5 Awesome Third-Wave Coffee Shops in Tokyo
Move over Starbucks and Tully’s, a new wave of coffee is beginning to surge in Japan. These so-called “third wave” coffee shops are more local and independent than their second-wave counterparts—and unlike the mass-produced coffee of the first wave, third-wave baristas take pride in using artisanal methods to brew a cup of coffee.
Streamer Coffee (Shibuya, Harajuku & Gohongi)
The baristas at Streamer Coffee are serious about their latte art—so much so that the owner, Hiroshi Sawada, became the first Asian barista to win the Free Pour Latte Art Championship in 2008. By roasting their own originally blended beans in a 40-year-old German Probat roasting machine, Streamer Coffee keeps coffee lovers and tourists coming back for more.
Fuglen Tokyo (Yoyogi-Hachiman)
Coming from the Norwegian word fuglen, meaning bird, this café specializes in traditional Norwegian brewing techniques. The shop is lavished in Norwegian design, from the coffee cups to paintings of Norway hung on the 1960s-styled walls. Transforming into a bar that stays open into the wee hours of the morning, Fuglen is sure to satisfy your Norwegian fix without forking over the cost of a plane ticket (unless, of course, you already live in Norway).
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Sarutahiko Coffee (Ebisu, Sengawa)
Despite having enough brewing equipment to do a close impersonation Professor Snape’s potion dungeon, the soft lighting and friendly staff will make any Sarutahiko customer feel welcome, as owner (and ex-actor) Tomoyuki Otsuka hopes to spread his love of coffee to his customers. Perhaps this is why Sarutahiko is named after Sarutahiko Okami, the Shinto god of strength and guidance.
The Roastery (Shibuya/Omotesando)
Brewing up eight different types of beans using a French press, The Roastery is located in a little enclave just off of Cat Street, the funky back road that connects Shibuya to Omotesando. Stand close to the barista bar while sipping a café latte, or head to the back at the bean counter and enjoy a smooth drip coffee.
Omotesando Koffee (Omotesando)
Simplistic in design with a structure similar to that of a traditional Japanese teahouse, Omotesando Koffee blends seamlessly into its residential neighborhood. Just be sure you don’t pass it by on a stroll through the area, since the coffee is to die for. Just watch out for their espressos—they pack a powerful punch!
For a few more coffee listings, Daily Coffee News offers their own take on the best coffee shops of Tokyo.