Omotesando Koffee is not a place where you stumble upon. You end up there because you intentionally seek it out. This itself makes it special. Hidden along the backstreets behind the Omotesando Hills shopping center, one will have to walk through narrow residential streets to get there. We walk along the street of quiet homes where there is no hint of Omotesando Koffee's existence. We faithfully follow the directions of the GPS on our iPad until it leads us to the address that we are looking for.
Inside one of the homes is now converted into an outpost for Omotesando Koffee. We walk into a small tranquil garden that leads us into the house where this pop-up coffee place is.
Omotesando Koffee is an espresso sanctuary. Right as we step inside, there is a setup that looks like an "open box" where the espresso machine and counter are. The owner carefully works to produce a good cup of coffee for each order. The set up is minimalistic which puts us right in the calm and serene mood for a good cup of espresso. The "living room" is where the coffee counter is. To the right are two rooms which presumably used to be bedrooms before the existence of Omotesando Koffee in this house. One of the rooms is set up as a reading space with shelves along the wall filled with books. The other room has a zen quality to it, perhaps just for relaxation purposes. We saw no one in these rooms though. Other than these setups, there are no tables or chairs. There is, however, a wooden bench in the garden outside. We are content with standing by the side of the counter and chat up the very humble owner.
We learn that Omotesando Koffee has been in business for 2 years. Mr Kunitomo, the owner and barista, asked how we knew about this place and we say Online. Website. We tell him that Bill Grainger, the famous chef from Sydney, mentioned that Omotesando Koffee has the best coffee that he has tried in the world. Mr Kunitomo smiles widely, looks humbled, and says thank you very much. He then tells us that Bill Grainger and Tyler Brûlé, the editor of Monocle magazine, are friends. He says to us the word article while gesturing to this coffee place. Ah, Tyler Brûlé had written an article about Omotesando Koffee in a previous issue of Monocle.
Showing interest about coffee in another part of the world, Mr Kunitomo asks us about coffee in Chicago. We lamented that though there are several good coffee shops back in Chicago, the overall standard of coffee is not comparable to other parts of the world that we've been to where people take the quality of coffee very seriously such as in Australia. In the U.S., people generally drink a lot of drip brew coffee and in Australia, drip brew coffee is practically non-existent as only espresso-based drinks are consumed. Mr Kunitomo comments that drip brew coffee is also popular in Japan though the espresso trend is starting to pick up. As for T and I, we love a good cup of coffee made from espresso. We want to be able to taste and appreciate the full and robust flavors; we're just not able to do that when chugging down a cup of drip brew coffee. So, Omotesando Koffee hits the right spot with us in Tokyo.
There are robust and full flavors from my espresso solo and T's espresso macchiato. We sip, savor, and chat with the very personable and humble owner of Omotesando Koffee. It is obvious that he is passionate about what he does and is not afraid to take risks. In a place like Japan where the espresso trend is only starting to pick up, he creates this pop-up place hoping to be part of the growing process where quality and well-crafted espresso drinks are available to the locals. Kashi, the baked custard square, is a unique feature of this place. The outside texture is solid and crisp; the inside is like melted custard. Get a piece or two and enjoy it with the coffee.
It is highly recommended that to find your way to Omotesando Koffee, you have a map or preferably a GPS with you. It is located just about a 3-min walk from the famous Maisen Tonkatsu restaurant.