espresso all seasons coffee

Tokyo Cafes: 4/4 Seasons Cafe / (All Seasons)

A review of an independent coffee roaster, All Seasons Coffee at Shinjuku Sanchome. 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.

hand drip all seasons coffee

Pour-over coffee selections are rotated often — Photo by Athena Lam

Cafe Overview:

All Seasons Coffee is hidden in a bar area that is quiet during the day — Photo by Athena Lam

All Seasons Coffee is one of the few shops open on a weekend morning, just as all the bars in the area have closed for the day. Wandering to this side of Shinjuku, closer to the Shinjuku Gyoen, which I highly recommend spending a sunny day in, one sees another side of Shinjuku. Late at night, it is a lively community of bars. By day, you will see quiet preparations going on in small restaurants.

All Seasons Coffee is like a handful of other independent gems that have chosen to set up shop in this area (including a Halal ramen shop called Ouka). Their coffee options include their in-house roasts and other roasters from Tokyo. Drink choices include espresso and pour-over. I tried their latte, which frankly was just alright. I have more confidence in their pour-over and aeropress options.

 

Jun and Emi founded their own shop after they discovered their mutual love for coffee — Photo by Athena Lam

The cafe has a few outlets available for remote work, but no Wi-Fi. Seat options include benches, bar stools with counters or on a communal table, and the usual cafe two-seater table.

glitch coffee 4/4 seasons coffee

Individual seats at All Seasons Coffee — Photo by Athena Lam

The place has a steady stream of patrons in the morning, but will usually have a spare seat for an individual worker. I’d recommend taking a break here to escape the crowds closer to the Shinjuku JR Station / Kabuki-cho and the department store area. Or, grab a take-out cup before you spend a sunny afternoon on the grass at Shinjuku Gyoen.

cafe remote work tokyo

Counter-ledges that are popular in Tokyo cafes — Photo by Athena Lam

Their Story / What I like About Them:

all seasons coffee shinjuku

Remote work seat options include a long bar table — Photo by Athena Lam

All Seasons Coffee was founded by two passionate coffee lovers in their mid-twenties: Jun and Emi. Jun discovered the taste of single origin coffee on a visit to Tokyo and wanted to work at a cafe. That cafe manager hired Jun, who at the time was a furniture maker in another city.

glitch coffee 4/4 seasons coffee

Four Seasons serves local roasters as well as in-house roasts — Photo by Athena Lam

Jun’s mentor later became the founder of Glitch Coffee Roasters in Jimbocho, which is why you will always have at least one of their roasts to choose from. All Seasons has developed its in-house roasting lines and they document the origins and profiles of the beans (unfortunately only in Japanese). Jun speaks some English, so ask questions if you have any!

espresso all seasons coffee

Espresso options also available — Photo by Athena Lam

Good For:

  • Coffee: Pour over and espresso
  • Food: Pastries
  • Cafe Space: Seats about 15
  • Friends: Hangouts, catching up, work
  • Workspace: Communal table, individual coffee tables, and 2-person tables, wall counters
  • Remote Work: A few outlets available (no Wi-Fi)
Address:  〒160-0022 東京都新宿区新宿2-7-7
2-7-7 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Website:  Website / Facebook
Hours: (Check if it’s at the Impact Hub)
営業日 [無休]
Weekdays: 8:00 – 20:00 平日
Weekends: 10:00 – 19:00 週末

If you liked this post, check out my list of Off-Centre Tokyo Cafes.

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Bridge Coffee Little Nap Coffee

Tokyo Cafes: Bridge Coffee & Ice Cream (Asakusa)

A review of an independent cafe, Bridge Coffee & Icecream in Kappabashi, close to Asakusa, 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.

Bridge Coffee Little Nap Coffee

Happily finished espressos — Photo by Athena Lam

Cafe Overview:

Bridge Coffee Little Nap Coffee

Bridge coffee is close to Asakusa and Kappabashi Kitchen Town — Photo by Athena Lam

Once the underbelly of Tokyo, Taito Ward is now home to two of the city’s most famous attractions: Ueno Park and Asakusa’s Sensoji. The area that had once been known for teahouses, a euphemism for the Edo brothel area known as Yoshiwara, has recently seen a mushrooming of independent cafes.

