Omotesando Koffee was an oasis in bustling Tokyo with its relaxed vibe and excellent coffee.
While in Tokyo, we were pleasantly surprised by the city’s love of coffee. Japan certainly has wonderful teas, but coffee is clearly popular with Tokyites of all ages. There are great coffee shops everywhere, even in the train stations. We really liked the coffee chain Beck’s for a quick latte on the go, but we fell in love with Omotesando Koffee.
We had read about the tiny coffee shop in the Omotesando neighborhood, so we headed there for an afternoon pick-me-up on our way to Harijuku. We wandered through the streets laced with hair salons and boutiques until we found the coffee oasis. The coffee shop is so small that we almost walked by it, but we found it with the help of google maps and Daryl’s eagle eye.
Without question, the coffee shop is an exercise in Japanese minimalism. It pretty much consists of a La Cimbale espresso machine, a few items for sale and a tastefully manicured garden with two benches. The cafe’s stylish yet tranquil vibe provided us with an oasis in the Tokyo megalopolis.
The owner, Eiichi Kunitomo, expertly crafts each coffee without assistants. Kunitomo honed his barista skills in Italy and Osaka, and Omotesando’s beans are specially roasted in Kyoto.
Our First Visit
On our first visit, we both chose iced cappuccinos. In an aesthetic twist, Kunitomo lightly dusted the foamy drinks with espresso powder to create a fun fuzzy layer at the top. The quality of the drinks was enhanced by the serene garden where we drank them, and the drinks energized us for the rest of the day.
Our Second Visit
On our second visit, we shared an iced mocha latte. We had to try this drink after watching Kunitomo prepare one on our first visit. The drink is a work of typical high Japanese design craftsmanship, and it’s delicious too.
Omotesando Koffee is a truly a gem.
As a disclosure, we must admit that we also enjoyed Starbucks several times on this trip, though more for the free wi-fi and refreshing frappuccinos. There are like a thousand Starbucks shops in Japan, and they have different flavors compared to Philadelphia. We fell in love with the Matcha frappuccino which is made with green tea powder, milk, ice and whipped cream. (Sadly, we just missed the seasonal Candy Orange frappucciono. We did get to sample the new seasonal Tiramisu frappuccino flavor, though we preferred the Matcha.) Prices were comparable to the states, so we shared several throughout the week. Yum!
Omotesando Koffee is now permanently closed in Tokyo. However, Kunimoto’s new location has just opened in Hong Kong. This may be bad news for Tokyo, but it’s good news for Hong Kong.