Tokyo’s coffee scene is one of the oldest and richest you can find anywhere. From neighborhood kissaten, to single-minded auteur coffeebars, to Nordic Invasion coffee/cocktail bars, to the trendiest in latte-art swag shops, Tokyo has one of everything. Over the years this caffeinated bounty has been fairly exhaustively cataloged, but sifting through all the info to find the real gems and insider spots can be daunting.
Enter this gorgeous, focused new coffee guide/map, posted by Jan Chipchase (@janchip) on Jauntful. Mr. Chipchase is a leading expert in human-centered design and is currently the Executive Creative Director of Global Insights at frog, a global product strategy and design firm. He’s spent much of the last decade exhaustively travelling the world, researching user habits and drinking mass quantities of coffee in just about every locale you can imagine.
Jauntful is a new website designed to let “people whose perspective of a city is deeply influenced by a specific expertise or interest” share their insights in an attractive, engaging map form. Jauntful was co-founded by Moka Pantages (@Moka) and Raphael Grignani (@grignani), who are themselves avowed coffee fans.
We reached out to Mr. Chipchase to hear more about the role coffee plays in his travels, and then talked to the affable Moka Pantages about where Jauntful is headed next.
Sprudge: You spent nearly a decade living in Tokyo–did you come to the city with a love of good coffee, or was that something you found there?
Jan Chipchase: I learned about what good coffee could be from the Monmouth Coffee Shop in Covent Garden while I was a student in London. After I moved to Tokyo, Monmouth’s Huehuetenango had me routing flights through London to pick up supplies, but over the years I’ve switched to local roasts wherever I’m living – in turn Los Angeles, Shanghai, and now San Francisco where I’m based, plus whatever I pick up on my travels.
Sprudge: What is it that makes a great café experience for you? Does Tokyo do a good job of providing that?
There’s so many ways to answer that depending who I’m with, what I’m doing, how I’m feeling, and what else is going on. Sometimes the coffee is at the center of the experience e.g. Obscura Laboratory in Tokyo, and sometimes it plays a supporting, nurturing role e.g. D&Department Dining (both on the Jauntful Tokyo coffee lovers map). It is a continuous thread in my life — I wake in the early hours (usually jetlagged) and I write with the first press of the day.
Sprudge: Your work involves a huge amount of travel. What are some of your other favorite places for coffee?
Where to start? When life is fast, it’s rituals like a morning cup that give it a measured pace, and provides an anchor to the day when everything else is an unknown variable.
A few: on the Xi’an to Lhasa train, sharing a compartment with three colleagues and an endless supply of cafetiered coffee (Chinese trains supply boiling water on-demand); sipping from a paper cup in a roadside barista with a Hezbollah fixer in Beirut and wondering how the day will pan out; a fresh brew to the sound of the morning mullahs and overhead choppers in Kabul before the team wakes; out on the deck in the cayes in Belize before the heat kicks in; the one afforded warm luxury of a fresh drip after a day’s hiking at altitude in the Yading Nature Reserve or the ignominy of have a drink interrupted by the religious police in Riyadh (The latter two in the last month).
Sprudge: Thanks for chatting with us!
Mr. Chipchase maintains an excellent blog from his travels, with an amazing selection of coffee related vignettes and design observations, like this one about the different approach to condiments in Japanese and Chinese independent cafés.
Jauntful is a recently launched website designed to help users create and share beautiful, useful, and expertly navigable city guides. The resulting product makes for gorgeous, printable maps perfect for sharing personal insights into the cities users love. We talked to Jauntful co-founder Moka Pantages to find out more about their plans and the role coffee plays in her life.
Sprudge: Jauntful is in early preview now — what are some of the things you’re working on adding?
Moka Pantages: One set of features we’re keeping a close eye on are micro-interactions. As we were designing Jauntful, we started from that basic text email and we thought: how should this text email evolve while still keeping the simplicity and usability that people are attracted to?
One thing people really seemed to need were conversational feedback loops — little ways to stay connected with friends while they use recommendations. So when your friend is sitting in that little cafe you suggested in Paris, you get a notification when they’re there and a sweet little ping that they’re enjoying themselves
Sprudge: What are some Jauntful’s favorite places to drink coffee in SF?
Each morning I try to take a walk to the top of Dolores Park to catch the view. On my way I grab black drip from Tartine and resist the temptation to get a morning bun or croissant!
When out-of-town friends are visiting, we like to take them to the Ferry building Farmer’s market on Saturday morning. Our first stop there is always the Blue Bottle kiosk for a Gibraltar or cappuccino.
For meeting friends, we like Four Barrel because there’s no wifi and the people watching is great and Sightglass because the architecture is beautiful. Both serve outstanding coffee.
At home, we drink Bicycle Coffee made with an Aeropress with an Able stainless steel filter. We also try to bring back coffee from our travels; we currently have coffee from Handsome Coffee Roasters in L.A and Cuvée Coffee in Austin.
If you want to take a go at making your own coffee guide on Jauntful, they’ve made available a limited number of preview openings to Sprudge users via this link.
Alex Bernson (@AlexBernson) is the assistant editor at Sprudge.com. Read more Alex Bernson here.