I stumbled upon Bridge Coffee one day while roaming through the nondescript grid speckled with corner stores and weary mom and pop shops. The wooden sign that said coffee made me do a double take into what looked like a designer studio.

bridge coffee kappabashi tokyo

The place has a cafe, event area, and office — Photo by Athena Lam

Inside the unassuming facade is a cavernous upscale modern industrial space. It’s the type of space one expects to be filled in central, commercial districts. Except, it isn’t. Instead, one or two people trickle in and lounge around, making this an ideal workspace. Plugs are available on the walls, but there is no Wi-Fi.

bridge coffee kappabashi tokyo

High ceilings set it apart from most other cafes in Tokyo — Photo by Athena Lam

Bridge Coffee doesn’t roast in-house. Instead, they serve espressos made with beans from Little Nap Coffee Stand in Shibuya. I couldn’t manage a hot coffee in the heat and opted for an iced one (without syrup). It was delicious. Cold brew fans may blast me for saying this, but the ratio of water and ice they added to the espresso shot made the drink just as flavourful as the 8-hour method. The savoury flavours were not watered down and the slight variation in temperature also gave the drink a slightly tea-like aroma.

I wouldn’t hesitate to come back and try the hot espressos.

bridge coffee kappabashi tokyo

Iced coffee after walking through a sultry summer day — Photo by Athena Lam

Their Story / What I like About Them:

bridge coffee kappabashi tokyo

Remote work options include long table, individual seats, and bench tables — Photo by Athena Lam

Bridge Coffee is a mixed space, with architecture firm at the back, an event area upstairs, and a cafe section that faces the street. The three spaces are distinct, but contribute to the spacious whole. For one thing, if remote working, having other people at the back doing the same adds to my productivity! Faro Coffee in Bunkyo Ward also has a similar concept.

bridge coffee kappabashi tokyo

View from the upper meeting room area — Photo by Athena Lam

Good For:

  • Coffee: Espresso
  • Food: Pastries, meals
  • Cafe Space: Seats about 20 people, with an upstairs area available for rent
  • Friends: Hangouts, catching up
  • Workspace: Long table, individual tables, counter with benches
  • Remote Work: Plugs available
Address:  〒111-0036 東京都台東区松が谷3-1-12
3-1-12 Matsugaya, Taito, Tokyo
Website:  Website / Facebook
Hours:
Closed Tues, Wed
営業日 [火・水 定休日]
Mon, Thurs-Sun: 10:00-10:00 木〜月

If you liked this post, check out my list of Off-Centre Tokyo Cafes.

Tokyo
tokyo latte art

Tokyo Cafes: Davide Coffee Shop

A review of an independent cafe, Davide Coffee Shop, close to Asakusa and Kappabashi in 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.

tokyo latte art

Latte — Photo by Athena Lam

Cafe Overview:

Davide Coffee Shop Iriya

Davide Coffee Shop is located in Taito between Ueno and Asakusa — Photo by Athena Lam

Iriya is a lost corner of Tokyo. The low-rise blocks between Ueno and Asakusa look like any other part of concrete Tokyo. More informed locals may know about the yakuza meetings that occasionally happen here and notice some boarded up and rusted window frames. Iriya is also as ghetto as Tokyo gets and is where many homeless and borderline poverty elderly live. None of it is apparent.

Instead, most people will notice the activity at Kappabashi, Tokyo’s kitchen town. Walk about 10 minutes North, and you’ll encounter the retro-diner place that makes you take a double take. Under the red Davide neon letters one reads Coffee Shop.

Latte espresso Davide Coffee shop

The space doubles as bar and cafe with a retro spin — Photo by Athena Lam

I first came across Davide while cycling and only revisited months later on a weekend. Even in the early afternoon, I was the only patron along with my friend. I suspect the place becomes more crowded in the evening as a bar.

