A review of independent coffee roaster, Maruyama Coffee (Oyamadai Branch) in Setagaya, Tokyo. Notes are by an amateur coffee enthusiast and shoestring digital nomad. Descriptions are equal parts coffee and remote-work suitability. Most photos are shot with a second-hand Fujifilm X100.
Tucked away in the tiny community shopping strip at Oyamadai, Maruyama Coffee’s shop sign says 14 seats are available inside. The sign is reassuring when all I could see was the bar and shelves lined with coffee beans from outside.
I’d first encountered Maruyama Coffee at the Tokyo Coffee Convention (SCAJ 2016) and tried a delicious syphon brew from Syphon champion Yoshinobu Nakayama and then an equally yummy mini cappuccino from his colleague Miyuki Oguma. I was no short of ecstatic to discover that I was a 20-minute walk from a branch!
Maruyama Coffee is serious about is coffee sharing and education, so don’t expect to find plugs or Wi-Fi here. The seats, while comfortable, were certainly not chosen for the working patron like me. Nonetheless, the compact shop with its well-padded chairs make a comfortable workplace with just enough subdued background conversation.
I had the Columbia El Naranjal as a base, and it did not disappoint. The notes were orange, pomegranate, peach, juicy, rich and refreshing. I would I would describe it as smooth, silky, fruity ending, and strong, smokey aftertaste. Its beginnings as peach and orange are obvious. I don’t get the pomegranate as much, but honestly tasting notes aside, it was just yummy.
All the small-batch and single origin coffees are brewed in a French Press style (filled), so I feel like you end up getting about the same as what you’d pay for in other places that have smaller servings. The prices typically start at around ¥700-900 and the espresso drinks are at ¥600. Decaffeinated roasts are available.
Only pastries are served, so you’ll have to go down the street to grab lunch before coming back for another cup.
Their Story / What I like About Them:
Maruyama checks all my boxes (in descending priority): quality coffee, long-term and community-based approaches to sourcing quality beans, comfortable / quiet workspace, and quality local partnerships. Usually, my needs as a digital nomad (a comfortable workspace) trump my other coffee priorities.
When I come on a weekday, it’s like having a small, warm office corner to myself. As with many other cafes, lap blankets are provided. As a matter of personal taste, I like the customers who come: typically housewives, mothers, or middle-aged individuals looking for somewhere to enjoy a good book or ponder their thesis, like a gentleman in the corner. The lull of conversation as background noise is quite soothing, unlike the excited chatter in more central places.
Circling back to the coffee, this place has an impressive selection of beans, including elite small-batch, single origin, decaf, blends, and organic for French Press. In addition, espresso drinks are available (take-out is cheaper). My coffee-drinker hat gives huge preference for cafes that work long-term with local growers because it is more sustainable in the long-term, produces higher quality beans, and better for local communities. Maruyama Coffee just started their Elite Coffee Project in Costa Rica. This is the best value coffee to try at the shop. While the ¥900 price looks steep, the margins are low compared to even their single origin beans (2100 per 100 g compared to 800 per hundred gram).
The shop also has coffee sets with their chosen bakery partners: Jun Ujita in Meguro Ward, Noake in Asakusa, and Kouiro in Komoro City. They also serve Minimal Chocolate, which I wholeheartedly recommend after trying their (pricy, but oh so worth it) handmade, fermented chocolate bar.
Maruyama Coffee has branches throughout Tokyo and in Nagano’s ski and onsen resort town, Karuizawa. I’d be happy for you to go to the more central location at Nishiazabu.
- Coffee: French Press (various small batch, single origin, blends, decaf options), Espresso-based drinks
- Food: Pastries
- Cafe Space: 14-seat small back cafe
- Friends: Hangouts, catching up, reading (never gets too busy)
- Workspace: 7 tables,
- Remote Work: Bring your own pocket WiFi, no plugs
2-18-15 Todoroki, Setagaya, Tokyo 158-0082
|Website:||Website / Facebook|
|Daily: 10:00-21:00 月〜日|
If you liked this post, check out my list of Off-Centre Tokyo Cafes.