It comes as no surprise that Japan’s coffee culture is as robust as its working culture is demanding. Here are our top picks for coffee delivery services in Japan.
The first Japanese coffee shop, Kahiichakan, opened in 1888. Since then, Japanese coffee culture has been evolving and moulding to urban culture and societal needs. It is a vital lifeline to the sleep-deprived Tokyo businessperson, and at the same time a tribute to the laid-back Scandinavian Fika cafés. A cultural import once stifled by political isolationism, coffee in Japan is now a ubiquitous facet of modern life. Today, these trends are shifting once again, with many cafés and coffee shops expanding to Covid-friendly coffee delivery and subscription services.
The original Fuglen shop in Oslo is a unique hybrid of a café, cocktail bar and vintage Scandinavian design boutique, a formula that settled in Tokyo when Fuglen opened in a backstreet corner near Yoyogi Park in 2012.
Fuglen’s brick-and-mortar location is indeed a spectacle for the eyes, but of course, just as important is the quality of the coffee itself. If you are working from home or simply want to brew your own cup, you can purchase coffee beans from Fuglen online. Choose from their Brazilian Capadocia with its chocolate and caramel notes, or their Peruvian Las Colmenas’ pineapple and chocolate notes. The roasters offer single origin beans in quantities starting from 100g, as well as a coffee subscription service featuring three different 200g bags of coffee beans monthly.
Hive Life pick: AA Githobokoni Kenya
Monthly subscription: JP¥1,200
Located just by Nakameguro station, Onibus is equipped only with the essentials, epitomising the no-frills coffee experience that is oftentimes required of life in Tokyo. After all, it only takes an espresso machine and a roaster to deliver the much-needed caffeine hit.
That said, Onibus does not compromise quality. The cafe imports top-of-the-line beans from Rwanda and Guatemala, among others, and roasts them in-house. Sample the kumquat and black tea notes of their Rwanda Nyarusiza Lot6, the lemongrass and rosemary aroma of their Honduras Saturnino Martinez, or their versatile signature Onibus blend, with its sweet notes of chocolate and wine.
Hive Life pick: Rwanda Nyarusiza Lot6
Monthly subscription: JP¥907
Toriba Coffee‘s mahogany shelves, and chrome-plated light fixtures make for a warm, golden glow that invites you to stay for hours on end, whether to marvel at the shop’s roasting process or visit their cocktail bar. But if you find yourself at home craving Toribo’s quality coffee, you can also have their beans sent to you with their delivery service. The roaster offers five signature blends using a variety of beans, with options from light, medium, and dark roasts, as well as a Hawaiian single-origin Kona coffee.
What’s more, the Ginza-based specialty coffeehouse features merchandise including t-shirts, tote bags, and coffee mugs made in collaboration with Japanese designers and artists, so you can represent your favourite coffee brand everywhere you go.
Hive Life pick: Hawaiian Bitter Sweet Samba
Monthly subscription: JP¥1,500
Sarutahiko‘s first location opened in Ebisu district in June 2011, a space cozy enough for customers to linger a while, but also claustrophobic enough to encourage workers to get back to the office. But if cramped spaces aren’t your thing, feel free to skip the whole coffeehouse ritual and brew your own coffee right at home. Their Colombia Los Tres Mosqueteros Chiriso boasts fruity notes of white peach, tropical fruits, and honey, the perfect roast for a pourover.
Apart from seasonal coffee blends and pourover kits, Sarutahiko also stocks cold brews, coffee jelly, and a café au lait base. The website also offers drink recipes and brewing tutorials that you can follow and learn from.
Hive Life pick: Colombia Los Tres Mosqueteros Chiriso
Monthly subscription: JP¥4,350
Prior to its opening in Kyoto in August of 2016, Kurasu was an online store providing Japanese homeware in Australia, launched by Yozo Otsuki, a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs Tokyo. Today, Kurasu is one of the most-well known Japanese cafés exporting Japan’s coffee culture, with locations in Kyoto, Singapore, and Bangkok.
Kurasu’s coffee subscription service delivers globally, featuring Kurasu’s signature blends as well as beans from partner roasters. The Kurasu house blend is a medium dark roast- a blend sourced from Brazil, Guatemala, and Ethiopia that packs a rich dark chocolate flavour and notes of orange peel. Kurasu’s taster set currently features Ethiopian and Colombian single origin roasts that reflect the best seasonal flavours.
Hive Life pick: Colombia Dionel Chilito
Monthly subscription: JP¥1,700
Feature banner image credit: tokyocoffee.org
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