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Humans of coffee: Aga Bukowska

Who is Aga Bukowska?

A girl who wants to squeeze the most out of life. Who loves talking with passionate people, drinking coffee and taking pictures. Who thinks that there is no other way of doing things than doing them at 100%. Professionally, I am Expansion Supervisor at Coffeedesk, which is the leading coffee & coffee accessories distributor in Central/Eastern Europe. I am responsible for finding new spots, negotiating deals, operational synergy and marketing activities of our coffee shops. After 7 years of working in advertising agencies, I said to myself that I love everything about coffee community and I want to be a part of it full-time. As I’m the kind of person who can’t half-commit, here I am.


What is your favorite childhood memory?

As a child I used to spend all of my holidays at my grandparents farm. I remember waking up at 5 to a cup of cocoa my grandfather just made with freshly squeezed milk. Then going to a fair at the nearest city to sell wheat and oat from the fresh harvest and then buying some ice cream on our way back. I remember getting home, my grandmother greeting me with a kiss and asking what I would like to eat. I used to ask for fennel soup and we were going together to their field to fetch fennel, carrot, and a few potatoes to make dinner. Then we were picking up horses from the pasture and sometimes my grandfather used to let me ride them. Then I was going to bed and there were kittens sneaking on my pillow.

I think that this kind of small farm do not even exist in Poland anymore! I am smiling when I am thinking about it right now and I am so grateful that back in time, childhood was not so sterile and people were not overprotective about kids doing kids things. I am not judging them because I may also be this kind of parent one day, I am just happy that me, and my dearest little sister had this kind of experience.


If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?

I believe that you always regret things that you did not do in your life rather than those you did. I once saw a great quote, on GIRLS TV series, that stated ‘I am very je ne regrette rien’y about it’ and I told myself that I would love to apply this and be very je ne regrette rieny about my life. I stopped making lists of things that I would like to do, I simply try to grab any opportunity that reveals it self.

What do you feel most proud of?

I am proud of having the courage to quit corporate 9-5 job, switch careers and starting everything from the very beginning to pursue my passion.


If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

First of all, my camera. Right now I see life through frames, I look at the world around me and I see pictures. I am a total amateur in this area but I just love this feeling of capturing the moment and it would be hard for me to resign from it. Second thing, a Kindle reader. I am addicted to reading, I’ve been reading at least one book a week and I can’t imagine giving it up. Last, but not least, my beloved Moleskine notebook to write up my memories and thoughts.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

I don’t want to have a tombstone, I would like to be cremated. I don’t like the idea of taking away the space from the living. Neither do I want to even think about being eaten by worms! But if I had to leave people with one sentence, I would go with something funny, I once saw a tombstone with a signature cake recipe, that’s a heritage!

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What is Coffee Spots Polska?

@coffeespotspolska a project that was born out of passion to coffeeshops visiting. With Krzysiek, the owner of @storcafe in Warsaw and the author of Warsaw Coffee Guide from last year, we are working on a guide of all Polish specialty coffee spots. The idea behind it is not only to describe great coffee shops, but also to let people know what specialty coffee is, where it comes from and also to show its origins and history in Poland. We are meeting with passionate people who were the founders of coffee scene in Poland to describe it well and every day we are learning something new. We are visiting all the cafes that serve specialty coffee and alternative methods. Surprisingly, the scale of it is enormous, we have more than 100 spots in 25 cities on our list, so we are travelling a lot, talking with people, drinking coffee, taking pictures and videos, writing. I do not have any spare minute until July, when we plan on publishing, but I love it.


What is your favorite kind of coffee?

I am a great fan of naturals. My favourite coffee is fruity and winey. My friends who are coffee professionals, are always making fun of me, for them this kind of beans as too obvious or even overfermented. But I am not pretending to be a Q-grader or a cup taster and I think that the best coffee is always the one you like. For example, I couldn’t get enough of @gardellicoffees Uganda Mzungu or @lacabracoffee Brazil Jaci. Regarding the method, I definitely prefer pourover to espresso and I find v60 the most consistent method so I use it most of the time.

In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?

