Even for a Tokyo novice such as myself, it is clear that the Japanese love their coffee, and that Tokyo knows how to serve it in style. As a self-diagnosed coffee addict, this is a welcome discovery. The prospect of facing a month without a decent cup of joe is terrifying! And, much to my delight, it seems that people here are invested in supporting independent roasters, for whilst international chains such as Starbucks dominate most street corners, smaller, artisanal cafes are equally popular. And man, are these little spots cool.
Take for starters Verve Coffee Roasters at the shiny new Shinjuku Station. As I wandered through the station's shiny new shopping complex, blinking through the bright lights and breathing in that smell of affluence, it happened to catch my eye. Minimal, elegant and unpretentious, it was cool in that way that I have always wanted to be: without trying too hard. Although this spot is affiliated to a brand based in Santa Cruz, it has all the charm of an independent coffee shop. Simple wooden counters line its big glass windows. Bossa Nova jazz oozes out from the speakers in to the space. Trendy succulents hang in from the ceiling in cute crocheted baskets. The staff are warm and, if I may add, easy on the eye. This is one café I could happily spend a good few hours in.
For its luxurious location (Prada, Louis Vuitton and Dolce are just a few of its neighbours), the coffee is reasonably priced and exceptionally made. I was happy to learn that their beans are all Fair Trade, too. If you are after something to eat, they offer a small but delicious selection of treats. Choose (if you can) between glossy doughnuts, moreish cookies and flaky pastries. I was too distracted by my cappuccino to remember to eat anything. I suppose I will just have to go back...
All in all, this spot ticks every box on one’s Café Wish List. It's staff are friendly. It's atmosphere is welcoming and relaxed. It's fare is exceptional. As if Shinjuku wasn't cool enough already!