The sleepy neighborhood of Kiba, Tokyo, is quickly establishing itself as a hotbed for roasting activity—Cream of the Crop Coffee is already up and running, Blue Bottle has plans to move in, and now New Zealand’s Allpress Espresso has entered the fray with a new roastery-cafe combination.
Once a simple timber storage warehouse, Allpress saw charm in the building's design—and though it became necessary to tear everything out to create a space more accommodating to their needs, the character and appeal of the original building is still readily apparent.
The interior, however, is a far cry from what once was—in place of long pieces of timber and aging machinery is a stylish, chic balance of trendy cafe and dedicated roasting space, separated by large floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s a welcoming combination of high quality design, bags of green beans, and La Marzocco espresso machines.
Though this marks the first official Allpress cafe in the Tokyo area, the company's influence on the coffee community has already been noticeable over the last two years—Monz Cafe and Machida’s The Cafe are notable distributors in the Tokyo area, but the Allpress web also stretches as far as Kumamoto and Ibaraki Prefectures.
Michael Allpress is sourcing the green beans himself, with a focus on sustainable quality. A growing customer base throughout Japan means a need to balance sustainability with commercial viability through the new market. In the growing Tokyo scene, this means maintaining a high level of quality is key.
Russell Tearle, director of business development, said, “We want to help Japan take that step towards improving and enjoying the evolving coffee culture here. That starts here at the grassroots level.”
And although distribution has been a challenge with Allpress strict over control of its own growth path, plans for hot air roasting here in Tokyo have hit the floor running—Allpress has 150 75-kilo bags of green coffee arriving soon to meet their first six months of demand.
Opening day was met with a variety of visitors —locals passing by, mothers with children, friends, a few industry types—and all were welcome. General Manager Teru Harase commented, “Japan isn’t just a growing coffee culture—it already has an established cafe culture, and many value the space as highly as the coffee itself. For us, it’s about both. Here, simple is best: we want to provide good training, be good people, make good coffee, and provide a good space.”
He continued, “Though the focus here is on wholesale and roasting, it was important to us to set up a cafe space for the community. It’s as much a space for roasting coffee as it is a welcoming spot for people to gather, connect, and converse. We want to become a pillar for the community.”