Archive for the ‘cafe’ tag
Add: 5-10-5 Minato, Minami Aoyama, Tokyo / 東京都港区南青山 5-10-5 第一九曜ビル 1F
Hours: [Mon-Fri] 8am-8pm [Sat-Sun] 9am-8pm
Price: coffee 450~750 yen
Visited: Oct 2016
Before we talk about Cobi Coffee, let’s take a look at Bloom & Branch, the select shop that houses the cafe. Bloom & Branch is a boutique with a curated selection of clothing and housewares, highlighting craftsmanship whether it’s a pair of jeans or a coffee cup. Curiously, it’s also got a shoe shine bar called “The Bar by Brift H” installed right at the center of the boutique – very stylish.
In the right corner of Bloom & Branch is Cobi Coffee, a sleek little cafe done in seasoned wood, aged brass, and copper. The seating arrangement is modeled after a Japanese tea room, where the host sits at the center and prepares tea in front of the guests. Cobi (古美) translates roughly to “beauty in age”, and this is reflected in many parts of the coffee shop, such as the beautiful copper pot and the ceramic cups in which coffee is served.
The coffee is from Obscura Coffee Roasters, and though they offer espresso drinks, the pour-over coffee prepared through a cloth filter is what they most excel at.
Add: 3-17-1 Minami-Aoyama, Minato Ku, Tokyo / 東京都港区南青山3-17-1
Price: coffee ~500 yen
Visited: Oct 2016
French music + fashion label Maison Kitsuné’s cafe in Paris used to be one of my go-to places with friends when I lived there – the outdoor seating under the green shades of Palais Royal is simply perfect on a nice day. But even before Paris, the first Cafe Kitsuné was actually opened in Tokyo back in 2013, located in the stylish Minami-Aoyama area. We explore.
The entrance is not especially noticeable to the passerbys, though most people come looking for it specifically, so it’s difficult to miss. The Tokyo cafe was transformed from a Japanese house, and much of the traditional elements have been kept intact or reinforced, such as by installing tatami and fusumi sliding doors custom-made from a 70-year-old studio in Shimbashi.
The baristas are all clad in Kitsuné fashion, and the music is likewise Kitsuné. The vibe is cool, and business is good – the space has always been filled during the few times I passed by, weekends or not.
Add: 2-14-1 Kamimeguro, Meguro, Tokyo / 東京都 目黒区 上目黒 2-14-1
Price: coffee around 500 yen
Visited: Oct 2016
This time in Tokyo, I visited Nakameguro for the first time. This neighborhood might seem a bit too quiet for those looking for the typical hustle and bustle of Tokyo, but if you, like I, enjoy wandering along small alleyways to discover the everyday life of the locals, you might really like this residential area.
And my reason for visiting Nakameguro was Onibus, a coffee shop and roaster sandwiched between a small park and train tracks. Its founder Sakao Atsushi, an architect-turned-barista, has been attracting coffee lovers from all over the world since he opened his first shop in Okusawa a few years ago, and he named the shop “Onibus” (which means public bus in Portuguese) for exactly this reason – to connect people via coffee.
The shop offers espresso-based coffee brewed on a La Marzocco Linea PB, as well as drip coffee done with Hario V60s. For drip coffee, four choices of coffee beans are available: Ethiopia, Kenya, Colombia, and Guatemala. I went with the first.
Fnji Furniture 梵几客廳
Add: No. 41 Guozijian Street, Beijing / 北京國子監街41號
Tel: 010-5367 2899
Hours: 11am-5:30pm (closed on Mon)
Price: drinks 40 RMB+, desserts 35 RMB+
Visited: Sep 2016
Bejing-based Fnji (pronoused “Fanji”) is a furniture brand founded by Chinese industrial designer Gu Qigao in 2000. His pieces, all handmade from wood, make use of the Chinese mortise and tenon joint structure, with designs that bridge between modern and traditional aesthetics. His aspiration? To make furnitures that “age alongside its owners, gaining more character over time as it is passed from one generation to the next”. I visited his showroom in Guozijian and fell head over heels for this beautiful space – it also doesn’t hurt that they have an stylish cafe and a serene courtyard nestled in the back…
The boutique showcases designs from both China and Japan, as well as works from Gu himself. The style is simple, stylish, decidedly Asian but with a modern western vibe. No photos are allowed in the showroom so you can either visit yourself and check out their designs online. For now, let’s move over to the cafe. It was very busy when I visited on a Sunday afternoon, and I was fortunate to find the last empty seats in the courtyard.
Add: No. 61 Wudaoying Hutong, Beijing / 北京東城區五道營胡同61號
Price: coffee 26 RMB+
Visited: Sep 2016
Another cafe worth recommending in Beijing is Metal Hands. Just opened this July, this little coffee shop is settled in the busy Wudaoying Hutong, not far from Barista Coffee Roasters. Mr. Ding, the owner of the cafe, has apparently been in the China coffee scene for over 10 years, and is one of the first to dedicate his time to latte art (though he wasn’t in the shop on the day of my visit).
Metal Hands is not big. The elongated space includes a bar on the right, some seats on the left, and an inner corner with skylight. Concrete walls, wooden furniture, and fresh flowers for decoration. It’s not spacious by any means, but quite comfortable nonetheless.