I have two favourites in Warsaw, where I spend most of my time. One is @kawiarniacoffeedesk, where both team spirit is amazing and coffee beans range is one of the widest in Poland. Second one is @storcafe, situated in one of the prettiest neighbourhoods in Warsaw, I love its interior, its jungle of plants and their amazing cake selection (with cashew cheesecake on the top of the list).


What does a perfect day look like?

I wake up early in the morning, I drink a glass of lemon & ginger water and I do my yoga sequence at open air watching the sunrise. I make pancakes for breakfast and eat them with fresh fruit. I kiss my husband and we laugh at our cat together. I ride my bike, I drink coffee, I talk with people who love what they do, I read books & poetry. I cook a dinner for my friends and we eat in the garden.

Humans of coffee: Reg Barber

Who is Reg Barber?

Reg is an artist who ended up designing and manufacturing coffee tampers.

What is your favourite childhood memory?

Walking alone in the snow on our ranch when I was very young. I pretended that the field was an ocean covered in ice and I was flying my airplane over it.

If you could have a do-over in your life, what would it be?

I have always longed for my own coffee shop, which is what I was working on when I began making coffee tampers. Another do-over would have been the ability to have patented my coffee tampers.


Image supplied by Reg

What do you feel most proud of?

Designing and making the World Championship trophies.

If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

  1. My camera: I love taking photos.
  2. My gun: being from a ranch in southern British Columbia I began hunting for for food (deer) on horseback at an early age with my Mom who has just had her 100thbirthday and is good health. I have never missed a hunting season.
  3. My Polaris General 1000 side by side for exploring.

 What do you want on your tombstone?

I’ve been there and I got the T-shirt.


Image by the Cutthroat Journal

What is your passion project?

I have always wanted to start a barista school for Native Americans. I am a Native Indian (Okanagan) and I would like my people to know what a rewarding career the coffee industry can be.

What is your favorite coffee?

The most memorable coffee I’ve had was in Australia when Rob and Anna McGregor of Coffee Lab in New Zealand came to visit Sean Edwards and I in Port MacQuarrie, Australia. Sean is the owner of Café Culture magazine and Golden Bean of Australia and North America. Rob and Anna brought with them coffee for a pour over. It was an Ethiopian Konga Sedie. Delicious.

What’s your favourite coffee shop?

In Penticton, BC there are no coffee shops where you will find me. During my time in Victoria I would hang out at the original Discovery Coffee and Roastery on Discovery Street.

What does your perfect day look like?

Getting up at 5 AM and having a full day of making tampers and being very tired but satisfied at the end of the day.

Humans of coffee: Wira Handaya

Who is Wira Handaya?

A creative coffee enthusiast. Started with passion for video taking, cinematography to be exact. Back in the old days, coffee was only a drink that helps me stay awake for the day, and I started getting inspiration from taking and playing around with coffee photos I took.

What is your favorite childhood memory?

I would probably say that is the feeling when I see my son. When the world still feel safe and carefree. I would careless about what I should do for fun, because everything I see, feel and touch still is new and fresh.


If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?

Life is perfectly imperfect. I wouldn’t change anything because everything builds who I am today.

What do you feel most proud of?

Simpelfideo. I have come a long way with many obstacles taking coffee photography but I still managed to build this name all through self learning and experimenting.


If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

My heart, my love and my soul. haha

What do you want your tombstone to say?

God bless the world. HAHAHAHA


What is simpelfideo?

Food photography that is simple yet creative that can sell and make money to support my journey on becoming a greater photographer 🙂

What is your favorite kind of coffee?

Black, simple and strong.


In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?

It hard, because I live in Indonesia. But if you ever likely to come, contact me and I will be there.

What does a perfect day look like?

I would start with a cup of warm and tasty coffee, and enjoy the rest of my day chilling by the beach with my lovely family, having bottomless coffee to always keep me calm and awake.

Humans of coffee: Kyle Wade Sheppard

Who is Kyle Wade Sheppard?

In a nutshell, I’m a husband, Jesus follower, professional photographer and coffee enthusiast, so basically your average Instagram hipster haha. I’m a big picture oriented dreamer with an excessive amount of energy and I’m frequently stoked about a great many things. Professionally, I travel and shoot weddings with my wife (Kyle Loves Tori Photography) which is a crazy awesome gig, I couldn’t be happier with it! When I’m not traveling, I manage social media and content creation for local businesses in St. George, UT, where we live currently. Though I live in Utah, I’m a native born Coloradan at heart, and I’m very proud of my home state.