Davide Coffee Shop Iriya

Seats about 11 people in the cafe — Photo by Athena Lam

Davide is a serious coffee shop though. Davide’s epresso blend is a rich, slightly acidic mixture and the milk is well frothed. I would not think twice about returning for the latte. I also ordered the affogato, which was delicious. The acidic espresso shot was yummy irrespective of what ratio of ice cream I mixed it with.

davide coffee shop affogato

Affogato — Photo by Athena Lam

I noticed 2 plugs in the downstairs area, but the upstairs loft doesn’t have plugs. My friend and I hung out all afternoon upstairs, which was a cozy private corner with a great view of the street and common area below. The raised ledge is also great for piling notebooks and other things to not clutter the workspace.

Davide Coffee Shop Iriya

The upstairs seating area — Photo by Athena Lam

Their Story / What I like About Them:

spiderman la cimbali davide coffee shop

A collection of Americana by the owner-operator who speaks fluent English — Photo by Athena Lam

I don’t know the story behind the name Davide, but the owner-operator seems to have spent time in the US. He speaks excellent English, if with a slightly aloof demeanor (he’s much more friendly in Japanese). This random American-inspired outpost is a welcome remote work watering hole for people who (like me) prefer wandering off the beaten coffee paths in Shibuya.

davide coffee shop iriya

— Photo by Athena Lam

The bar seems like a saloon, while one corner has a handful of books and hanging t-shirts for sale. By the time I left in the late afternoon, the cafe had filled out downstairs. A few visitors seem like regulars hanging out at the counter. Also, the cafe seems to attract people who sport trench coats and fedoras… if that’s your thing!

davide coffee shop interior

People watching from above — Photo by Athena Lam

Good For:

  • Coffee: Espresso
  • Food: Soup, light meal (after 5pm)
  • Cafe Space: 11 seats, 2 levels
  • Friends: Hangouts, catching up, work
  • Workspace: High tables and upstairs counter
  • Remote Work: 2 outlets downstairs
Address:  〒110-0013 東京都台東区入谷2-3-1
2-3-1 Iriya, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Website:  Facebook
Hours: (Closed Mondays)
営業日 [月]
Tues – Sat : 11:00 – 22:00 火〜土
Sun: 11:00 – 19:00 日

If you liked this post, check out my list of Off-Centre Tokyo Cafes.

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Kissaten Chatei Hatou Shibuya

Tokyo Cafes: Chatei Hatou

A review of an independent coffeehouse, Chatei Hatou in Shibuya, 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.

Kissaten Chatei Hatou Shibuya

Aged Coffee takes 20 minutes to make — Photo by Athena Lam

Cafe Overview:

Chatei hatou shibuya tokyo kissaten

Entrance to Chatei Hatou — Photo by Athena Lam

Located about a 5-minute walk from Shibuya Metro station, Chatei Hatou sits on a small slope flanked by restaurants with opaque entrances. Only the intentional patrons looking for its black wooden door would push it open.

Chatei hatou shibuya tokyo kissaten

Arrive early on the weekend if you want a quiet setting — Photo by Athena Lam

The open space, with its long counter and L-shaped seating area, takes the first-time visitor aback. How can a place this big, and yet cozy, be sitting in the heart of Shibuya’s frenetic lights, crowds, and fashion boutiques? I’ve come on more than one occasion, and my advice for a digital nomad with time is to arrive right when it opens, preferably on a weekday just to experience the surreal tranquility of being the first patron.

Chatei hatou shibuya tokyo kissaten

Studio Ghibli-like decore and ambiance — Photo by Athena Lam

This kissaten, Japanese coffeehouse, has a whiff of Hayao Miyazaki romanticism — perhaps because of the potted tree stretching its glorious branches in the cavernous space, or perhaps because of the rows of china along the shelves. Or perhaps it’s more like a living museum from the turn of the century with its rosewood display cases, lamps, and vintage LV suitcase casually on display.

Chatei hatou shibuya tokyo kissaten

The first customers trickle in soon after Chatei Hatei opens in the late morning — Photo by Athena Lam

For digital nomads and remote workers, this space is friendly. On more than one occasion, I’ve found professors with their papers spread on a corner table and a laptop sitting on a table with slides open and a deal to be closed. Even the scruffy students with noise cancelling headphones feel relaxed enough to leave their textbooks on the table as they type furiously away. I saw plugs in several corner spots, but be strategic with your seats!

But, let me move on to the coffee.

