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coffee beans in Tokyo

Robb S Dec 27, 2012 01:48 AM

So, where does everyone buy their beans?

I see that Intelligentsia coffee company from Chicago has a Tokyo branch in Harajuku (03-6804-3573), but their beans start at Y2000 for a 226g bag, which seems a bit steep.

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    Ninisix RE: Robb S Dec 27, 2012 04:53 PM

    I recommend you to buy coffee beans at 'cafe' that roast themselves the beans, like cafe Lapin, the 100g cost 500yens. Usually, roasted beans doesn't last long except vacuumed ones.

    1. wekabeka RE: Robb S Dec 27, 2012 05:10 PM

      Nozy Coffee for single origin and Cafe Obscura Lab' or Onibus Coffee for blends. If it's payday, I'll treat myself to a bag of Tim Wendelboe beans from Fuglen - at very Norwegian prices.

      3 Replies
      1. re: wekabeka
        Robb S RE: wekabeka Dec 28, 2012 07:25 AM

        Thanks for all the suggestions! Looking up some of these online led me to a website called beanhunter.com, which occupied part of my afternoon. There I discovered a place in Ebisu called Sarutahiko, where I picked up some beans this evening because I was having dinner in the neighborhood. Obscura Lab sounds pretty interesting too....

        1. re: Robb S
          wekabeka RE: Robb S Dec 28, 2012 11:48 PM

          Yes, Sarutahiko is great! I meet the owner at the launch party for Brutus magazine's 'Good Coffee' edition (a must have for coffee addicts in Japan).

          After that event, I've made repeat visits there, as well as to Amameria Espresso, in Musashi-Koyama, and The Cream of the Crop Coffee Roasters, all the way over in Kiyosumi-Shirakawa - though they have a new shop in Hikarie for lazy 'westsiders'.


          Cafe Obscura Lab does a great espresso, but I prefer chilling out with a book at the more sedate Cafe Obscura siphon shop, on the other side of Sancha station. Lovely.

          Nozy is still top of my list though.

          BTW: All of the shops I have mentioned in this thread roast their own beans, and offer mail-order delivery.

          1. re: Robb S
            wekabeka RE: Robb S Jan 9, 2013 07:09 AM

            The latest edition of Dancyu (Feb, 2013) has a feature on Japanese coffee roasters.

        2. filmnoirfan RE: Robb S Dec 27, 2012 09:49 PM

          Intelligentsia looks like good coffee; does one have to wear woolen headgear in warm weather to purchase from them?

          There's also Daibo in Omotesando; that guy roasts his own beans; it's pricey, but they're darn good beans.

          1. Tripeler RE: Robb S Dec 28, 2012 12:19 AM

            Yanaka Coffee sells green coffee beans that they roast for you to your desired roast level. I have used their Yoyogi Koen location for years when I want really top-notch coffee. They aren't cheap, but not really expensive either, with most coffees going for about 300 yen for 100 grams. To find a shop near you, go to

            3 Replies
            1. re: Tripeler
              Robb S RE: Tripeler Dec 28, 2012 07:21 AM

              I've never bought green beans. Does it take a long time to roast them? Do you order a roasting and then come back? 300 yen is pretty cheap - about half the price of Starbucks I think, although I guess it's twice as much as supermarket coffee.

              1. re: Robb S
                filmnoirfan RE: Robb S Jan 7, 2013 05:04 PM

                I bought green beans and a pan for hand-roasting over the stovetop at a shop in Shinjuku (near Kinokuniya bookstore). It took me about 15 minutes to roast them to my satisfaction (dark) over my gas stove. It was fun for a while but the pan only held about 60 grams; the novelty wore off quickly.. There are electric roasters available too. It was nice to have the smell of roasting coffee (and the sound of beans cracking) though.

                1. re: filmnoirfan
                  Robb S RE: filmnoirfan Jan 9, 2013 06:54 AM

                  Sounds a little too hardcore for me.

                  And unfortunately there don't seem to be any Yanaka branches near me.....

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              prasantrin RE: Robb S Dec 28, 2012 04:34 AM

              Not in Tokyo (don't you hate it when you ask for something specific and people answer something totally different?), but I'm very partial to Inoda Coffee, based in Kyoto. They do mail order, which is practically the same as being in Tokyo, right?

              1. steamer RE: Robb S Dec 28, 2012 11:23 PM

                used to get my coffee at yanaka, it seems like it took about 15-20 minutes to roast the beans if it wasn't too busy. They also have great bottled ice coffee that they cold extract iirc. You can also avoid the hassle and mail order.

                1. Robb S RE: Robb S Jan 9, 2013 06:58 AM

                  I popped into Be A Good Neighbor today in Harajuku, and they were really friendly and helpful and enthusiastic. They sold me some Guatemalan beans (Y1050 for 150 grams), and gave me a complimentary espresso which was just fantastic. They also have a branch at Tokyo Skytree.

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