What is your favorite childhood memory?

My dad bought a digital SLR sometime when I was in late elementary school/middle school. He would take pictures through out the week at the summer camp my family ran. Sometime in high school, I remember my mom telling me that he, referencing my dad, had a special eye for it. I don’t know why that moment lodged so firmly in my memory, but I remember latching on to that and wanting to be like him and have that same “eye.” I could write a bunch of these little stories about watching my dad as I grew up and how many small things he did impacted me and made me the person I am and strive to be.


Photographer: Alyssa Ence

If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?

Honestly, I really love where my life is. A lot of mistakes that I made and paths I chose that I’m not proud of still led me to where I am, so in the large scheme of things, I wouldn’t change anything.

That being said, I would change my attitude and learn some lessons earlier. Namely, I would take a hold of the idea that anything worth doing is worth doing well and embracing a willingness to be inconvenienced. Even though I’ve been taught those ideals for a long time, I didn’t let them sink in until the last couple of years and if I had taken them to heart earlier I think I could have grown more and left a bigger impact on the people I interacted with.

What do you feel most proud of?

Right now? The growth of my business. I left my job managing a local coffee shop earlier this year to go full time with photography, a goal I’ve been working towards for almost 4 years now. The business is growing more than I thought possible and I’m incredibly stoked to reap the benefits of all that hard work. It’s a huge blessing


Photographer: Tyler Rye

If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

Man that’s a hard question. I tend to more practical rather than sentimental when it comes to possessions, so I would probably say my computer, my main camera (I’m going to include a lens on there too, so that might be cheating), and my phone. I can pretty much do everything I need to with those three items.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

“Whatever he did, he did well. Whoever he loved, he loved dearly.”

What is The Handsome Wade coffee blog?

When I officially left the coffee industry to go full time as a photographer, I knew I’d want some sort of outlet for my coffee passion, so the coffee blog was born! I named it in part after my Grandpa Wade, because he was primarily responsible for getting me into coffee. According to the internet, Kyle comes from a Gaelic word that means “handsome” and that was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I use it as a creative challenge to photograph and write on a consistent basis. It’s an opportunity for me to share what I love most about the world of coffee and it’s an invitation for others to see that world through my eyes.



Photographer: Alyssa Ence


What is your favorite kind of coffee?

I love coffees with a more fruity and floral flavor profile, so pretty much anything from Africa, especially naturally processed Ethiopia’s. I love lots of complexity and profile shifts that tend to occur in natural and honey processed coffees. As far as brew methods, Aeropress is king in my book, followed closely by the V60.

In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?

To be honest, we don’t really have that many coffee shops here in St. George, so I end up doing coffee at home primarily. When I do venture out I usually end up at The Harbor, a church sponsored student/community center that offers pour over coffees from Hidden House Coffee Roasters. When I travel however, I love to check out local shops. Some of my favorites are: La Barba in Draper, UT; Corvus Coffee in Denver, CO; Kiln Coffee Bar in Grand Junction, CO; Wesley Andrews in Minneapolis, MN; Quixotic Coffee in St. Paul, MN; and Slate Coffee in Seattle, WA.


Photographer: Kyle Sheppard

What does a perfect day look like?

I have two drastically different answers to that, because I love having variety in my life, too much of any day would lose its lustre very quickly for me.

In one of my perfect days, I’m shooting a wedding. I get up early with my wife, swing by a local coffee shop and meet up with the bride early to photograph her getting ready. I get to watch the anticipation build as the girls get ready and then go hang out with the guys for a bit (they’re usually playing games or something). As the day goes on, we get to know the couple and the people they’ve chosen to have closest to them on their best day. During the ceremony, we get to watch two people make some of the most important promises of their lives and begin a new chapter of life together. We get to take them to an amazing place, away from the hustle and bustle, so they can have a moment together to take it all in, just a moment to themselves. And finally we get to party like crazy with them. It doesn’t always happen in that order or exactly like that, but I love every minute of it.

