When you work in coffee, mornings trigger a familiar rhythm no matter where you are: the hum of machines in the roastery, the whirr of grinders in the cafe, the staccato of greetings as the first guests arrive. It’s comforting to think of this overture playing out in all our different cafes, staggered across zip codes and time zones. In Tokyo, our cafes open more than a dozen hours—a half-turn of the Earth!—before our cafes in New York, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area do. And with such a head start, they’re closed before we’ve even unlocked our front doors. It’s a parallel universe of coffee and cafes that we occasionally glimpse through photographs.
Take a peek.
4-1-6 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
Our newest Tokyo cafe is located at the heart of a huge travel hub, and mornings here move quickly and quietly as professionals order their pour-over coffees to carry away to the office. Around 10 am, the tourists arrive, and the cafe begins to fill up.
Masa, Shinjuku’s Assistant Store Manager, pre-doses for pour-over coffee in the morning. Shinjuku has six drippers set into the bar and can add up to three more for especially busy times. On opening weekend, the Shinjuku team served 700 drip coffees in one day.
3-13-14 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku
The cafe in Aoyama just recently adopted earlier hours, and mornings here feel like a secret meeting of dawn-seeking coffee drinkers. The neighborhood is home to a vibrant coworking space, Netflix Japan, and a well-known hair salon, whose stylist and crew are regulars in the cafe.
Morning guests have the option of having their coffee prepared on the siphon bar, which is the first thing you see when you walk in. Aoyama also features some of our guests' favorite culinary menu options, including our pillowy Beignets and popular Poached Egg Toasts.
A siphon of coffee perches on the Aoyama cafe balcony (it’s one of our most photographed cafe nooks).
A member of our kitchen staff at Aoyama carefully places pickled carrots on our bestselling Egg Salad Sandwich, exclusive to Blue Bottle Japan.
1-4-8, Hirano, Koto-ku
Our Kiyosumi cafe—like all of our current cafes in Japan—was brought to life with the help of Jo Nagasaka (pictured below) of Schemata Architects. The purity present in all his work has had a significant influence on the way we think about and design our spaces.
The first morning at Kiyosumi (captured by James Freeman) was wonderfully overwhelming, with coffee lovers lined up for hours.
With huge windows and bright surfaces, Kiyosumi has beautiful light in the early mornings. The Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machine is similar to one in our Ferry Building cafe. There’ve been no guests yet this morning, so Barista Moriyama continues his prep.
Risa, Leader Barista, pauses for a moment in the late morning Kiyosumi light.
Visit Blue Bottle Coffee in Tokyo.
Photography by Andrew Curry, Blue Bottle Japan Photographer/New Store Development.