Chatei hatou shibuya tokyo kissaten

Simultaneous coffee and coffee cocktail orders — Photo by Athena Lam

Frankly, kissaten coffee is usually only alright. Chatei Hatou has one drink that I come back specifically for: the aged coffee that requires 20 minutes to brew. You’ll see the process in the next few photos.

Chatei hatou shibuya tokyo kissaten

The Master making their signature aged coffee — Photo by Athena Lam

Counter to popular coffee literature about freshly roasted beans being consumed between 48-hours and 14 days of roasting, some schools of kissaten thought believe in intentionally aged coffee. Either way, Chatei Hatou’s resulting drink is virtually like an espresso — perhaps even stronger, but smoother and without the acidity.

Chatei hatou shibuya tokyo kissaten

The aged coffee takes 20 minutes to make — Photo by Athena Lam

To fully enjoy one, I would suggest taking a counter seat so you can watch the brewing process. Out of respect for the Master (barista), I would suggest not pulling out a laptop in front of him, although there is no explicit rule about it. Books are fine.

Aged coffee is made with a dribble of water that cannot be rushed, and a lot of beans.

Chatei hatou shibuya tokyo kissaten

Cup sizes for every type of drink  — Photo by Athena Lam

The resulting aged coffee drink is about 1/2 the size of an ordinary blended coffee drink. Note also that Chatei Hatou has an extensive coffee menu, but the drinks I remember are the original blend and Vienna coffee (hot or iced).

Many patrons also like ordering the tea, as the name chatei actually means teahouse.

kissaten matcha greentea cake

Cake selection includes greentea matcha and banana chocolate — Photo by Athena Lam

I’d also recommend trying coffee with a cake. Cake options include chiffon cake (cinnamon, matcha), rare cheese cake, squash pudding, and one time I had a banana chocolate cake as well. The simple desserts compliment the simple, dark and smokey coffee. Though brewed entirely differently, my closest comparison for kissaten coffee is burner coffee, mostly because it is often a dark roast, with very smokey flavours and smooth profile. Kissaten coffee is almost the opposite of the fruity, layered tea-like pour-over coffees more typical of Third-Wave cafes.

Chatei hatou shibuya tokyo kissaten

Seating in different corners throughout the  — Photo by Athena Lam

In addition to the counter, visitors can take a pic from 4 and 2 person tables as well as two oval tables. Even though the cafe fills up in the afternoons, the noise level remains at a lively ambience. Corner spots or seats behind displays are generally still quiet.

Note that this cafe is smoking-friendly and often will have an individual who enjoys lighting up a cigarette with his coffee.

Chatei hatou shibuya tokyo kissaten

Quiet corners and individual tables have outlets for work — Photo by Athena Lam

Their Story / What I like About Them:

Chatei hatou shibuya tokyo kissaten

A cafe au lait (I think)  — Photo by Athena Lam

Unfortunately, the top Google search results for Chatei Hatou in English and Japanese return association to Blue Bottle Coffee’s James Freeman, who credits the kissaten for inspiring his brand of coffee over twenty years ago. I’m glad I didn’t know about this association when I first tried this place and was free of expectations.

Instead, I just enjoyed scanning the display cases, watching the patrons, and noting down brewing techniques from the Master, Taguchi-san, with his immaculate white shirt and pinned tie.

Chatei hatou shibuya tokyo kissaten

Iced milk coffee (I think) — Photo by Athena Lam

Fortunately, many of the details that create Chatei Hatou’s immediate charm are typical of higher-end kissatenTeijimaya Coffee, one of my favourites at Shinjuku’s Omoideyokocho (Yakitori Alley), also has a polished wooden interior, an extensive china collection, and a curated collection of heritage display items. So what makes Chatei Hatou worth returning to in a city with an endless list of cafes to visit?

Chatei hatou shibuya tokyo kissaten

Preparing their fresh chocolate and banana cakes after opening — Photo by Athena Lam

Some people may point to the extensive menu. Some will describe the artful preparation of each individual drink item, which may require just water, or pre-iced coffee, or cream, or smashed ice.

