A review of an independent cafe, PNB Coffee 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.
PNB Coffee is one of those demure oddities I’ve come to associate with upscale residential neighbourhoods in Tokyo. The cafe is a semi-basement with tall windows that let in bright ambient lighting while being virtually invisible to passer-bys.
Inside, the cafe only has 3 tables and then a row of seats facing the streets. Clean lines and matte colours are the theme.
The Scandinavian-inspired cafe space provides its Wi-Fi password on the counter and has plugs. The solitary remote worker can either choose a serene white wall or the residential street with occasional pedestrians as a view.
When I walked in, the space was filled with a buttery aroma that made my mouth water. From the oven under the counter, out came a tray of 6 perfectly formed rolls called PNB Snails that were placed on the otherwise bare counter.
As it was, I only ordered coffee. They serve a variety of single-origin pour-overs while limiting their milk-based espresso offerings to just a latte. Though the brew, in the typical Japanese fashion, is a bit light for me, the berry notes shone brightly.
Their Story / What I like About Them:
PNB Coffee sources from the Coffee Collective in Denmark. You’ll find a coffee table book that introduces this Danish roaster, which not only sources beans directly from farms, but invests in long-term relationships to encourage farmers to improve the quality of the bean crop. The Coffee Collective founders were also world barista champions who transitioned into roasting in their pursuit of quality coffee, which is an increasingly common story amongst independent cafes.
I asked PNB why they chose this specific supplier, and they felt that they were the best. To be honest, part of me feels that the amount of resources needed to import the beans makes it seem more worthwhile to source locally, given the increasingly sophisticated roasting profiles available in Tokyo. The other side of me appreciates the increasing options in Tokyo, which now range from Brooklyn’s Gorilla Coffee to West Coast roasters such as Verve and Heart.
Back to this this place. In summary, this is a space I’d return to work in in the future, especially when I factor in the quiet strolling-friendly neighourhood area that stretches to Ikijiri Ohashi. In fact, if you want to try another cafe, you can just head down the block to Workers Coffee / Bar for another cuppa or lunch in their restaurant area.
- Coffee: Pour over, Espresso (latte)
- Food: Light pastries
- Cafe Space: About 16
- Friends: Hangouts, catching up, readings
- Workspace: Window counter, 3 group tables
- Remote Work: Wi-Fi & Plugs available
3 Chome-13-14 Aobadai, Meguro, Tokyo
|Website:||Website / Facebook|
|Weekdays: 10:00-20:00 平日
Weekends: 10:00-22:00 週末
If you liked this post, check out my list of Off-Centre Tokyo Cafes.