Tokyo is an exciting, relentless metropolis that can leave travelers exhausted after battling bustling streets and trains that sometimes double as sardine cans. Take much-needed breathers and recharge with some caffeine in the city’s system of side street roasteries and cafes. Learn about 13 of my favorite places to drink good coffee in Tokyo, with considerable help from Tokyo native (and culinary expert) Tomo Kurokawa, based on my 2016 and 2019 trips.
Numbers on the map correspond to listings below and appear in alphabetical order instead of order of preference.
A barista named Yoshi tended the pourover bar at the base of a capsule hotel called Nine Hours in Akasaka, a more residential area next to higher-traffic Roppongi. Glitch Coffee Brewed debuted this glass-fronted branch with serpentine wood bar in 2018, building on the success of their Jimbocho roastery, which has been around since 2015. I ordered a Kenya Nyeri Kagumoini pour over with bring acidity and compelling tasting notes: “like grapefruits and dried tomato, very juicy.” Ethiopia Hambela Alaka cold brew utilized a washed coffee for surprisingly fragrant results given the temperature.
MUST ORDER: Cold Brew, Pour Over
Daisuke Hamada, a DJ and coffee pro, shares his twin passions at Little Nap Coffee Roasters, a business that debuted in 2011 near the Yoyogi-koen station on the Chiyoda line. The original space features a Probat roaster, record shop in back, and a coffee bar up front, complete with a two-group Synesso espresso machine and house-roasted beans. I was happy with my brewed coffee and cappuccino, which displayed notable balance and artistry. Little Nap also operates a small coffee stand with counter seating across from nearby Yoyogi Park.
MUST ORDER: Cappuccino
10. Onibus Coffee
The fourth Onibus Coffee location resides right outside Nakemaguro station along the Tokyu Toyoko Line. This branch debuted in 2016 and incorporates some cool elements. An educational blackboard traces the coffee Bean’s Journey. An upstairs room provides view of passing trains, two communal high-top tables, and a peaked wooden roof. Custom mustard colored ReiRABO ceramics are another bonus. A tan Diedrich roaster helps fuel a two-group La Marzocco espresso machine and pourover coffee. I enjoyed their Honduras coffee with plum start and honey finish.
MUST ORDER: Pourover
11. Sidewalk Stand
Sidewalk Stand runs a downstairs bar (and not just for coffee) along the bucolic Nakameguro canal, which is apparently flush with blossoming cherry trees in spring. Even in cold rain, the vibe was warm. Most people congregate upstairs at high-top communal tables that offer better views. Bitter orange cold brew featured slices of bitter orange soaked in sugar syrup, though Sidewalk Stand also serves the standard complement of espresso drinks.
MUST ORDER: Bitter Orange Cold Brew
12. Turret Coffee
Turret Coffee is one of your best bets for coffee near Tsukiji Fish Market. Order from a blackboard menu at a worn green counter. Grab a stool at a reclaimed wood table, at the wood counter, or on their trademark flat-bed vehicle. Their two-group Nuova Simonelli espresso machine is best known for producing a Tsukiji Latte with espresso, milk, matcha, and red bean. Sadly, they sold out of that drink, so I settled for a chic short cappuccino.
MUST ORDER: Short Cappuccino
13. Unir Akasaka
INNSOMNIA in big white letters tells you about the core clientele at this 24/7 “specialty coffee” bar located within Innsomnia hotel on an Akasaka side street since 2016. Coffee simply never stops flowing. Unir offers three tiers of press coffee: top of top quality, top quality, and high quality. Unir Akasaka doesn’t fire up their three-group Victoria Arduino espresso machine until 7 a.m., so espresso beverages and tonics aren’t always available, but they do serve Kyoto-style cold brew and pourover around the clock. My barista recommended Ethiopia Guji Jigesa, a lighter “top quality” selection that yielded rewarding results. The space features a wood counter with plenty of plugs and strong WiFi, red cushioned lounge furniture, a robust travel library, and a small boutique shop. Fun fact: a woman named Tomoko Yamamoto who works for the company in Kyoto took first place in the 2018 Japan Barista Championships.
MUST ORDER: Press Coffee