A review of independent coffee roaster, Coloso Coffee in Harajuku, 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.
Opened in October 2016, Coloso Coffee sits in a corner of the Nomadic Life Market, just off the main Harajuku shopping street at Aoyama. If the name sounds familiar, it is because branch is related to the independent Oakland cafe in California.
The shop’s seating area is the container box-table on the patio and the two stools inside. If you have a portable keyboard and spare batteries, then one could sit on the patio in warmer weather for a few hours, typing away while tourist-watching. People with laptops who need Wi-Fi and plugs will need to head to the nearest Starbucks.
In the winter, the shop can get a little chilly because the doorway is kept open. Don’t worry, they have blankets provided!
I spoke to manager Nishikawa-san on a sleepy Saturday morning, while the rest of the shops were still shuttered. He had always had an interest in coffee and has spent about 6 years in the industry, about half a year of which included training in the US.
I was delighted to find a Cortado on the menu, but this opted for the larger cappuccino to fend off the chilly weather. Since we’d struck up a conversation, Nishikawa also asked me what temperature I wanted my milk, since the many third-wave places opt for what I call a warm standard. Hot please!
My morning cuppa joe was delicious. The milk came silky smooth as a wet cappuccino. The roast was a mellow, and thoroughly mixed with the milk and the nutty flavour had a little kick. The bright flavours came through with the slightly higher temperature that I’d ordered. And, I even got a little brownie on the side.
And, I even got a little brownie on the side. If you have the nibbles, I think their coffee goes well with the small selection of pastries on the counter.
Their Story / What I like About Them:
I went with a friend, who ordered a latte. The two of us ended up staying for two hours, which earned us a sample of Heart Roaster‘s Kenya Worka single-origin pour over!
The roast is very smooth, with some floral and fruity notes, but mostly with a sweet body. I’d recommend trying it if it’s still there, as the roast isn’t available for individual bag purchase.
Heart Roasters is one of the best known roasters from Portland, Oregon and only one other cafe in Japan serves them (in Tochigi Prefecture).
Also, since it’s Japan, you can feel free to leave your stuff at your seat and wander around the Nomadic Life store. The products seem like a modern / hipster interpretation of what the old outpost farmhouses in the Mid and Wild West of the US.
My final thought is that I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Nishikawa-san. He patiently answered all my questions from his background, to the logistics of sourcing and shipping beans. He and his colleague have a quiet approachability that I appreciated, especially when my colleague arrived part-way through our conversation. colleague were gracious in asking if the latte suited the taste of my friend from Hong Kong.
After she ordered and they made her drink, they didn’t hover anxiously about her verdict. Nonetheless, when the opportunity came up, they asked if the latte suited the taste of my friend from Hong Kong. Even though she normally drinks black coffees, this latte hit the spot perfectly!
- Coffee: Espresso, single-origin pour over. Beans from Heart Coffee in Portland, USA.
- Food: Pastries
- Cafe Space: 2 seats indoors, standing counter, 1 group table on the patio
- Friends: Hanging out
- Workspace: 2-person counter
- Remote Work: Bring your own pocket WiFi, no plugs
3-21-1 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001
|Daily: 9:00-18:00 月〜日|
If you liked this post, check out my list of Off-Centre Tokyo Cafes.