At home, I get up early and make myself a cup of coffee and start my day with a chill hour of reading and praying before heading up into the office to work. Ideally, I get to meet up with some of my friends either for more coffee, rock climbing or bike riding. I then get to spend my evening with my wife watching Netflix or playing Mario.

In a nutshell, my perfect day revolves around variety and getting to spend time with other people either who are close to me or who I get to be a part of the best day of their lives.

Cover image by Chad Braithewaite

Humans of coffee: Sara Zuluaga Parodi

Who is Sara Zuluaga Parodi?

I was born and raised in Medellín, Colombia in a coffee grower’s family. From a very young age coffee has been part of my life. Growing up in the very heart of the coffee production in Colombia has allowed me to experience and learn about the whole process from within. I will say I’m a business woman of many many hats because I love the coffee world, I’m passionate about traveling and I’m a certified yoga instructor.

What is your favorite childhood memory?

Spending time in the countryside of Colombia was definitely an amazing experience, from riding horses, bikes, climbing all kind of trees to swimming in rivers. I feel very privileged for being able to enjoy my exuberant country since I was a kid.

Sara2 by martin nambert

Photography by Martin Nabert

If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?

Nothing at all. I feel proud of who I am and I believe that all the experiences that we have in life are the result of who we become.

What do you feel most proud of?

Last year I did an amazing 6-month trip around the world where I visited 16 countries. I saw the cherry blossom season in Japan, one of the most incredible and amazing things I’ve experienced in my life. I also volunteered at a kindergarten in Vietnam, lived in a remote island in Thailand, indulged in “La vie en rose” in France, pigged out in Italy, almost froze to death in the UK… I saw the world with different eyes and that made me realize how amazing life is, how beautiful people can be and how happy you can be with just a little. Furthermore, I learned that you set your own limits and that you can do everything you wish for.

Sara by MartinNambert

Photography by Martin Nabert

If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

  1. Passport: As traveling is one of my passions, this is my access to key to different worlds.
  2. Camera: So I can keep memories of all the places I get to see.
  3. Chemex:  Because it’s my favorite Brewing method, of course.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Don’t look for love, look for coffee hahaha.

What is “Women of Coffee”?

I’m working on a project that empowers women of coffee to be independent and reach for bigger and better opportunities through education and the support of different entities.

What is your favorite kind of coffee?

I love Ethiopian Yirgacheffe! That clean taste and bright acidity with complex floral and citrusy notes is definitely my favorite… And if it’s Chemex brewed, then it’s perfection.

Sara by Bennedict

Photography by Benedict Kraus

In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?

Algarabia: They have a social project with coffee being produced in what used to be one of the most dangerous neighborhoods Medellin. It’s of very good quality.

La Cafeteca: Owned by one of my coffee masters, they have the best coffee in town and also an amazing variety of naturals and honeys from Antioquia.

Café de Amalia: Located in downtown Medellin, a nice cozy spot to enjoy different profiles in a different area of the city.

What does a perfect day look like?

First, a cup of natural coffee on Chemex from my coffee farm, then some yoga to wake up followed by a round of banana pancakes with honey and more coffee. Afterwards, bike ride to ease the digestion and make room for lunch with family and friends. Then, maybe a little nap on my hammock, spend time with my dog and enjoy the sunset at my coffee farm on the top of the mountains. I’d probably wrap it up with a delicious dinner, a book and  some wine.

Cover image by Benedict Kraus

This is a good story and we are only on the first page

Today a team from TriBeCa Coffee Company will head to Kilimanjaro to both build a dairy for a woman farmer who produces amazing organic coffee on the slopes of Kilimanjaro and, in celebration of woman in coffee, will also be climbing Kilimanjaro and brewing Kilimanjaro coffee on the summit.

They’ll not only be continually updating their social media feed, but will also have a live tracker that people can follow to see exactly where they are! Starting on the 12th of March to the 24th of March.

Of the world’s estimated 1 billion poor, 70% are women. Women own less than 1% of the world’s titled land. The World Bank estimates that more than 500 million people throughout the world are dependent on coffee for their livelihoods, and of that number, 25 million are coffee farmers. Unfortunately, coffee farmers typically live and work in substandard conditions, which are compounded by the fact that they receive only a small percentage of the actual price for which the coffee is sold to the consumer.


