Japan’s Best Cup Of Coffee

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FOOD: Japan’s Best Cup of Coffee

Coffee culture in Japan is booming. From aeropress to cold brew and paper drip, specialist cafes dedicated to crafting the ideal cup are drawing long queues of caffeine devotees, diligently waiting to get their hands on the perfect pick-me-up.

Read on for three cups of coffee worth the hype, from Tokyo, Kyoto and Nagoya.

1. Bear Pond Espresso, Tokyo

Since opening Bear Pond Espresso in Tokyo’s Shimokitazawa district, proprietor Katsu Tanaka has dedicated his life to perfecting a classic. Pouring passion into every cup, Tanaka’s espresso is lovingly brewed with expert knowledge garnered over 20 years in New York.

Short on space but big on reputation, expect to queue for your two-gulp caffeine hit, and be sure to turn up before 2pm, after which Tanaka refuses to make his signature espresso, claiming the shop becomes too busy to do the job properly.

Bear Pond Espresso; 2-36-12 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

2. % Arabica, Kyoto

Not only do % Arabica serve up one of Japan’s best cups of coffee, they do it in some of the most beautifully designed coffee shops in the world. Having grown up travelling the globe, founder Kenneth Shoji channels his experiences into creating a brand that encourages us to “see the world through coffee”.

Teaming up with world latte champion Junichi Yamaguchi, Shoji established his flagship store in Kyoto’s historic Higashiyama district, quickly followed by an ultra photogenic waterside cafe in Arashiyama. Since then % Arabica coffee has been springing up across the globe, and with an impressive schedule for expansion could be arriving on a street near you.

% Arabica, Kyoto; 87-5 Hoshinocho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 

3. Trunk Coffee, Nagoya.

When Tokyo-based coffee guru Eric Tessier describes a cup of coffee as one of the best he’s ever had, you know it’s going to be good. Co-owned by Yasuo Suzuki and Kiyohito Tanaka, Trunk Coffee in Nagoya takes inspiration from Scandinavian coffee culture, eschewing the tradition for industrial interiors and instead creating a brightly coloured haven as inviting as the coffee itself.

Low-key and off-the-beaten-track, Trunk is one for true coffee enthusiasts, serving up a near-perfect pour-over which tastes even better over ice as temperatures soar during the summer months.

Trunk Coffee Bar; 2-28-24 Izumi Higashi-ku Nagoya

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