If you’ve not heard of the legend from San Francisco, it’s worth a try – just avoid the weekend waits in the parking lot. Their parking lot is for people, in case you were wondering.
Blue Bottle is open every day at 8am, which is early for the Kiyosumishirakawa neighbourhood. If you are on a coffee tour, it’s best to visit them first before the crowds come and the other shops open.
Their 7,000-square-foot roastery houses a cupping room, production space, Loring SmartRoaster, pastry kitchen, the coffee bar, and three spacious bar tables in a loft lounge area.
Following their American shops, they have espresso drinks, single origin and blends as drip coffee, iced coffee, and pastries (waffles are popular). They also serve syphon coffee. They probably have the largest fleet of barista staff in Japan’s indie cafe scene, with a mixed team of energetic locals and expats.
After you order, you will have a choice between three long bar tables and a window seating area, from which you can work, people watch or observe their transparent roasting operation at the back. You can even hang out at the bar and the baristas are happy to chat if they have have time.
I ordered a latte as my stomach was wobbly that day. Consistent with most West Coast coffee brewers, their milk espresso drinks are served warm, rather than steaming hot, which would burn the beans. It’s a race to savour the delicate flavours at their optimal temperature.
What set them apart when they began 10 years ago was their legendary vow to only serve coffee roasted within 48 hours. If you are a connoisseur, the exact timing will be up for debate, but let’s just say it’s been meticulously prepared.
I came here on a frigid, rainy Monday morning when there were still seats at each of the bar tables. With sockets at either end of the areas, it’s workspace friendly, but without WiFi. By the time I left about two hours later, around 2pm, it was packed (but not out the door as I’ve seen on weekends).
If you are looking for a sure-fire cup of coffee, this is the safe place to start, before moving on to the other great local haunts.
As a final tip, Blue Bottle has Coffee Brewing Guides for every technique you’d want.
Cafe is Good For:
- Coffee: Espresso, pour over / drip, Syphon
- Afternoon Tea / Dessert (they serve pastries & waffles that some people treat as lunch)
- Work: 3 large bench tables, no WiFi, sockets available
- Friends: Hangouts & catching up
- Chilling and reading
- People watching (from the window seats)
|Address:||Hirano 1-chome 4-8, Koto-ku, Tokyo
|Hours:||Open Every Day 8:00-19:00|
If you liked this post, check out the full list of Kiyosumishirakawa’s Cafes.