Elephant Grounds (Wanchai)
Add: 8 Wing Fung St. Wan Chai / 香港灣仔永豐街8號
Tel: +852 2778 2700
Price: [coffee] 30-68 HKD
Visited: Aug 2016
Occupying this much coveted corner location on Wing Fung Street is Elephant Grounds, a coffee roaster local to Hong Kong. The open store front and warm wooden tones are immediately welcoming, and the interior is equally pleasant with handcrafted furniture by Start from Zero and a custom-made moss wall installation by local plant artist Quest Terrarium. Coffee, anyone?
There is even a bowl of water for pets at the front, how thoughtful.
Add: 24-25,G/F.,Lee Tung St ,Wanchai, Hong Kong / 香港灣仔利東街G24-25號舖
Tel: +852 2601 3323
Hours: [weekday] 8am-8pm [weekend] 9am-9pm
Price: [coffee] 40~60 HKD [sweets] 18+ HKD
Visited: Aug 2016
Omotesando Koffee started out as a pop-up shop in Tokyo’s Omotesando district, situated in a tiny, traditional Japanese home. It became famed for its espressos and cube-shaped designs – logo, work station, and even pastries are cube-shaped – that it eventually stayed for 5 years, until the building became too old to sustain the shop. Cafe owner Eiichi Kunimoto then moved it to Toranomon Koffee in Tokyo’s Toranomon Hills, before he expanded to a second Omotesando Koffee in Hong Kong.
The charming surroundings of an old Japanese residential building cannot be replicated in Hong Kong’s Lee Tung Avanue, but just about everything else has been carried over, including Omotesando Koffee’s signature cube design as you can see below.
Beans are sourced from the same roaster in Tokyo, and Japanese staff members have been stationed in Hong Kong to ensure the same quality of coffee is served. Omotesando features two house blends, one is a mix of Ethiopian, Brazilian and Indonesian beans with a balanced flavor, and the second is a fruitier blend of Guatemalan and Panama beans.
さらさ西陣 Sarasa Nishijin
Add: 11-1 Higashi Fujinomori-cho, Murasakino, Kita-ku / 京都市北区紫野東藤ノ森町11-1
Hours: 12-11pm (closed on the last Wed of the month)
Price: 1,000-2,000 yen/person
Visited: Aug 2016
It was way too hot to walk around outside after our lunch at Kanei, so we decided to delay our visit to Daitokuji Temple and went into the cafe next door to cool down a bit more. I later found out that this cafe named Sarasa has 6 locations across Kyoto, and this particular one we went to in Nishijin is famous for its location inside an 80+ years old public bathhouse.
The logo, designed to resemble steam coming up from a hot spring.
Walls of the public bathhouse have been preserved, the patterned tiles rendering the space a little bit dizzying. Even the hair and make-up of the cafe staff is matching with the whole eclectic vibe.
% Arabica Kyoto
Add: (Higashiyama) 87-5 Hoshinocho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto / 京都府东山区星野町87-5
(Arashiyama)3-47 Sagatenryuji Susukinobanacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto / 京都府右京区嵯峨天龍寺芒ノ馬場町3-47
Price: 350 yen+/coffee
Visited on: Aug 2016
In September 2014, a coffee shop named “% Arabica” opened right near the beautiful Yasaka Pagoda in Kyoto, inside an old Japanese house of over 50 years old. The facade is low-key, but the stylish vibe oozing out from large window panes immediately attracts the passerby.
The entrance of the shop is a concrete replicate of the cobblestone pattern of Yasaka Street, which makes it seem like the outside pavement continues right into the shop, creating an illusion of a side street off the alleyway.
The space is elongated, with a bar on the left, coffee bean storage on the right, and a roasting area deep inside. The transparent cellar displays coffee beans meticulously selected from all over the world, and conveniently, by installing the storage required to maintain temperature and humidity for the best quality coffee beans, it was also provided the necessary support for this old house. A perfect combination of the old and new.
This Slayer espresso machine, customized especially for % Arabica, is just too beautiful. I want to learn how to make coffee just so I can use this machine. Tell me you don’t feel the same.
Add: Huashan Road (please contact below wechat for details)
Hours: reservation only
Price: hand drip coffee 50-65 RMB
Visited: May 2016
The other day at Moon Coffee I casually asked their barista A-Tang where he goes for coffee in Shanghai. After some thoughts, he told me about this “coffee bar inside an apartment building”, and without quite explaining what it is, he gave me the barista contact. Always curious about these hidden places, I made a reservation right away for a visit.
The space is located on the 2nd floor of an apartment building on Huashan Road, and only upon entering did I find out its name – “Cafe 385”. It’s a charming place with soft natural light, antique-looking furniture, and chairs that fit just right.
Behind the coffee bar is Andrew from Taiwan, who is still very fresh to Shanghai. Before this coffee venture, he was working in Sony Taiwan doing photography tutorials and sales training for DSLRs. As for coffee, he started drinking it at the age of 17, and since then has met quite a few coffee experts and afficionados. He came to China for the first time last March to attend a coffee expo, fell in love with the Former French Concession area, and decided to stay for a while.