The Daikanyama area is a home to fashion and high class homes. Along its streets you’ll find a clustered mix of boutiques and stylish storefronts leading towards beautiful residences and foreign embassies. Its location—between Shibuya, Ebisu, and Nakameguro—makes it a busy spot for pedestrian traffic; exactly the reason it’s now home to Woodberry Coffee Roasters’ newest outpost, Perch.
Perch is Woodberry’s third opening in the Tokyo area, and their first foray outside of their home of Yoga. Owner Musashi Kihara told me there was some nervousness at opening in a new location; he said the sheer pace of life here—busy, hurried, and on the go—is a stark contrast to the relaxed suburban feel of Yoga.
Kihara says it was during a recent trip to Melbourne that he met Yuta Matsumoto, who worked at ST. ALi and Clement Coffee Roasters. On Kihara’s travels through the city drinking coffee, he was amazed by the sheer pace of the coffee shops they visited—sometimes serving 300 cups a day, and on busy days closer to 700.
When Matsumoto returned to Japan, he and Kihara set up Perch—a place they hope will bring a slice of that busy to-go coffee lifestyle to an equally busy Tokyo location.
Perch is designed for the cup-on-the-go experience. Kihara says the space—built by the Woodberry boys themselves—is designed for ease and pace of work; they’re hoping that as people learn about the location, they’ll start to see it as an easy place to go for a good cup of coffee.
Which isn’t to say they want to rush the experience. Woodberry has always been an enterprise run by friends doing what they love, and Kihara says this is true of Perch, too. “Coffee shops are about the people who work at them,” he says, “it’s not the space we want at the forefront, but the people; they bring in customers and create relationships with them.”
I sat at the back of the store on a stool, and I asked Kihara about expansion. After all, with Onibus having opened a new roastery location in Nakameguro, Sarutahiko Coffee opening locations all over the city, and Blue Bottle Coffee continuing to expand, it seems as though specialty coffee is slowly becoming a regular part of Tokyo life.
But Kihara isn’t so sure. He jokes that maybe when they turn Perch into a 700-cup-a-day location, maybe he’ll be able to agree with me. He still wants more people to learn about what coffee is, but for the time being, he’s happy just serving coffee to a new crowd of people.
“Eventually we’d like to visit the plantations, and the farms,” he says, “because we haven’t done that yet. For now though, we just want to make this place busy.”