Omotesando Koffee

Food & Drink - December 10th, 2012

Omotesando Koffee may serve you the best espresso you have in your life. That is, if you can find the place.

Somehow in Tokyo, often the best-tasting coffee comes with cold customer service and some strict rules about not taking photos or talking. Enough with the pretentiousness: here’s a place for when you just want a great cup of coffee without feeling stressed out about so-called cafe rules.

Omotesando Koffee is a most laid-back, friendly cafe with pretty damn good espresso. If you love coffee, you probably already know that place and cringe at the sight of people talking it up – but this place is too good to be kept hidden forever, and us discerning Tokyoites need our regular caffeine fix in non-average surroundings.

Omotesando Koffee – no, it’s not a typo – is a tiny little coffee shop located in a house, tucked into the hilly back streets of Harajuku. The exterior of the shop is simply an old, traditional Japanese house and garden, but inside hides a sleek, minimalist aesthetic. We had the chance to be introduced to the spot last year, on a cold Sunday morning during which time the place was the latest pop-up on the scene. Now, though, it seems the place is here to stay.

The staff is warm, friendly, and very chatty; the menu is simple and straightforward and the espresso is outstanding. The selection of lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos and espresso has no frills but doesn’t really need them – each drink seems to have just the right amount of bitterness and frothy texture and the quality and attention to detail shines through.

The specially made (and designed for coffee, say the owners) cube-shaped o-kashi (snacks) are an excellent accompaniment to your drink and somehow their homemade tang fits with the aesthetic.

The traditional house does not have any seats but, if the weather agrees you can sit on the wooden bench in the garden. If not, we suggest having your coffee at the bar while chatting with the barista, who might reveal some coffee secrets if you’re lucky.

Omotesando Koffee

4-15-3 Jingumae, Shibuya (see map)

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Main image: Rollofunk on Flickr

Text by Vivian Morelli