Chatei hatou shibuya tokyo kissaten

Details — Photo by Athena Lam

I think what keeps me returning is the transparency. When I arrive a few minutes early, the staff let me in anyway as they go about their final preparations. In the morning hours, the professionalism is most apparent. As the only guest who is in no visible rush, the staff do their tasks without pretense. I watch as their eyes occasionally furrow with concentration at smoothing out a cake, but more often with I see their relaxed focus they take out items and put away others to speed up serving time without compromising drink quality.

Small moments like these define Chatei Hatou for me: just another coffeehouse. It just happens to be a great one.

Chatei hatou shibuya tokyo kissaten

Many display items collected over the years have become antiques — Photo by Athena Lam

Good For:

  • Coffee: Pour over (their specialty is aged coffee)
  • Food: Pastries, cakes
  • Cafe Space: About 40 seats. Smoking friendly.
  • Friends: Hangouts, catching up, readings
  • Workspace: counter table, big group round table, individual tables
  • Remote Work: Bring your own pocket WiFi, plugs available
Address:  〒 150-0002 東京都渋谷区渋谷1-15-19
1 Chome-15-19 Shibuya, Shibuya, Tokyo
Website:  Facebook
Hours:

営業日 [無休]

Daily: 11:00-23:00 月〜日

If you liked this post, check out my list of Off-Centre Tokyo Cafes.

Tokyo
snow beans coffee shinagawa

Tokyo Cafes: Snow Beans Coffee

A review of an independent coffee roaster, Snow Beans Coffee in Shinagawa, 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.

snow beans coffee shinagawa

“Asian” latte art — Photo by Athena Lam

Cafe Overview:

snow beans coffee shinagawa

Snow Beans Coffee opened in mid-2016 — Photo by Athena Lam

Opened in June 2016, Snow Beans Coffee sits in a new development area between Gotanda and Shinagawa.

snow beans coffee shinagawa

Outside patio seating in a new development area — Photo by Athena Lam

When I arrived, about half the seats were taken by couples out on a sunny weekend and young families. Every minute or two, families with strollers would stop at the entrance and consider walking through the sliding doors. In warmer weather, the patio would have been a lovely place to people watch.

snow beans coffee shinagawa

Single origin beans can be brewed with a filter or french press — Photo by Athena Lam

For people looking to work, you’ll spot plug and Wi-Fi stickers on the sliding door you walk through. Plugs are located discretely under the booth seats and at least one visitor was working for a few hours.

snow beans coffee shinagawa

The cafe advertises itself as remote work friendly– Photo by Athena Lam

The cafe seats close to 30 people indoors and is brightly lit with its wall of windows facing the street. Visitors can choose between people watching, barista watching, or individual tables for a catch up with friends. The patio outside can accommodate two groups.

snow beans coffee shinagawa

Wi-Fi is available and plugs are under the booths — Photo by Athena Lam

The cafe roasts its beans in-house in a small glass room beside the entrance. Personally, I would recommend their single origin beans over the latte I ordered. The menu is in Japanese, but the staff are friendly and try to use single word descriptions for flavours in English. I would suggest using a photo translator because the names of the beans are also written in Japanese. Single origin beans can be prepared either with a filter or french press.

tokyo japadog

Keema Curry Japadog is bigger than ordinary Japanese size — Photo by Athena Lam

For those who have the nibbles, I also recommend the hot dogs, or what North Americans would call Japadogs. I had a Curry hot dog and my friend had the roast beef. The bun can come as either a plain hot dog bun or a French baguet (with a thin, but still crunchy crust). My curry dog came with generous portions of flavourful minced pork. My friend’s roast beef was simple, with smokey semi-rare beef and lightly cooked onions.

tokyo japadog

Roast Beef Japadog has lightly cooked onions — Photo by Athena Lam

Their Story / What I like About Them:

tokyo hot chocolate

Hot chocolate comes with steamed milk to taste — Photo by Athena Lam

To be honest, I didn’t have much expectation when I first looked up the place because there was so little information and the aesthetic had a suspicious polish. I had prepared myself for a food-serving cafe that had coffee options. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The cafe’s food options are its hot dogs and a few cakes and sweets. The coffee options fill half its book.

tokyo hot chocolate

4 single origin hot chocolates with tasting notes — Photo by Athena Lam

If you go in winter, my favourite thing about this cafe was one of their four hot chocolate options. Like the coffees, the chocolates have flavour profiles, which you can look up on their website to translate from Japanese first. What you get is a decadent, thick drink best sipped with a spoon. Milk is heated on the side to dilute and sweeten to taste. The hot chocolate can also be prepared as more of a “shake”, which I assume means a mixed milk drink.

snow beans coffee shinagawa

Coffee extract for palette washing — Photo by Athena Lam

I’ll close off by saying that the staff are attentive and friendly. I arrived early and they didn’t rush me to order while I waited for my friend. In addition, they offered us a small complimentary drink for cleansing our palette first.

