Blue Bottle Coffee announced their plans for a brand-owned, directly managed Japanese cafe & roasting expansion back in 2014. Since then they’ve opened two cafes: a flagship roastery / coffee bar in Kiyosumi, and a beautiful modern cafe in Aoyama. Today comes news that Blue Bottle’s Japan expansion continues unabated, with two new projects just revealed: a pour over-only pop-up bar in Jiyugaoka, open now, and a major new cafe in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, set to open in 2016.
First, the pop-up. Open now from now until the 26th of November, Blue Bottle’s running an experimental sort of pour over coffee bar in the Tokyo neighborhood of Jiyugaoka. Saki Igawa, Director of Blue Bottle Japan, tells Sprudge that this place has “No espresso machine, only drip,” and that the cafe will be serving Blue Bottle’s roast of Sumatra Lintong Blue Batak. “This is our first time offering this coffee to Japanese guests here,” Igawa told Sprudge.
The space, designed by the Tokyo architecture firm Schemata, is located at 2-17-8 Jiyugaoka Meguro Tokyo. A pop-up in this neighborhood may lead to a more permanent cafe in the future, if the venture is successful. The opening day line-up was around 30 people long, according to Igawa, mirroring the lines that have met Blue Bottle’s efforts thus far in Tokyo.
Next, the new cafe in Roppongi. Announced to the Japanese press earlier this month, Blue Bottle Roppongi will be located in the Tri-Seven Roppongi building (7-7-7, Roppongi, Minato-ku), a new mixed-use tower built clocking in at 35,400 square meters built by Pembroke Real Estate. This is prime real estate in Tokyo: the building overlooks the Tenso Shrine and Gaien Higashi Street, and is adjacent to Tokyo Midtown. Blue Bottle’s cafe will be an anchor tenant when the building opens in 2016.
This news was announced in Japan via press release; Sprudge Tokyo staff writer Hengtee Lim has translated that release for English-language Sprudge readers, excerpted below. But the juiciest bit is this evocative quote from Blue Bottle founder James Freeman on the coming Roppongi space:
“In the whirl of the city jazzed up by people and filled with excitement, this place attracts us for a quiet space rich with greenery with time and air flowing relaxingly. We hope to create the environment that inspires customers to stop by for a relaxing time in their busy daily lives, by drinking our delicious coffee.”
Here’s more from our translation of that Japanese-language press release:
And though the roastery is still a bustling blend of tourists, locals, and coffee lovers looking for a fix, Blue Bottle just recently announced plans for its newest cafe, this one in the ritzy center of Roppongi.
Scheduled to open in the second half of the 2016 fiscal year, the Blue Bottle Roppongi Cafe will call the Tri-Seven Roppongi building home. Located directly opposite Tokyo Midtown and within a short distance of the National Art Center, the cafe will sit along the road known as Ryudocho-Bijutsukan-Dori, and serve fresh-roasted coffee from Kiyosumi-Shirakawa, along with their popular pastry menu.
We’ll have to wait until next year to learn more about the particulars, but with specialty coffee in the Roppongi area rather limited, we’re hoping this ushers in another coffee wave in a new part of Tokyo.
We’ll have more details on the Roppongi cafe as it develops from our friends & partners at Blue Bottle Coffee. For now, clock is ticking on seeing the pop-up in Jiyugaoka, which serves until November 26th.
Jordan Michelman is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge. Read more Jordan Michelman.
Hengtee Lim contributed to this reporting. Read more Hengtee Lim on Sprudge.
Pop-up cafe photos courtesy of Blue Bottle Coffee.