Looking for a place to recharge your phone? Lounge around in a comfy armchair surrounded by snoozing salarymen? Perhaps a place to plug in your laptop and browse Facebook while enjoying a beverage? If so, don’t go to Omotesando Koffee!
Oh, and please carry on sipping your overpriced essence-of-coffee milk drink with a silly name through the steam hole on the plastic lid. However, if you want to drink excellent coffee made with the same dedication to perfection that you might get from a sushi chef, call in on Eichi Kunitomo at Omotesando Koffee.
There’s only so much you can say about good coffee and the coffee served at Omotesando Koffee is excellent (and good value of course—see menu and prices at bottom of post). The experience also is quite unique. Just a single barista in a traditional Japanese house with tatami mats and a small courtyard with limited seating. You probably wandered around the backstreets of Omotesando for at least ten minutes trying to find it too. So instead of prattling on, we went straight to the professor—Eiichi Kunitomo—and put some questions to him which he kindly answered.
Tokyo Cheapo: What is the history of Omotesando Koffee? How long have you been a barista and where did it start?
Eiichi Kunitomo: Omotesando Koffee opened in January, 2011 and I started my career as a barista in 2001 in Osaka.
TC: What is the concept? Why do you wear laboratory coats?
EK: Our concept comes from a coffee kiosk. Why we wear laboratory coats like doctors is because we would like to make a coffee for customers with direct communication—like we’re counseling.
TC: I notice you always ask if you would like sugar before you make the coffee. Is there a big difference if you add the sugar before or after?
EK: We always ask whether customers want sugar or how much for all drinks except espresso, because we control the extraction of the espresso depending on whether the customers want sugar or not – so that the coffee will be served in a suitable condition.
A famous park, a former black market and a whole heap of museums—get to know Ueno:
TC: Do you make your own blends and roast the coffee yourself? If so, do you make different blends for different types of coffee?
EK: We don’t roast the coffee by ourselves because we believe it’s better for professionals in their fields to work together in order to make something of better quality than only one professional could do. However, we make a request to the roaster about the roast condition of the beans for each single origin, then we blend those single origin beans by ourselves so that we can create an original taste.
TC: As a barista, which is your favourite coffee to make? Which is your favourite to drink?
EK: Both are espresso.
TC: When I have been to Omotesando Koffee, international visitors always seem to outnumber local Japanese customers. Why do you think it appeals so much to international visitors?
EK: I think that’s because we’re chasing a Japanese coffee style. Most espresso bars in Japan look like foreign shop styles – but we would like to emphasize our Japanese spirit and style and put it into the taste of the coffee, the service and the shop.
TC: After opening Omotesando Koffee, you’ve opened up Toranomon Koffee and Kyoto Koffee. Do you have any more plans to expand in Tokyo or around Japan?
EK: Yes, we would like to expand our Japanese style coffee shops to overseas.
|Cappuccino Dopio||530 yen|
Photograph the famous Shibuya scramble crossing, wander around the curious and quirky love hotel hill, visit Yoyogi park and Meiji shrine...