This is a spot I’d definitely return.

snow beans coffee shinagawa

Snow Beans Coffee roasts in-house — Photo by Athena Lam

 

Good For:

  • Coffee: Pour over, French press, espresso
  • Food: Hot dogs, shaved ice, cakes
  • Cafe Space: About 40
  • Friends: Hangouts, catching up, readings
  • Workspace: Window counter, bar counter, individual tables, group tables
  • Remote Work: Wi-Fi & Plugs available
Address:  〒141-0001 東京都品川区北品川5-3-1 パークシティ大崎 ザ タワー 103
5-3-1 Kitashinagawa, Shinagawa, Tokyo
Website:  WebsiteFacebook
Hours:

営業日 [無休]

Daily: 7:30-22:00 月〜日

If you liked this post, check out my list of Off-Centre Tokyo Cafes.

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single origin coffee tokyo

Tokyo Cafes: Mighty Steps Coffee Stop

A review of an independent cafe, Mighty Steps Coffee Stop, in Nihonbashi, Central 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.

single origin coffee tokyo

Single origin roasts available — Photo by Athena Lam

Cafe Overview:

Mighty Steps Coffee Stand

Mighty Steps Coffee Stop is in central Nihonbashi, close to Mitsukoshi — Photo by Athena Lam

When people say Nihonbashi, one doesn’t think of cafes: office-workers, yes; department stores, plenty. For history buffs, Nihonbashi has significance as the origin of Edo Tokyo’s official trade routes. That is all to say, how can independent coffee shops survive? Well, survive one of them does. Mighty Steps Coffee Stop has been around since the summer of 2014.

Mighty Steps Coffee Stand

Espresso machine for lattes — Photo by Athena Lam

The founder, Ishii-san, got interested in coffee after meeting the founder of ARiSE Coffee Roasters. The concept of Mighty Steps is to make coffee accessible to anyone in any way – take out or dine-in, with ice cream and milk or single-origin and black.

Hand drip coffee Nihonbashi

Single origin pour-over and espresso options available — Photo by Athena Lam

Being full from lunch, I ordered a black coffee to help digest while settling in for a few hours of remote work. Two plugs are by the window and two more are by the back wall with counter seats. The row of seats along the wall are lounge-sofas with individual coffee side tables. The baristas were understanding of my plugging in my laptop, pocket wi-fi and phone to set up my workstation for the entire afternoon. Wi-Fi is also available.

remote work tokyo cafe

The cafe is remote-work friendly with Wi-Fi and plugs — Photo by Athena Lam

The cafe is quite small, but many of the groups that drop by end up getting take-out. I think finding a seat for one person on a weekday shouldn’t be a problem.

Also, if you order an ice cream and coffee, the drink and snack will come together on a delightful tray. As it was, I enjoyed my single origin roast. Admittedly, I got too caught up in work and allowed it to go cold before finishing, which made it no less enjoyable!

independent coffee cafe nihonbashi tokyo

Seats about 10 people — Photo by Athena Lam

Their Story / What I like About Them:

mighty steps coffee nihonbashi

The cafe is meant to give a boutique hotel lobby ambience — Photo by Athena Lam

Although I didn’t meet Ishii-san, interviews say that he had envisioned the cafe to feel like the lobby of a boutique hotel. The mixture of exposed brick and high wooden rafters makes the cafe space a welcome revitalization of the older free-standing house it sits in. The back counter feels like a workshop with its coffee-related tools hanging and free-standing.

