Café de l’Ambre

Coffee Only.

That’s their motto and nothing has really changed at what is essentially a shrine to coffee in Ginza, Tokyo.

The place has clearly stood the test-of-time, opening in 1948 but still going strong. With the same old guy still at the helm. He’s pushing a century but just like Yoda, he’s still got it.


It’s a place that has been frequently blogged. And blogged. And blogged. The last explains the history and their diligence very well.

And that’s what impresses me the most: their unadulterated dedication to the craft of coffee making.

It begins with a range of beans from different countries. I count a staggering 28 in total listed on the menu.

About 10 are over 10 years old. One in fact dates from 1954. All are kept in air-tight glass jars above the counter. But you have to wonder how fresh they can be after so long.

I order a Café Crème. And then choose the Columbia (Spuremo) [sic] as I’m reliably informed it’s neither too strong nor too weak; neither too sweet nor too bitter. A “Goldilocks” option I suppose.

Next, the coffee is ground then-and-there and placed in a cotton mesh. Hot water is then slowly, painstakingly dripped through the fine material to extract the flavour. Not a lot of water. Just enough.

It’s essentially time-consuming perfection.

My cream is served in a tiny cup more suited to a dolls house the size is so small. And a glass of water is also provided, just like in Italy.

The menu is quite extensive with a number of ice-coffees available.

Some intriguing names catch my eye such as Blanc et Noir “Queen Amber” (champagne glass, sweet and iced, with a milk float) and Café Oeufs (coffee with egg yolk).

Sitting back I survey my surroundings, noticing an assortment of small coffee cups, thankful that the air-conditioning provides me with a much needed respite from the muggy Tokyo weather.

There’s plenty of seating: for about 20 at a guess.

I spy a set-of-scales; a specially designed enamelled coffee pot with a spout quite different to normal pots; a drip cloth filter; and lots of coffee beans.

Along a shelf above some seating is an old clock and a variety of statuettes.

And hanging on the wall are mismatched artworks. It seems to be a common theme in these sorts of establishments.

It all provides the place with loads of character. Not that it needs it. Their passionate attitude to coffee is outstanding and is more than enough to set them apart from every other kissaten (coffee shop) in Japan if not the world.



Mon – Sat : 12noon – 10pm
Sun : 12noon – 7pm



4 thoughts on “Café de l’Ambre

  1. Great job!
    Thank you.
    I have not made it yet and rejoice each time I read about this masterly place. Most of all I am glad to read that Sensei Sekiguti is stil creating for the demanding visitors.

    All tells me that I will finally be one of them soon.

  2. Pingback: Tōkyō | day 4 | travel photography

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