Image by Al Jazeera

Women, who represent a good majority of coffee farmers, face additional challenges. Aside from the day-to-day struggles women coffee farmers face in order to maintain a respectable standard of living, they also struggle with the gender inequality prevalent throughout the world’s coffee growing regions.  Frequently suffering from abuse, neglect and poverty, women are unable to gain economic, social or political power in their family’s coffee business, or in their communities.

It is for this reason that Tribeca have decided to support woman farmers and their families through this project.

Rain Forest, Western Usambara Mountains,  near Lushoto, Tanzania

Usumbara Mountains. Image by Wikipedia.

This isn’t something new for TriBeCa, in 2016 they built a dairy and did training with Anna, a farmer in the Usambara region of Tanzania. It was so successful that she was then able to buy two goats to add to her dairy with the money that she got for the coffee that Tribeca bought from her.

This isn’t just the story of a few cows and a farmer. This is one about a community coming together for the greater good. This is the story of a value chain that actually adds value all the way from crop to cup.

This is a good story and we are only on the first page.


Cover image by Enchanting Travels

Humans of coffee: Bastiaan Roozendaal

Who is Bastiaan Roozendaal?

I am 31 years old at the moment. I am a coffee lover, no I am not an expert. I am an entrepeneur, a father, a boyfriend and love to take on new things. I am from the Netherlands – no, I do not wear wooden shoes!

What is your favorite childhood memory?

That probably is the freedom you have as a kid. Not a care in the world only caring about that kickflip I need to land or the next fun thing I was going to do. I grew up in a small village with a lot of open land and farms, so that’s a lot of fun as a kid.


If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?

My shool! I didn’t feel the urge to do my best in that time so I finished shool but I could have done so much more.

What do you feel most proud of?

My son, my grilfriend and my 2nd son that will come in July!!


If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

My Chemex, my snowboard and my camera.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Probably my name! It’s not for me what’s on there so I have a hard time answering this question.

ILCWlogoblack (2)

What is I Love Coffee Wear?

I Love Coffee has been an idea of mine for a while now and I started it up in January this year. It is fashionable coffee fashion. I do not want to do too much cheezy coffee slogans. I like to keep it as clean as a cup of Chemex brew.

What is your favorite kind brew method  of coffee?

That’s the Chemex by far. Love the subtle tastes and the clearity in a cup. Combining it with a fruity Yirgacheffe rocks my world!!!


In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?

Not really, I am really a lonley home barista. My girlfriend doesn’t even drink coffee.

What does a perfect day look like?

That changes but now probably, get up just before my son does. Breakfast, COFFEE! then snowboarding all day or being in the mountains, coming home to a nice fireplace and good COFFEE again! And that with familly is perfect

From a farm in Ethiopia to a Rocky Mountain bike trail

I’m sitting on a summit 6500′ above sea level where the Rocky Mountains of Canada meet the Columbia range. Surrounded by postcard views and staggering cliffs, I take in the crisp alpine air and turn my attention to the bag of carefully roasted beans I had stashed in my pack. Coffee is beautiful. I am reminded of this every time I open a new bag. These beans are more than vessels for caffeine, they have a story, and a purpose. The label on the bag can tell me where they came from, but how did they end up here?


As I run my fingers over their smooth, chocolatey skin I like to think about all the hands involved in bringing these beans to my cup. I try to picture the faces of the people who planted the seeds and watched them grow into trees, then carefully harvested, sorting through rows upon rows of plants using calloused and cracked fingers to delicately select only the ripest cherries.

For the farmers growing coffee, these beans are more than a job. It provides them with income to raise a family and put their kids through school. It’s a community, both locally and globally. They form relationships with buyers around the world, who in turn form relationships with the shops, roasters, and home brewers. Coffee connects me to people,  many of whom I’ll never meet, but who’s hard work and passion for great coffee binds us.


