10 Incredible Cafes In Tokyo

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Tokyo, Japan is without question one of the most exciting coffee cities in the world, and home to some of this planet’s very best cafes. We’re covering the Tokyo coffee scene extensively on Sprudge, with content directed by our Tokyo staff writer Hengtee Lim.

Our Tokyo tag is a wonderland of content from this marvelous city, but here’s 10 of our most favorite Tokyo features pulled from the Sprudge archives—a great place to start for visitors and coffee enthusiasts alike. Domo!

Inside The Coffee Service At Noma Tokyo

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“Noma has, since inception, been about understanding, exploring, and sharing tastes through quality ingredients, careful preparation, and creative presentation. It’s this very concept that makes the Tokyo pop-up such an exciting venture for the team—it’s a chance to share their world-renowned creativity with a whole host of new, refreshing ingredients.

And coffee lovers can rest assured, when they sit down and stare out at the vast cityscape of Tokyo, that it’s not just the food and wine that makes the Noma experience interesting―they also serve a very fine cup of coffee.”

Feature by Hengtee Lim. 

Noma at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo was located at 2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 103-8328please note that this Noma Tokyo experience has now closed. 

Tokyo: A Modern Moment At Sarutahiko Coffee’s New Roastery

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“It’s a buzz of activity as staff moves quickly behind the counter brewing tea and coffee for visitors and effortlessly slipping in to cover for one another as the situation calls for it. Watching the smooth maneuvering of the team in action, it starts to dawn on me why Sarutahiko’s information strategist Ryuta Suzuki jokingly refers to Atelier Sengawa as the Sarutahiko mothership.”

Feature by Hengtee Lim. 

Sarutahiko Coffee‘s Atelier Sengawa roastery and cafe is located at Tōkyō-to, Chōfu-shi, Sengawachō, 1 Chome−48−3 

Nordic Does Nippon: Scenes From The Tasteful Koppi Tokyo Pop-Up 

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Partners since Atelier September first opened its doors, Bille Brahe and Koppi cupped a variety of coffees before deciding on a Kenyan coffee from the Kibugu region, boasting unique tea- and grape-like flavors and floral, vibrant, fruity notes.

For his part, Brahe is keen to wax poetic on Koppi’s offerings at the Tokyo pop-up. “[The coffee] for me is very interesting because it has this unique expression—it develops your brain and your tastes. Much like natural wine, it’s difficult to go back once you’ve experienced something like this the first time. It’s interesting, it’s sexy, it’s nice…and I think it’s a beautiful match.”

Feature by Hengtee Lim. 

A Laid Back Cup At ARiSE Coffee, Tokyo 

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Originally starting out in fashion and apparel, the search for a more comfortable career/lifestyle balance brought Taiju Hayashi to the coffee roaster’s path. After ten years of dedicated roasting, he found himself wishing for a way to match his passion for coffee with a means to share it and connect with people—and this desire took the shape of ARiSE in 2013.

The ARiSE roastery space (named after a Sepultura album of the same name) is perhaps a peek into the mind and interests of Hayashi—bags of green beans cover the floor by the roaster in the corner, the wall behind covered in skateboard decks. Timber counters and shelving play home to a mess of coffee-filled jars and random paraphernalia—viking boats, crocodiles, toy knives, and killer flowers among them. Hayashi says it’s a messy place to work, but one gets the sense there’s as much comfort here as there is mess.

Feature by Hengtee Lim. 

ARiSE Coffee is located at Tokyo, Koto-Ku, Hirano 1-Chome 13-8.

Toranomon Coffee In Tokyo Means Business 

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I visited this space during the staff’s daily cupping, and was met by a barista named Yoshioka Yuki. Knowledgable and friendly, with a half-decade of professional coffee experience, Mr. Yuki prepared my cappuccino with a clear pride in his product and a sense of kodawari (a Japanese word reflecting fastidiousness and fixation on detail). This shop’s coffee is roasted for the Japanese palate, which is to say, it is perhaps a good shade darker than what one might find at a specialty cafe in London or Los Angeles. But my resulting beverage was both sweet and smooth, with a well-crafted foam resulting in an altogether very balanced cup.