Hand drip coffee Nihonbashi

— Photo by Athena Lam

All in all, I would definitely come here again for a focused space to work.

independent cafe tokyo nihonbashi

Side tables add a cozy, personal touch. — Photo by Athena Lam

Good For:

  • Coffee: Espresso, single-origin pour over. Beans from Heart Coffee in Portland, USA.
  • Food: Ice cream! (and other pastries)
  • Cafe Space: Seats about 8-10 people with individual coffee tables along a wall
  • Friends: Hanging out
  • Workspace: Individual coffee-tables
  • Remote Work: Plugs available, Wi-Fi available
Address:  〒103-0023東京都中央区日本橋4-3-14
4-3-14 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Website:  Facebook
Hours:

営業日 [無休]

Weekdays: 11:00-22:.00 平日
Weekends / Holidays: 10:00-19:00 土日祝

If you liked this post, check out my list of Off-Centre Tokyo Cafes.

Tokyo
shinjuku independent cafe

Tokyo Cafes: Verve Coffee (Shinjuku)

A review of an independent coffee roaster, Verve Coffee Roasters in Shinjuku 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.

 v

Gibraltar at Verve Coffee — Photo by Athena Lam

Cafe Overview:

Verve coffee shinjuku

So far, not too busy despite being at Tokyo’s busiest train station — Photo by Athena Lam

Verve Coffee Roasters recently opened in the NeWoman building above Shinjuku Station — one of the first independent cafes to open at such a convenient location. The cafe is on the same level as the coach buses, above the ground floor and in a covered area.

Verve coffee shinjuku

Verve is on the street / overpass level of NeWoMan (coach bus) building at Shinjuku — Photo by Athena Lam

I didn’t check if the place has Wi-Fi, but the two walls have 2 plugs for people working by the windows. A note for remote working that the counters are quite narrow, so the central bar table is a better bet if you have a large computer.

Verve coffee shinjuku

The cafe has a few corner plugs — Photo by Athena Lam

As for the drinks, Verve Coffee has single origin beans made with a Kalita Wave or espressos made on the customized Kees van der Westen espresso machine. The espresso menu even has a Gibraltar, which is what I ordered. Nitro brew is also available and Tokyo has a Japan-only Latte Valencia drink.

Verve coffee shinjuku

Pour over single-origins and espressos available  Photo by Athena Lam

The latte art is inconsistent, as one Gibraltar we got was much more photogenic than the other. However, the extraction was decent and the beans have a nice golden acidic note that mixed nicely with the warm milk and wet foam.

Verve coffee shinjuku

Coffee is always better with doughnuts 😛 (like 49th Parallel) — Photo by Athena Lam

The gourmand’s version of the coffee and doughnuts classic is available as well. Camden’s Blue Star Donuts is also a Japan branch of the Portland-original chain.

Their Story / What I like About Them:

Verve coffee shinjuku

Verve Coffee has a “seed to cup” philosophy — Photo by Athena Lam

Verve Coffee is an independent roaster from Santa Cruz, California, that believes in bean-to-cup continuity — aka direct trade coffee. Direct trade coffee is better than Fair Trade because the farmers get 100% reward for their beans, which provides incentive and positive feedback for quality. The company’s blog has one video of some of their bean production, but there isn’t much other information about the farms they work with.

Verve coffee shinjuku

The independent roaster is from Santa Cruz, California — Photo by Athena Lam

Perhaps Verve’s two greatest virtues are its convenience above Shinjuku Station and that it serves decaf, since most places in Tokyo don’t. I’m glad to see more and more independent coffee options around this commercial area.

Verve coffee shinjuku

Decaf coffee beans are available — Photo by Athena Lam

Good For:

  • Coffee: Pour over & Espresso, decaf available
  • Food: Pastries, doughnuts
  • Cafe Space: About 15 seats + standing spots
  • Friends: Quick catch up
  • Workspace: Counters, one long table
  • Remote Work: Bring your own pocket WiFi, plugs available
Address:  〒151-0051 東京都渋谷区千駄ヶ谷5-24 55 NEWoMan新宿
NEWoMan Shinjuku 5-24-55, Sendagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo
Website:  WebsiteFacebook
Hours:

営業日 [無休]

Daily: 8:00-22:00 月〜日

If you liked this post, check out my list of Off-Centre Tokyo Cafes.

Tokyo