You Have to Visit These Specialty Coffee Shops in Japan

Their owners are definitely passionate about their craft.


Coffee is as big of a deal in Japan as it is in the Philippines. If you're visiting anytime soon, make sure you check out these great cafes


BULB COFFEE


Light bulbs are used as an interior motif, giving the shop a magical ambiance.


BULB COFFEE
in Kurosaki is known for its owner's latte art using etching techniques. Mr. Hisao Arima created the art within one minute so as not to affect the flavor of the coffee. Sometimes he even responds to customer requests!


Cafe latte (¥500) and rich gateau chocolat (¥500)


Dried flowers decorate the walls and ceiling


BULB COFFEE is located at 4F, 2-5-17 Kurosaki, Yahatanishi District, Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture and is open from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. daily except on Tuesdays. You may contact them at +81-93-616-1020.


Atsumi Coffee


Coffee lover
Mr. Yuuta Kawashima was a white collar worker who quit three and a half years ago to fulfill his lifelong dream of owning a coffee shop with his wife.


Mr. and Mrs. Kawashima welcomes customers with a smile


Due to insufficient knowledge in the field, Mr. Kawashima spent a lot of time in research and in making their version of the "best coffee" into reality. In the past two years, he has joined the
Roast Masters Team Challenge to meet fellow members in the industry and gain more experience. In 2018, he even served as team leader, evidence that his techniques in roasting coffee have improved.


The owner, Mr. Kawashima, polishing his techniques.


What's unique about this store are their three original house blends. "We use the same beans in the same amount for the house blend set but we roast the coffee beans in three levels, the light, medium, and dark because we want customers to taste the difference when the same beans have been roasted in three different ways," explains the owner.


Of course, each blend differs in flavor, but a sweet aftertaste is common among the three. "The factors that I take into great consideration when roasting are the clean cup (absence of unwanted flavors) and the sweetness. It applies to any food or drinks really, the natural sweetness of the ingredients is the most important element in making good coffee," he explains.


Atsumi Blend in three different levels of roasting


The
Gorogoro Bacon Egg (¥842) is a must-try.


Atsumi Coffee is located at 1-1-10 Katano, Kokurakita District, Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture and is open from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays except on Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and Japanese holidays. You may contact them at +81-93-982-3465.

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Home-Roasted Coffee Shop Mamenoki


Found at the foot of Mt. Adachi,
Mamenoki Coffee is a coffee bean specialty store. Owner/roaster Ms. Hiromi Itakura was once an office worker who got interested in coffee bean roasting after she read an article on roasteries in a Fukuoka free paper by chance.


Ms. Itakura's personality adds appeal to the store


After that, she studied at
Hibino Coffee in Fukuoka to learn about roasting and to become an official roaster. "I use the same direct heat roaster that is being used in Hibino Coffee, but from a different maker, which took some time for me to get used to," explains the owner. Luckily, she has a persevering attitude and has been managing her own store for 12 years now.


Ever since opening, the coffee shop uses a direct heat roaster.


When asked about what she focuses on when making coffee, she says, "My coffee bean supply comes from the
Horiguchi Coffee group where I joined when I was introduced by Hibino Coffee. The quality is very good, with a high sense of aroma that I look forward to. Since I use direct heat, I want the customers to savor the coffee fragrance," she elaborates.


Checking the color and aroma of the beans


Ms. Itakura also served as a judge in hand-drip competitions for three straight years and has received the
Licensed Q Grader Certificate, which is awarded to those who have achieved the requirements set by the Specialty Coffee Association of America.


Only using high-quality beans


Home-Roasted Coffee Shop Mamenoki is located at 1/F, 2-10-8 Ashihara, Kokurakita District, Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily except on Mondays, Sundays, and Japanese holidays. You may contact them at +81-93-931-2102.


Moriyama Coffee


Considered a legend in the industry,
Mr. Moriyama has popularized the fascination over coffee in Kitakyushu for more than 40 years now.


The owner usually comes to the store past 2 p.m.


Mr. Moriyama's forte is brewing coffee using the nel drip (¥600)


Since they started as a coffee shop,  their drip technique has been, needless to say, authentic. When the owner started roasting his own coffee in 1991, he came across a cooperative purchase group called the
C-COOP where he would eventually buy high-quality beans directly from the manufacturer.


One of the reasons he is called a legend is because he was one of the first members of the C-COOP, long before it became well-known in Japan. This made Moriyama Coffee one of the first specialty coffee shops that became famous in Kitakyushu. One look at his store and you'll think it's the same as any other coffee stands, but the main focus of this shop are actually the coffee beans. Around 20 types are sold daily, 16 of which are single-origin, including some
Cup of Excellence winners.

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Coffee stand style interiors


The owner has also been participating in the
Roast Masters Team Challenge in the past few years and when asked if he had been asked to join, he said no. "I volunteered by myself because I want to learn how the younger generations perform."


He explained that he is interested to know other people's insights and idea.


One cup starts at ¥450


The store is located near the Nakatsuguchi Crossing, National Road 3


Moriyama Coffee is located at 1-3-35 Usamachi, Kokurakita District, Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture and is open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily except on Sundays and Japanese holidays. You may contact them at +81-80-2793-6842.


Liberta Coffee


Moved by the specialty coffee he enjoyed in his late 20s,
Mr. Hirokazu Motoume wanted many others to appreciate "real good coffee," and to see the difference for themselves, leading him to quit his office job and start his own coffee business.


The cafe space is planned to expand within the year


It wasn't an easy start. He started working at a certain store to learn how to roast coffee beans, but he quit in two years without even getting close to the roaster. This didn't stop him from learning since he had the passion and the strong belief to create his ideal best coffee. He then started learning by himself, roasting endlessly until he was satisfied with what he made. "It's an embarrassing story really. I think I wasted 200kg of green coffee beans. But by doing it over and over again, I finally got the technique," he tells us.


Despite the common knowledge that specialty coffee is made better with indirect heat roasters, Mr. Motoume deliberately roasts his with direct heat instead.


So what does he think good coffee is? "When you drink it all up without noticing," he says simply.


Starting this fall, the
Ko-hi- no Monosashi, a five-piece original drip bag set will be sold. Even those who do not know much about coffee will be able to differentiate the good-tasting coffee from the bad ones in this bag. It can be ordered online so try and check out the store's website!


Cafe latte (¥300)


Located on a narrow street from the main road, it is like a hidden gem


Liberta Coffee is located at 6-18-16 Norimatsu, Yahatanishi District, Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture and is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily except on Thursdays. You may contact them at +81-93-616-8426.

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Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™ and Kyushu Walker™ (25 January 2019)


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