I drank a ton of coffee in Tokyo. This is because there are some damn well-run coffeeshops in Tokyo. Here are some of the ones I went to.
Sarutahiko, in Ebisu. Something about their cappuccinos and lattes. Incredible sweetness in the espresso.
And Omotesando Koffee. Which is another tiny place on the ground floor of somebody’s old house across from a weedy lot. The layout is incredibly spartan, perfect for a well-lit day like the one on which we visited, with a neat paper-note lamp filled with cheeky polyglot aphorisms. The coffee wasn’t quite as memorable as my Ebisu cups, but the setting was undoubtedly unique, a successful exercise in careful minimalism and serenity, quite the opposite to many of the trendy stateside coffeeshops that come to mind.
On the way back home later, we came across Fuglen, a Norwegian-centric coffeehouse & boutique that also doubles as a cultural (albeit indiscreetly retro) agency, organizing exhibits and events that highlight, you guessed it, Norwegian culture. Lots of wood paneling everywhere. But quaint, with a friendly staff behind the espresso bar (which turns into a real, albeit miniature, bar at night). I couldn’t take any more espresso-based drinks at that point, so I ordered a refreshing iced tea, and chowed down on a shiso-cream-cheese sandwich.