This is a guest blog post by Eric of Tokyo Coffee, a blog where he guides you through the Tokyo specialty and third-wave coffee scenes
If you’ve browsed kurasu.me I’m sure you found all sorts of coffee goods that have peaked your interest. From beautiful lacquer finished pour over cones to copper kettles, Japanese coffee merchandise is often stunning and intriguing.
But is it practical?
I was wondering whether coffee professionals are using these works of art or just displaying them on their cafe walls.
So, I set out to see if some the more striking coffee tools I’ve seen online are being used in the wild. Here are a few profiles of cafes that I found.
Cafe Kitsune is one of the more interesting cafes in Tokyo, primarily due to its decor. This spot is off a side street in Tokyo’s trendy Aoyama area.
Once you walk down a short alley, lined with a wall made of bamboo on one side and small craggily pines on the other, you’ll find this coffee house.
The interior and the exterior seating areas are both designed with a sort of Japanese teahouse theme in mind. Though it may seem a bit wild to have a Japanese themed cafe in Japan it somehow works flawlessly.Traditional Japanese patterns decorate the walls while bonsai trees and other interesting artifacts are dotted around the shop.
The baristas dress in a very traditional barista way: black slacks, crisp shirts, and sometimes black ties. Espresso is pulled on a Slayer espresso machine, which almost feels too modern for this cafe stuck out of time. Adding to the ambience are the lacquered wooden pour over cones by Yasukiyo.
They seem very much at home here in this Japanese-themed cafe tucked off the busy streets.
Arise Coffee Roasters and Arise Coffee Entangle are just down the road from each other in the Kiyosumi-Shirakawa area of Tokyo.
This seemingly sleepy town is actually somewhat of a coffee lover’s destination due to its concentration of high quality coffee shops. The Arise cafes are local favorites and offer warm smiles as well interesting atmospheres. The roaster location is cramped with roasting equipment and coffee bean bags and is standing room only.
You’ll find skateboards decorating the walls and a smiling barista at his post behind the counter. There is no place else quite like it.
The cafe location, Arise Coffee Entangle, has plenty of seating and a funky style. Some of the key decorations here include a plastic rhino head on the wall and a large wooden airplane propeller. There are always plenty of different beans to choose from so even if you visit often you can usually enjoy something new.
The baristas prepare their filter coffee using the Torch Donut Dripper at both locations.
Somewhere in the residential maze between Nakameguro and Ikejiriohashi stations is the home of PNB Coffee, a laid back shop serving top-tier Scandinavian coffees.
Off a quiet street down a short flight of stairs you’ll find this shop full of light blonde woods and flooded with natural light. The interior is open and simple, has a fair amount of seating. It’s the perfect Tokyo cafe to bring your laptop or book to.
Though this coffee shop is in the heart of Tokyo it is actually run by a young Dane who fell in love with Japan while traveling. The clean and bright flavors of the coffee from Denmark accent the clean and bright cafe perfectly. It seems fitting that the preferred brew method here is the Kalita Wave.
The Wave is simple and reliable, yet stunningly chic in its minimalistic design. It certainly fits the bill.
Here in Tokyo the specialty coffee industry is growing rapidly.
Though coffee has long been part of Japanese culture this new era of cafes has reinvigorated the industry. For a time the coffee specialists in Japanese kissaten, traditional coffee houses, seems to be viewed as old fashioned and the focus in cafes went from coffee to food.
Now, with the introduction of third wave coffee culture, coffee is the main event again in many shops. With so many amazing pieces of brewing equipment created in Japan it can be a fun experience for a coffee geek, like myself, to see what method different places are using.
However, there is a side effect to this: My own coffee goods shopping list keeps getting longer!
Guest post by Eric of Tokyo Coffee