A review of an independent coffee roaster, The Roastery by Nozy Coffee at Sangenjaya 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.
In 2010, before Third Wave coffee really took off in Tokyo, Nozy Coffee quietly opened up shop to serve single origin coffee. Their beans are found throughout Tokyo at independent cafes and restaurants, but their main shop remains in a residential neighbourhood just beyond Shibuya. Most people know the more flashy The Roastery at Harajuku, but I wanted to see the original location.
The shop is a two-storey loft with a few seats on both levels. The lower level has two stools on a counter and a bench while the upper level has a row of window seats. Both levels have 2 outlets, so someone with pocket Wi-Fi could work remotely for a while. The cafe does not have food, so you’ll have to take your lunch break elsewhere. The good news is that even on a Sunday morning, the place didn’t have a line-up so one doesn’t feel pressure to move on.
My friend and I ordered the same beans without realising, which was an interesting experience in comparing extraction methods. All the roasts seemed to have smooth and/or mild profiles, so to be honest nothing in particular caught my eye.
Nonetheless, the cup they brewed went down well. The coffee is much more concentrated than many other independent cafes, which I appreciated on a cold winter day. The concentrated flavours resulted in a very smokey base flavour that faded into a golden sweetness and bright finish.
Their Story / What I like About Them:
Personally, I think Nozy lives up to its reputation as one of Tokyo’s best independent roasters. The combination of distance and price point (¥650 for single origin) means I probably would only visit if I was hanging around the area for a day. Otherwise, it is much more economical to brew at home.
I do appreciate the friendliness of the staff and the quiet neighbourhood ambience. For the amount of hype the place has amongst coffee fanatics, I was able to sit comfortably for close to 2 hours without feeling like I was in the way.
I suspect the laid back cafe ambiance is due to the fact that Nozy’s main sources of revenue are supplying beans and their coffee tasting classes. B2B bean distribution allows them to buy higher quality beans in bulk and roast regularly while the classes educate the public on coffee production and culture. As a result, this humble location creates a virtuous cycle for public education and Tokyo’s rising coffee quality standard. Yay!
- Coffee: French Press, Espresso
- Food: None
- Cafe Space: about 10 seats in a small loft unit
- Friends: Hangouts, catching up, reading (never gets too busy)
- Workspace: 2 seats on a counter and about 6 seats upstairs
- Remote Work: Bring your own pocket WiFi. 2 plugs each downstairs and upstairs.
2-29-7 Shimouma, Setagaya, Tokyo
|Website:||Website / Facebook|
|Daily: 10:00-18:00 月〜日|
If you liked this post, check out my list of Off-Centre Tokyo Cafes.