
Weekdays: 8 AM-6 PM
Weekends: 10 AM-6 PM
Frankly speaking, Streamer doesn't brew the best coffee comparing to the other ones in the list, but it deserves an honorable mention due to its popularity among tourists and locals. I have been twice but along the way I kept hearing people recommending me this on Snapchat, emails and DMs. If you don't fancy coffee, try having their famous Military Latte which consist of full cream milk (they also have soy here), matcha powder, white chocolate and espresso shot. The strong matcha and the fragrant espresso was a delightful cross on my palate. To pair your drinks, they also offer selections of homemade donuts (Vanilla Bean and Military Donut), it was dense and firm, definitely not the fluffy type.
So many of you also recommended Sarutahiko and Switch Coffee, but sadly I didn't have the chance to pay them a visit but let's consider them one of the reasons to revisit Tokyo, well I don't mind visiting Tokyo every month, but it's nice to miss Tokyo and release it out loud once you're in the city!

Thank you for reading this list, and trust me, head to your computer and book your flights to Tokyo immediately, as this post is written, it's heading winter and you're going to need the promising warmth of coffee more than ever, so pack your bags and don't forget your phone (and Google Maps) in hand. 
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6 komentar:

  1. Tempatnya bagus dan menarik. Huhuhu...
    Review tempat ngopi asik di Jakarta dong, ko!

    BalasHapus
  2. My second entry in my "Kapitolyo Food Diaries" series is one of the cafes that quickly became our favorite. It is St. Gerald's Coffee Shop, one of the "originals" in the Kapitolyo area before it became inundated by other cafes/restaurants/hole-in-the-walls.coffee place calgary

    BalasHapus
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