My cup was empty, hanging from my pack as I pedalled my way up this beautiful alpine single track. Now, at the top of the mountain, it is filled with coffee that minutes ago was beans spilling between my fingers. The story of these beans, from seeds, to trees, then harvested and processed, sold, roasted and bought, is long and beautiful. This particular coffee started life in the mountains of Ethiopia, and has now found its cup in the rocky mountains of Canada. I take a minute to revel in the fragrances cocooning around me, the alpine flowers and moss gently fraternizing with the sweet and floral aromas of the coffee. I appreciate the warmth of the cup in my hands against the mountain air, then enjoy in the view, and take a sip.

By Tim Friesen

Tim Friesen grew up exploring the forests of northern Alberta, Canada. As he got older his backyard expanded to encompass the endless mountain ranges of Canada and the US. With a mountain bike as his tool and coffee as his fuel, he is as at home in a tent in the La Sal mountains as he is in the back of his truck in the parking lot of Kicking Horse Bike Park. You may mail him here, or find him on instagram, facebook or his blog.

Humans of coffee: Radhika Valjee

Who is Radhika Valjee?

Radhika Valjee is a creative. A creative whose life revolves around creating – creating art, photography, videos, food and ideas.  She wants to share with the world her passion for creating and hopefully inspire those around her. She is currently studying architecture but her lifelong dream is to have her own coffee shop one day- one that is inspired by her favourite things (architecture, art and photography). In the mean time she plans to keep pushing herself creatively, keep learning and fill her soul with adventures.

What is your favorite childhood memory?

To be honest, I don’t remember much of my childhood but the memories I do recall all involve my grandfather. I grew up living with my grandparents and so they hold a very special place in my heart. I’ve always loved art, since childhood, and my grandfather is an incredible artist. I remember I would sit with him every night and ask him to draw my favourite story book characters. And after spending a good few minutes sketching them out I would then ask for him to colour them in with my crayons. And after all that, I would ask him to read the story book (it was always The Little Red Riding Hood) to me as I fell off to sleep and he never refused to do any of those things for me, he always made time for me.

If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?

If there’s anything I could do differently that would be to be more self-confident. A lot of the times I knew in my gut what to say or do but I didn’t because I was afraid. I feel that I missed a lot of good opportunities that came my way due to this lack of confidence. However, all that I have experienced and haven’t experienced have made me the person I am today and I wouldn’t want to change that.


What do you feel most proud of?

I am most proud of my work ethic and moral grounding. It’s easy to stray off path and follow what others are doing. It’s so easy to lose yourself, there have been many times where I nearly did but I am proud of each time I managed to stay grounded and remain true to myself. I think that each time life knocks you down and every time you stand back up you should be proud of yourself.

If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

My camera, to capture all awe-inspiring moments life has to offer, my copy of The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak to remind me how the love within you will always win and probably a sketchbook because drawing and writing is for the soul.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

I don’t believe in tombstones (being buried) but if I had to choose something to be remembered by I would like to be remembered for loving and inspiring people.


What is RAD.?

RAD. is a YouTube channel that I have started in hopes to share my creativity in the form of videos and in this way inspire others and send thought provoking messages. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I want to showcase but for now it’s a reflection of moments and topics that have inspired me to create.

What is your favorite kind of coffee?

I love a good old cappuccino. I enjoy a light to medium roast and Ethiopia is probably my favourite origin!

In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?

Bean There and Flynn Coffee in Johannesburg and Vintage Coffee in Pretoria.

What does a perfect day look like?

I am happiest when I’m near the ocean so the perfect day for me would involve a day near the ocean, with the right company or alone, a good book, the weather not too warm and not too cold, just right. And of course, a goof cup of coffee.

A Guide to Specialty Coffee in Tokyo and Kyoto

Most people don’t associate Japan with high quality coffee. Traditional coffee houses generally serve a filter variety of coffee, and Japan’s ubiquitous vending machines carry canned coffee, hot and cold. However, the specialty coffee scene is growing in popularity and quality. Starbucks and big chains still dominate streetscapes, but hidden down quiet lanes you’ll find the following cafes slinging quality espresso. Off the beaten tourist track, the search for the best brew is a great way to discover different neighbourhoods (and importantly stay caffeinated while at it). That’s the point of travel, right?



