Looking for some recommendations for outstanding coffee in Tokyo? Look no further. Here are some great options in some of the popular parts of town to give you that caffeine rush to keep you out of the hotel and exploring all day and night.
The guys at About Life are doing amazing things, taking a good cup of coffee to the next level. Their shop in Shibuya is owned and staffed by Onibus who source and roast the finest coffee beans from around the world. If you don’t have time to make it to Onibus in Meguro, this is a great central location to taste some of the best coffee in Tokyo. In addition to stocking Onibus beans, About Life also stocks Switch Coffee and Amameria Espresso – other big players in the local roasting scene. This gives you the chance to sample a few different local roasters in the one spot. Serving classic pour over style coffee, in addition to ‘batch-brew’ and cold brew coffee, it’s all about the nuances of black coffee here. The best part? Your second cup is half price. Hang outside and sip your first, and grab a second half price for your adventures!
Omotesando Koffee in Harajuku was one of my favourite places for coffee in Tokyo. I was devastated when the Harajuku branch shut down a few years ago. However, I was very happy to learn that in 2017, the minds behind Omotesando opened a new shop front in Shibuya, Mameya Koffee. They focus on selling beans from roasters all over Japan. There isn’t anywhere to sit down, this shop is all about sampling a few different styles of beans – espresso coffee is the go to here. If you’d like to sit down and relax, and if you prefer milk with your coffee, I suggest heading to their third branch, Toranomon Koffee. The minimalist approach and extreme attention to detail is reflected in their fit-out (Omotesando Koffee and Toranomon Koffee pictured below), and translates into every cup.
Located in the back alleys of Harajuku, this place is a great break from the hustle and bustle of Takeshitadori. Escape the crowds and grab a cup at this cute neighborhood coffee shop, where they treat you like a local.
On cat-street in Harajuku, this place is easily accessible and you likely pass it if you plan on doing some thrift shopping in Harajuku or grabbing some delicious gyoza from Harjuku Gyoza-ru. They cater to everyone’s taste here: pour over, iced-american, lattes – they have it all! I highly recommend ordering a cold drip pour over coffee from the baristas at the back. They are extremely knowledgeable and can help you choose the perfect bean to suit your preferred taste. They have heaps to choose from! From time to time they also have a limited special batch beer in collaboration with a brewery upstairs – using left over coffee grounds. Coffee Porter pictured below.
No espresso after 2pm. No photographs. Only barista/owner Katsuyuki Tanaka is allowed to make espresso. His ‘signature menu’ – no other employee is allowed to brew. Bear Pond really is an extraordinary experience. Some people love it, others hate the rules. Personally, I love it. You’re in Japan, just because it’s a little different to coffee shops at home, doesn’t make it any less worthy of your time. In fact, I urge you to seek out experiences you can’t get at home. I will say this, if you’re going to go, respect Tanaka’s rules. Do this, and you’ll be rewarded with one of the best coffees of your life.
P.s. Bear Pond is located in Shimokitazawa, a hipster quieter part of suburban Tokyo and one of my favourite areas. Definitely worth checking out and now you can grab a great cup of coffee when you’re there.
Need a beer after all that coffee? Check out my blog on the best craft beer in Tokyo.