Tokyo excels at serving coffee of the finest, most carefully crafted – and hipster-attracting – variety. Here are four districts serving seriously cool cups.
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The capital’s coffee king is found a short walk from the Harajuku crowds in a discreet wooden, cube-like building, with a small Japanese garden entrance. Meet Eiichi Kunitomo of Koffee Mameya , in the renovated building his now-closed cult Omotesando Koffee once occupied. Here, Kunitomo – dressed in his signature lab-like coat – can be found matching customers with their perfect brew for them to prepare at home, choosing from over a dozen varieties of beans. There are also coffee tastings and regular workshops.
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Sidewalk Stand is another hidden city favourite: a small, minimal, concrete corner hub overlooking the cherry tree-lined Meguro River in the Nakameguro district. The sweet-toothed will love its coffees mixed with a delicious homemade orange syrup.
Meanwhile, the Kiyosumi-Shirakawa neighbourhood has emerged as a craft coffee hub, with countless coffee shops – both Japanese and international – springing up on its quiet backstreets. There is Blue Bottle Kiyosumi , housed in a large white warehouse by Schemata Architects, outside which trails a queue of coffee pilgrims. Just around the corner is the popular Allpress Espresso , in a stylishly converted old timber storage space, complete with distinct wooden facade. Another local favourite is Arise Coffee Roasters , set up by one of the original pioneers of the neighbourhood’s coffee scene.
This story was originally published in July 2017 and updated in September 2020