1 Chome-16-11 Tomigaya, 渋谷区 Tokyo 151-0063, Japan

This cafe and bar is the sister outpost of Fuglen Oslo, and you can tell. If you’re wandering around Yoyogi Park and surrounds in Tokyo, and have a hankering for a smooth cappuccino inside what feels like the coziest Scandinavian cabin, then Fuglen is your place. Who doesn’t love coffee with a vintage modernist aesthetic? It’s open well after dark (till 2am Friday and Saturday) for late night cravings.


Onibus Nakameguro

Japan, 〒153-0051 Tokyo, 目黒区Kamimeguro, 2−14−1 

Coffee underneath a rumbling train line in the trendy neighbourhood of Nakameguro?  Yes please. Onibus is one of the city’s best roasters, with another outpost in Okusawa, as well as being a major supplier. Once you start sipping away at your preferred brew in the cosy seating area at Onibus, the trains completely fade into the background.


Switch Coffee

1 Chome-17-23 Meguro, Tokyo 153-0063, Japan

Located on a peaceful residential street a short walk from Meguro station lies Switch, a roastery and cafe. It may be small, with just one bench for seating, a touch of vintage furniture and a sprawling plant, but Switch served up one of the smoothest, tastiest coffees I had in Tokyo, in a peaceful setting – I can’t think of a better way to start the day.


About Life Coffee Brewers

1 Chome-19-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0043, Japan

Walk a little way up Dogenzaka, away from the central bustle of Shibuya, and you might spot a small crowd of people gathering in a laneway. Welcome to About Life Coffee Brewers, a tiny hole in the wall coffee bar that is serving up some quality brews with beans from its partner Onibus.


Single O

2 Chome-23-2 Kamezawa, Sumida, Tokyo 130-0014, Japan

Single O Japan is a personal favourite, and well worth the effort of tracking down in the Ryogoku district near the Edo Museum. Single O has been one of Sydney (my hometown)’s best cafes and roasters for over a decade, and last year opened its first overseas location in Tokyo. It’s hidden down a quiet street, and you’ll be greeted by friendly faces and some of the best Aussie-approved brews in town.


Tokyo Bike

4 Chome-2-39 Yanaka, Taitō, Tokyo 110-0001, Japan

Tokyo Bike is a heavenly minimalist bike and retail store with a built in coffee counter. Tokyo Bike now has stores located around the world, but its original store in Tokyo’s central yet sleepy neighbourhood of Yanaka is a lovely place to stop for a coffee and then rent a stylish bike for the afternoon.


Blue Bottle

Shinagawa Station 2-18-1 Konan Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0075

Japan is the only country outside of the US in which California-based roaster Blue Bottle has set up shop so far. There’s not one, but seven Tokyo cafes (Aoyama, Kiyosumi, Nakameguro, Roppongi, Sangenjaya, Shinagawa, Shinjuku), which operate with smooth service, sleek interiors and an emphasis on quality espresso and manual brews. I particularly enjoyed the outpost at Shinagawa station, from where you can watch the immense rush hour crowds make their way through the station.



Visiting temple upon temple can be a tiring business, which is when quality coffee is desperately called upon. Kyoto has stepped up its specialty coffee game, and if you’re combining Tokyo and Kyoto as most travellers do, the following cafes are well worth a visit.


Japan, 〒600-8235 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, Higashiaburanokojicho, 552

Kurasu is tucked away right next to Kyoto Station, making it the most convenient starting point in town. They rotate beans from top roasters around the world, meaning you’ll always have a slightly different tasting experience in this lovely coffee bar, but the quality will remain second to none.



Japan, 〒604-8064 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, Honeyanocho, 560

Weekenders is the definition of a hidden gem – it’s located inside a small parking lot in the fantastic central shopping district of Kyoto (Teramachi Dori and surrounds). Weekenders has been around for over ten years, a pioneer of Kyoto’s specialty coffee scene. The little cafe feels far from the bustle of the city, giving you a few moments to recuperate with a lovely cup of coffee, made with its own roast.


By Rose Levy

Rose is a student of journalism, social sciences and is a German with a home base in Sydney and her heart in her favourite city of Berlin. She’s most often found wandering laneways, camera in hand and dog Mitzi in tow, searching for the best coffee and slickest cafes in town. She recently spent two weeks hunting for the best brews in Japan’s culture capitals. And was kind enough to share her experience with us. Follow her at her beautiful instagram page for more of her adventures.