On Feb 6, Blue Bottle Coffee Company, headquartered in Oakland, California, opened its first cafe (address: 1-4-8, Hirano, Koto-ku) in Japan in Kiyosumi-Shirakawa, Tokyo. Known as the “Apple Inc. of the coffee industry,” the company is noted for receiving large amounts of investments from tech elites these past few years. When the new cafe made its opening in Japan, hundreds of people lined up to get a taste of the popular coffee.
Another thing to recognize is that the cafe is the first overseas branch for the company. The newcomer is the result of a renovated warehouse, with the coffee roaster and cafe space located on the first floor and the kitchen, training and office space on the second. Coffee beans from different countries are roasted every day to line up close to ten different kinds of coffee at all times. At the cupping space located in front of the roaster, where quality control managers and baristas taste the coffee, Michael Phillips, the winner of the 2010 World Barista Championship, offers training to the staff of the Kiyosumi and soon to open Aoyama cafes.
The fresh coffee made with beans roasted within 48 hours can be enjoyed with scrumptious homemade cookies, granola and pastries prepared in the upstairs kitchen. The modest 8-seat cafe space is designed to “attract locals and create a sensory experience of how coffee is made.”
Drip Blend (450 yen) and Single Origin (from 550 yen) coffee, along with espressos and iced coffee is available on the drink menu.
The location of the cafe is close to Ginza and the Otemachi area by train, but the atmosphere is one of its own, with a quaint charm and tourist spots such as the Kiyosumi Teien (Garden), Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and Monzen-Nakacho area. Kiyosumi-Shirakawa also boasts a variety of coffee shops including the Allpress Espresso from New Zealand and local Arise Coffee and The Cream of the Crop Coffee.
James Freeman, the founder of Blue Bottle Coffee, explains his choice for the first overseas branch. “Kiyosumi may seem like a unique choice, but actually it’s a great place for production. The neighborhood is leisurely and quiet, and the lifestyles of the locals infuse the air.” He also added that his company is greatly influenced by Japanese hospitality and Kissaten (tea/coffee) culture. A second cafe (address: 3-13-14 Minami-Aoyama Minato-ku, Tokyo) is scheduled to open in Aoyama on Mar 7.
Blue Bottle Coffee Kiyosumi Cafe
Address: 1-4-8, Hirano, Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan