Niseko, Kyoto, and Tokyo - Page 2

Talk about your favorite cafes, local barista events, or plan your own get-together.
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#11: Post by Blaine »

MNate, in Seoul, Coffee Nap Roasters is phenomenal. It's a bit out of the way, but worth the visit.

SooSoo Coffee and Felt Coffee are also worth visiting, and have multiple locations in Seoul.

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#12: Post by ral-foto »

In Kyoto, Latte Art Junkies, roaster (husband and wife), and a great little cafe. I think much nicer than the typical US branches that are also in Kyoto.
In Tokyo near Temachi station-Passage Coffee, great little spot , and wonderful service

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#13: Post by hankua »

MNate wrote:
Also Seoul, if anyone had thoughts there, which could be a different post, I guess.
I have family working at Bean Brothers in the roastery and get samples over the holidays. Their coffee is very much like higher end specialty coffee in the US. Bean Brothers has multiple locations in Seoul.

Going to Tokyo myself in December, good timing for me as well.

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#14: Post by LBIespresso (original poster) »

hankua wrote:
Going to Tokyo myself in December, good timing for me as well.
Excellent! Enjoy and please report back!
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#15: Post by caeffe »

Just returned from a Tokyo/Kyoto trip

If you can make time - walk around in the Ebisugawa area - near the Nijo Castle and the Kyoto Gyoen National Garden (although I didn't visit these 2 places, mentioning it as a frame of reference). Nice peaceful walk away from the helter skelter of Gion/Pontocho.

If you go to the Kurasu Ebisugawa, within a 15 min walk radius around it are a few craftsman shops, vintage furniture, used records (vinyl, pre-CD era), boulangeries, etc.... Saw a shop that made glass slippers.

Sorry, not coffee related but tangential to it :) We found this Tea House - Zen Kashoin; get the afternoon tea set. You'll be able to sit and view a mini zen garden while having some sweets and tea. Also, not far from Kurasu is Ippodo Tea, known for their green tea.

As far as boulangeries: Liberte Boulangerie and Kurs near the Tea House I mentioned above.

There is also a Kurasu in Tokyo which my brother went to pre-pandemic and purchased an Origami brewer as a gift to me. It was more than year later before he gave me the gift (due to Covid and other reasons) and he also gave me a bag of their beans. Although it was more than year old (unopened, vacuum sealed) it still made a delicious pourover (using the Origami brewer) and espresso! with crema! So I can definitely recommend Kurasu! I didn't see an espresso machine in the Ebisugawa store so had a couple of pourovers, 1 hot and 1 iced.
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#16: Post by ShotClock »

I've spent a fairly large amount of time in Tokyo, and a bit of time elsewhere in Japan. I never had a fantastic coffee, but never really had opportunity to seek it out. The local taste seems like dark roasted filter coffee, similar to the US. There are a fair number of nano roasters, that roast what you like while you wait, but I never found anything notable.

I would *highly* recommend the bakery culture though. Amazing pastries, donuts etc on almost every street. Probably as good as any country I've been to except maybe Germany. Not expected at all...

Ramen is also quite spectacular, as is seafood. I've found great restaurants by looking for queues and joining them. Ordering random foods with no Japanese is quite exciting, had many spectacular meals. Once had a 50 course Yakitori meal - nothing but chicken - quite incredible though, and took several hours to eat. Probably the best food of any country I've been to, and excellent value for money.

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#17: Post by MNate »

Our Seoul and Sapporo legs of our trip are done and we are now in Tokyo. The biggest coffee challenge is that in none of these spots do coffee shops open before 10a! (The ubiquitous Starbucks being almost the only exception). That has made it really tough to fit them in our schedule. Plus in Tokyo it's New Years and some places aren't open for several days. But I did try a few things:

Seoul: I'd really recommend Cafe Onion Anguk
First, it opens early. Second, it's just a block from the Changdeokgung Palace which many of us tourists will hit. Plus the pastries are good. And the coffee was really great. We went two days in a row. I always order flat whites and we could even tell without asking that it was a nice Yirgacheffe that was very pleasant.

And on the other extreme was Coffee Hanyakbang which was just across from our hotel. It occupied two buildings down a small alley, one for desserts and one for coffee though you could sit in either. The desserts were just ok and the coffee was overly dark but the atmosphere was very interesting and worth it.

And a note too... at both these places we finally learned that you find a table first and then go up to order (also seems common in Japan) which is the opposite of decorum in the US.

So we're having fun anyway, even if we aren't getting to fill our days with coffee.

Oh, we also skied at Rusutsu (around the mountain from Niseko) and had a nice drink at the Neve Cafe (my daughter is named Neve so we had to try it). But I really didn't trust it so I ordered a caramel macchiato and it was the best one I've had in forever because it wasn't nearly as sweet as in the States and the espresso didn't seem as bitter either. Nice setting too.

Thanks for the cafe tips, even if we haven't been able to try them all! I'm sure I'll get to a few as this week unfolds.

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#18: Post by LBIespresso (original poster) »

That's great Nate! Please let us know what you like in Tokyo.
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#19: Post by vecchi della seattle »

For the vacuum pot experience and a taste of the post war jazz Americana world you could try Takagiya
Coffee Club 高木屋 in Kyoto. It was around the corner from our AirBnB and highly memorable.

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#20: Post by MNate »

Only got coffee twice in Tokyo by nature of New Years closing and the late day regular openings. One we just happened upon that had a Slayer, great latte art, and blaring country music but it was a very dark roast and I almost didn't finish it.

But Glitch Ginza was very very good. A different experience, more like they want you to do a coffee tasting of the 10-12 beans they had on hand. This, combined with only a dozen seats and basically no one doing take-out, made for an extremely slow, long line.

So make time for it when you come but it was great. When it's finally your turn to get inside you stand in front of their selection and they start in with "No dark roast, only single origin, and especially alternative processing methods" (all with great English). Prices are listed for the brew or buying the beans and ranged from $1000-3500 per cup- it doesn't seem to matter if you get it pour over or espresso or latte or whatever.

I ordered a macchiato from one of their Colombians that they had two processing methods from the same farm and sat down. It came shortly with a glass of water in a nice cup- no latte art as I rather imagine they look at that with disdain, but good milk texture anyway. They give you a card with tasting notes as well.

And they tell you if you order another cup of something there will be a discount. So after slowly enjoying my first cup I got a second to go to take to my wife who, smartly, didn't want to wait there with the kids. The second one I the same bean but different process and they were both interesting and good.

A nice experience! Nearly as good as what I had in the best places around the world (Scandinavia, Australia, US) but the experience maybe puts it above the rest.