Feature by Dom Sharman

Toranomon Koffee is located at 1 Chome-23 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo. They are open 7am to 7pm daily.

In Tokyo, Yanaka’s Neighborhood Take On Suspended Coffee

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Think for a moment about random acts of kindness: big or small, there’s something about a good deed that makes us feel good. It might be giving up a seat on a crowded train, sharing an umbrella in the rain, or a kind word on a bad day. Sometimes, it might be as simple as a free cup of coffee—exactly the case at Yanaka Coffee in Tokyo’s Shimokitazawa neighborhood, where good deeds cost twelve stamps, and come in the form of a unique pay-it-forward card.

Feature by Hengtee Lim. 

Yanaka Coffee’s Shimokitazawa cafe is located at Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 2-33-6 Kitazawa. Hours daily from 11am to 8pm.

A Guide To Good Coffee In Tokyo’s Harajuku District

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Streamer Harajuku is a tall, skinny building made out of old shipping containers. Latte art is splashed onto the second floor window, making it easy to find on this busy street.

Latte art is taken very seriously at many shops in Tokyo, and many baristas have found that inspiration from Hiroshi Sawada, the proprietor of Streamer and a longtime latte art competitor. His book, “Hiroshi’s Latte Art and Barista Style”, showcases his work and gives tips for mastering the technique.

Feature by Yukari Sakamoto.

Streamer Harajuku is located at Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 3-28-19

A Permanent Home For Paddlers Coffee, Serving Stumptown To Tokyo

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Saturday, April 4th 2015, 7:30 a.m.—While the Nishihara neighborhood begins to awaken from its slumber, Paddlers Coffee celebrates the grand opening of its very first cafe. As the day wears on and the space fills with visitors and passersby, it feels more like a friend’s living room and terrace than a coffeehouse. A few people sit chatting on the Portland-made sofa, while others sip Stumptown Coffee and chat at a communal table in the center. Music from a vintage record player fills the interior. Outside, cherry blossom petals occasionally float lazily on down from a tree.

“It’s not perfect,” says owner Daisuke Matsushima, but it’s the first space they have that truly feels like it’s their own—and in time, they hope it will blossom into a hub for communication and new experiences.

Feature by Hengtee Lim. 

The Daring Young Duo Behind Light Up Coffee In Kichijoji

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They met through latte art, they say. Working part-time at chain cafes, Yuma Kawano and Tomito Aihara got lost in the swirls and symmetry of espresso and steamed milk. Neither of them liked coffee then. But as they tasted their way around the local scene, they noticed variations in flavor and started drinking coffee straight, finding themselves surprised at the juicy, fruity cups they tasted at places like Fuglen and Onibus. After exhausting the Tokyo scene, they toured Europe—sipping, cupping, and tasting their way through Norway and London. Hungry to share what they’d learned, they opened Light Up Coffee in July of 2014.

Feature by Hengtee Lim.

In Tokyo, Roasting Coffee Masterfully At Age One Hundred 

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When I next went to L’Ambre, I wanted to know a little more. I sat at the same swivel stool by the counter, and ordered a coffee. I sipped at it as I worked up some courage. I didn’t know if it was okay to ask about the shop. I stared at the mason jars filled with old coffee, and the people who came and went. Eventually, I began talking to the man behind the counter, and scribbled things in my notebook. He regarded me with something of a bemused half-smile—this foreigner with his broken Japanese and a struggling coffee vocabulary.

In hindsight, I saw it like a scene from a Bill & Ted movie. “I write for a bodacious coffee website in the future,” I saw myself saying. “Coffee is like, really cool right now.”

The man told me they were roasting today. He said Sekiguchi still did it. He said Sekiguchi turned a hundred that year.

Feature by Hengtee Lim. 

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View all Tokyo content on Sprudge.


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