Sarutahiko Coffee

Forever on the look-out for alternative coffee shops in the local area, I head over to Ebisu, a short 1/2 hour walk from where I’m staying.

Situated near the train station is another one with aspirations to be the best in Tokyo.

Ella Fitzgerald and her dulcet tones great me as I enter the shop. As does the owner who speaks enough English for us to get by.

Small square timber tables and chairs on a parquet floor and a long bench provide seating for about a dozen. But the early opening hours are convenient for workers grabbing one-to-go on their way to the office.

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Scattered around are a mish-mash of items decorating the premises: a couple of sets-of-scales; a baby’s bottle filled with beans; sunflowers in a small copper vase; photography books; books about coffee; one-inch coloured cubes. All quite eclectic.

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The light fixtures hanging from the ceiling are made of bashed copper. Quirky.

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There are also several different blends of beans for sale. As well as glass drip-coffee jugs and filters.

My cappuccino is excellent. Served in a big mug with a heart swirl that reflects the attitude and respect the owner shows for his customers. He even escorts them to the door to thank and farewell them. Quite traditional and a nice change from the abrupt, almost aloof and pretentious (in a hip kind of way) attitude displayed by Bear Pond Espresso.

The latter may have better coffee (according to the critics) but there’s much more to a it than just the brew. Like any dining experience, service and atmosphere are also very important. At least in my humble opinion.

What’s more, there’s the added benefit of the early opening hours which is unusual except for the many Starbucks-like coffee shop chains.

Omotesando Koffee remains my preferred destination but this is definitely the next best thing. Perhaps it’s the double-shot I get from the former that helps as I generally find coffee in Tokyo too weak when mixed with milk.

But I’ve got my little loyalty card now so I expect I’ll fill it before I return home.

www.sarutahiko.co

Mon – Fri : 8am – 12.30am
Sat – Sun : 10am – 12.30am

Kim*

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