With the endless sprawl of trains, city skyscrapers and millions of people, it's easy to understand why some may feel overwhelmed. And with all the things to see and do, it might just be easier to go with the flow and straight into your closest maid cafe.
But nobody wants a watery foamy brew for their staple… no matter how kawaii you find that little rabbit umbrella on the top. The truth is, the first week, you will likely enjoy the novelty of the little pods of cream that come with totally different strengths of coffee (varying from coffee tea, to stroke strength) but after an extended time, if you love your coffee, soon you will be looking for more.
As a homegrown Melburnian, I'm pleased to report that Japan is well on it's way into a very promising caffeine laced future. Having spent the past year there, I can honestly say that there are many cafes that not only rivalled, but perfected the Melbourne coffee scene in their very own way.
Oh yes, I know other places in the world make good coffee, but I'm talking about great coffee. I'm talking about the baristas pumping out perfectly golden shots of crema every time, from little cozy places that feel like home.
I'm talking about the difference between pressing a button and someone who has spent weeks working out what grinder setting will make their customer the best shot of coffee and months perfecting their micro foam.
This gem was our little local for a while. Consistently fabulous coffee in an exceedingly cozy setting in Asakusa. The barista spoke excellent English and was patient and friendly when I attempted my feeble Japanese. It's a hard pick, but I would still vote February as my favourite coffee in Japan. For tis the sort of delightful coffee that so often calls not for one, but for two.
A warm wee knothole by the railway, with a passion for the brew. This one was a bit of a walk from our place and about halfway there, I'd always start hating my life choices and wondering why on earth I was in walking in the rain for 40 minutes just for a coffee. Of course, I always remembered why the minute I walked through the door, as the heady aroma of freshly ground coffee hit me full force. A full bodied and unique blend made with love and skill.
Lattest didn't have the well filled buzz of some of the other cafes when I first found it, but after a crazy day of wandering through the busy Shibuya streets, it had been exactly what I was looking for, even if I had no idea about the coffee. I was thrilled to discover that my spidey sense was on point and I had once again stumbled across a simply divine little cafe. Open and bright with that modern Japanese minimalist style, the only negative will be that the quiet wont last, for the coffee's too good.
In terms of location, my favourite. Tucked away between the friendly houses of a residential part of Shibuya, it really is a precious find. I had many a coffee sitting here staring out the window as the cherry tree outside came into bloom. Coffee is strong and unapologetic, but very well balanced.
The location means you'll probably have to fight the crowds for this one, but if you avoid peak times, then you might just find a quiet corner. The cafe itself is very sleek. Cool dark tones and a very pleasing blend of coffee.
I've often thought the Japanese are the sort of people who turn whatever they touch into gold and the new coffee wave cross Japan is no different. In the end, as I've always suspected, passion and dedication will always provide results a cut above the rest.