As previously mentioned, I’m keen to discover a half decent coffee in Tokyo.
I’m not an expert by any means. But I know what I like. And I’ll be damned if I have to pay for and drink rubbish.
So when I started doing my online research, one place that sprang to the top of the list was Bear Pond Espresso.
It’s off-the-beaten-track but not too far from the central hub of Tokyo. Certainly within a short walking distance of the Higashi-Kitazawa Station or Shimo-Kitazawa Station which are both on the JR Line but they connect easily enough to the Tokyo metro.
The external facade of the building is nothing to look at. Simple, plain, white timber with sliding doors that contain opaque, ribbed, pale green glass.
Except for the absence of striking, bold colour, the patchwork cement floor and retro décor exudes feelings more akin to Cuba than Tokyo.
A small blackboard indicates that the “Panama” beans were roasted a couple of days ago. So I’m not far wrong.
“love me” is scrawled a couple of times on surfaces in the shop, reminiscent of blood dripping in ghoulish bright red.
My latte is served in an original jam jar rather than a regular glass or cup or mug. Cute.
Mismatched wooden stools and benches provide seating and although it’s not a big space it’s more than enough.
They also sell a variety of items including heshan carry bags, t-shirts, and Ginger or Apple Cider Syrup just to name a few.
A book called “Life is Espresso” that’s all about the shop contains a mix of both photographs and explanations about their tireless quest for quality espresso.
Perhaps that’s why it has become quite the institution. A Mecca for coffee lovers the world over. After all, it’s very hard to find the real thing in Tokyo.
It’s powerful. And also a little sweet. Which I’m told is a good thing. Yet I don’t enjoy it either. Maybe I need to be a purist to appreciate this sort of cuppa.
Gentle guitar and steel pan (drum) tunes play in the background evoking a Caribbean holiday atmosphere; calm and serene.
Sadly, they make it clear that cameras are not welcome with two large signs stating this loud-and-clear. One hangs from a steel frame with a mesh of chicken wire.
Shame. It would have been good to show you the guts of this establishment.
Yet we’re in luck. My humble request to photograph the outside is granted. Cool!