Secret Spots for Coffee Lovers in Harajuku Omotesando area

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  • Coffee is a hug in a mug, a daily companion for many. And coffee lovers wouldn’t want to walk in a coffeeshop for subpar coffee. Especially when travelling, when you need that caffeine boost more than ever, it’s important to find a list of good coffee shops that are also an experience.
    Now, you probably have heard praise of Japanese tea and not much about coffee. And Japanese people themselves were not fond of coffee when it was first brought to Nagasaki by Dutch traders around 3 centuries ago. But today, Japan is the world’s 4th largest coffee consumer! From the opening of the first coffeeshop in Ueno in 1888, Japan has come a long way and boasts excellent specialty coffee shops with educated baristas.

    coffee brewing

    We are not talking about the chains like Starbucks, Tully’s, Doutor and the like, nor about kombini coffee. Coffee lovers in search of the perfect energizing cup need something more. If you find yourself in the stylish Omotesando and Harajuku area, we have selected three coffeeshops that coffee fans absolutely adore. To top it all off, these are one-of-a-kind small and almost secret spots, away from the main streets’ hustle and bustle.

    1. KOFFEE MAMEYA

    The square black wooden minimalist entrance of Koffee Mameya is at the same time secretive and attracting curiosity. The stone garden imitation with a single bonsai-like tree opens to the side, leading to a dark and cozy coffee paradise. Hidden up a steep slope in Harajuku, the specialty coffee store is more of a place to buy beans, consult with coffee experts and taste brews.

     

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    This beloved coffee purveyor is the heir to Omotesando Koffee, same concept, same owner – Eiichi Kunitomo. With about 20 varieties of beans, expert baristas talk to you (in Japanese or English) about your coffee preferences, after which they recommend a bean variety with almost laser precision. The fact that they got it right is clear from the faces of patrons after taking their first sip.

     

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    The choice of beans changes occasionally, with new and exotic beans popping up. You can also be very selective about the darkness or lightness degree of roasting, and the coffee experts will guide you through it even if you are not familiar with coffee vocabulary. They also consult on brewing process, giving you tips and a written guide, so you can confidently recreate the flavor at home. They even host free workshops and lessons on coffee-making on weekdays from 6pm to 7pm. Don’t be afraid of the price tag, because a 150g stylish Koffee Mameya bag of freshly ground coffee beans can cost you between 1200 and 4000 yen. Definitely not breaking the bank.

    Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. (expect to line up)

    Website
    Google maps location

    2. LATTEST

     

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    What’s one word for “best latte”? Well… LATTEST! Joking aside, LATTEST’s latte would be well deserving of such a title. Their fluffy lattes feature tasty espresso shots from carefully selected beans and are served with cute latte art to top it all off. Coffee people love LATTEST for their laid-back atmosphere too, as it has a snugly spot in the backstreets of Harajuku and Omotesando, just a quick detour from the maddening crowds of the main streets.

     

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    As if the tasty coffee and stylish stripped concrete interior were not enough to lure you in, LATTEST has another layer of awesomeness. They started the café in 2012 with the aim to train and empower female baristas and have greatly succeeded.

     

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    They are not selective only about their coffee beans, but also about the quality of water they use, as it greatly affects taste and texture. From classic lattes, flavored lattes, to simple and effective espressos and cold brews, coffee geeks won’t be starved for choice. Finally, their signature drink is the eponymous LATTEST – a hot shot of espresso plunged in cold milk in a shot glass – and fans swear the taste is much richer than a normal latte. You will need to sip and see.

    Open from 10 am to 7 pm, from Monday to Sunday.

    Website (Japanese)
    Google maps location

    3. DEUS EX MACHINA

     

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    This is not your everyday coffee shop. Coffee in Deus Ex Machina is served among motorcycles and biker fashion, housing a great deal of all that is cool between its stylish black walls. The head barista, Yoshi, perfectly encapsulates the style of the café and his barista skills are quite well known. Staff is friendly and easygoing, there’s WiFi, and the atmosphere is inviting to make you linger there for a long time.

    On difficult and lazy days coffee is a true deus-ex-machina tool, served up and magically solving most of your problems. In addition to awesome coffee, there are also delicious burgers, sandwiches and salads, and chilled alcoholic beverages that are especially welcome on Friday nights when it’s party time! Hours extend to 11 pm for DJ nights at Deus Ex Machina, were among all other delectable things they also serve great music!

    Open daily from 9 am to 7 pm
    Friday nights extend into Bar Time from 7 pm to 11 pm

    Website
    Google maps location

     

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    Any of these three coffee shops will provide you not only with excellent coffee but will also let you mingle with trendy Tokyoites. Local, cool, and quite hidden, these places go above the same old touristy experiences, so make sure to give them a try. For the copious coffee drinkers, we reckon all three spots can be visited in a day – start your morning in LATTEST, buy beans from KOFFEE MAMEYA in the afternoon and circle to DEUS EX MACHINA at twilight for a cup of coffee, a bite to eat and maybe stay for their DJ nights if it’s a Friday!