Starbucks Blues: 6 Spectacular Cafes around Tokyo you never knew existed
Tokyo has literally hundreds of cafes hidden within her streets, however one doesn't always have the luxury of time when caffeine levels are crashing and the winding streets of Tokyo are not being as cooperative as they should be, at these time, Starbucks always seems to be the answer. Japan has a huge love affair with Starbucks, be it the stylish green cups or the free Wifi, there appears to be a Starbucks on every street corner and Station in Tokyo and growth isn't slowing down. In 2013 Starbucks was set to open up their 1,000th store in Tokyo alone!
I myself have fallen into this trap, Starbucks is just so convenient and as mentioned before, there's free WiFi, any weary travelers best friend. I can think of nothing more dangerous than searching the streets of Tokyo for the perfect cup of coffee when caffeine levels are low and Irritability levels are high. Lucky for you oh' weary coffee seeker, I have done the searching for you and placed my findings into this convenient list!
1) Komeda Coffee (コメダ珈琲)
2) Lo Spazio (ロスパッツィオ)
3) Streamer Coffee Company
Photo Plucked straight from the Streamer Coffee Company Instagram account, as my own photo did not do the latte art justice. The Streamer coffee company have franchised out massively, it can now be found in Shibuya, Harajuku, Meguro and Nihonbashi, to name just a few. Actually, there are even stores as far as Kobe, and for good reason. The streamer coffee company's coffee all come with amazingly intricate latte art but this of course wouldn't be enough to keep customers coming back. The coffee itself is simply amazing. The coffee being produced at these stores are truly all works of art, the coffee is strong with rich deep flavour, the stores even have different blends of coffee - some of which can be bought on their site - link below-. I normally frequent the branch in Shibuya as it was one of my usual haunts during international student days, the Shibuya store is always full of people making the most of the free WiFi and, seemingly, getting some serious studying done. Apple laptops galore. However, don't be intimidated by the amount of students studying, the cafe is always super lively and one may even have to fight for a good seat by the window for a little coffee and people watching.
For more about the streamer coffee company check out their Instagram at @streamercoffeecompany or visit their site below.
[ http://streamer.coffee/ ]
4) King George
King George located in 代金山(Daikinyama) and more recently 六本木 (Roppongi) is primarily a Sandwich shop which opened in 2013. This store makes the best sandwiches I've ever had. I had first visited this store which it was still in its infancy and pretty much unknown but even at that time the オシャレなカフェ(Stylish cafe) level was high. They cultivate all the sandwich ingredients themselves and take serious time and energy to make each sandwich something special, its time well spend. They treat their coffee the same way, on a hot summers day in Japan nothing beats an ice cold hand brewed Ice coffee from King George, the coffee, much like their sandwiches, have been made with the utmost care and attention to detail. Perhaps on a cold winters day you find yourself at King Georges door, fear not for their hand dripped hot coffee is something I would cross the arctic for. Not to mention all the staff who work for King George couldn't be nicer, their Instagram is a the best thing ever to follow (warning it will make you hungry) and they will reply to various comments! How Kind~Photo credit: Instagram @kinggeorgedeli
[ http://crownedcat.com/ ]
A true cafe, the menu is limited to Coffee, ice creams and various coffee snacks (cakes, brownies, cookies... etc). However, do not let that dissuade you from turning up to Bridge, the cafe is amazingly stylish without a doubt the most stylish on the list. The cafe is a short walk away from Asakusa which makes it the perfect location for any traveler who has just finished their battle around Asakusa and needs a moment to re-find their zen. Some of the baristas at Bridge do speak very good English breaking down all language barriers one might expect to find when entering a cafe in Japan. The coffee itself is divine, the baristas clearly know what they are doing in terms of coffee brewing as the coffee was without a doubt, delicious. I had ordered a latte, pictured above, but was blown away by the flavour, it blend they were using had amazingly deep chocolaty undertones which when made into a latte was simply spectacular.
[ http://brdg.jp/ ]
6) Fab Cafe
Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Shibuya's famous crossing, Fab Cafe is host to the equally famous (famously adorable) Marshmallow Latte! Fab Cafe is without a doubt my favourite cafe on this list, the cafe is far enough away from the madness of the station to not always be crowded but its close enough not to be a pain to get to. The cafes location aside, the cafe is host to an onslaught of equipment from cutting machines to textile presses, free WiFi and delicious coffee. What more does one need in a cafe around Shibuya? The cafe is host to various devices and textile machines as it appears to be the place for students in the area to go to in order to study. Because of this, one might think that the Cafe WiFi would be slightly lacking- one would thing wrong. The WiFi is super powerful, powerful enough to stream and download without any issues. The coffee is also spectacular, the Marshmallow Latte, pictured above, is one of their more famous cups of coffee so much so that it it basically their mascot. However if it is something less sweet you are after the cafe can easily provide, hosting all the types of coffee one would hope to find at a Cafe in central Tokyo. Further still the Cafe has a large menu consisting of light snacks and also full meals to keep you energized on your adventures around Tokyo.
[ Instagram:@fabcafe_tokyo ]
Brunch Kitchen (ブランチキッチン)
Only on my last visit to Kamakura did I discover this amazing cafe, hidden away in Kamakura like its greatest secret Brunch Kitchen has probably one of the greatest perks I've experienced out of all cafes on the list - Free French Toast! That is to say that with every dish you order there is also an order of French Toast that comes along with it.
Lets be honest here, it was the best french toast I've ever eaten. The almond latte was also divine but when compared to the majesty of that french toast everything else fails in comparison. I ordered a follow up coffee after my meal, Black of course as the meal had been quite sweet. The black coffee was roasted to perfection, brewed with such care, from the first sip I could tell I was in for a treat. If you have time on your travels escape the clutches of Tokyo and make your way down to Kamakura, walk on the beach, see the sites and enjoy a cup of the good stuff on me.
[ http://www.brunch-kitchen-kamakura.com/ ]
Hopefully together we can avoid the convenient clutches of Starbucks and perhaps find what other stylish cafes that Tokyo has to offer, Id love to hear what is your favourite cafe in Tokyo!