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Starbucks Blues: 6 Spectacular Cafes around Tokyo you never knew existed

Starbucks Blues: 6 Spectacular Cafes around Tokyo you never knew existed

Tokyo has literally hundreds of cafes hidden within her streets, however one doesn't always have the luxury of time when caffeine levels are crashing and the winding streets of Tokyo are not being as cooperative as they should be, at these time, Starbucks always seems to be the answer.  Japan has a huge love affair with Starbucks, be it the stylish green cups or the free Wifi, there appears to be a Starbucks on every street corner and Station in Tokyo and growth isn't slowing down. In 2013 Starbucks was set to open up their 1,000th store in Tokyo alone!
I myself have fallen into this trap, Starbucks is just so convenient and as mentioned before, there's free WiFi, any weary travelers best friend. I can think of nothing more dangerous than searching the streets of Tokyo for the perfect cup of coffee when caffeine levels are low and Irritability levels are high. Lucky for you oh' weary coffee seeker, I have done the searching for you and placed my findings into this convenient list!

1) Komeda Coffee (コメダ珈琲)
via www.instagram.com
Photo credit: Instagram @AfroInJapan

Komeda Coffee is a chain store (チェーン店 )which can be found all over Tokyo. However, unlike Starbucks, Komeda Coffee doesn't have Free WiFi at every store, however, what it does have is pretty good black coffee and amazing breakfast options. There is also something called a 'Morning Service'. The morning service is Godly! If you come to Komeda Coffee before 11am and order a drink, usually around¥500, you also get a complimentary slice of toast and a soft boiled egg. The first time I went to Komeda Coffee I didn't know this service existed and was pleasantly surprised, if not a little shocked, when the kind looking waitress brought out my coffee accompanied by a light breakfast. Free breakfast aside, the menu consists of various treats that go beyond coffee, including a melon soda float, various sandwiches and pancakes. Worth a visit if the Starbucks blues hits a little too hard.

2) Lo Spazio (ロスパッツィオ)
via www.instagram.com
Photo credit: Instagram @AfroInJapan

Located near 学芸大学駅 (Gakugeidaigaku Station) Lo Spazio is an Italian bar with coffee to match. The Cafe has a spectacular atmosphere and some of the best coffee I had had in a while. Don't be fooled by the cuteness of the Latte art in the picture above, this coffee packs a serious punch. The cafe uses Italian Espresso machines to make their lattes but are not above hand dripping coffee if the situation calls for it. To keep to theme, the coffee itself is also Italian, and for someone who spent a long time drinking mostly Italian coffee, I can vouch for the pureness of this blend. The Cafe also has various Italian food and deserts to go with your coffee, however if its authentic Italian food your looking for perhaps else where would suit your needs, as this is more Italian food with a Japanese spin but don't let this dissuade you - the food looks good and is delicious. Either way, come for the coffee, stay for the spectacularly stylish atmosphere and good vibes.

3) Streamer Coffee Company
via www.instagram.com
Photo credit: Instagram @streamercoffeecompany

Photo Plucked straight from the Streamer Coffee Company Instagram account, as my own photo did not do the latte art justice. The Streamer coffee company have franchised out massively, it can now be found in Shibuya, Harajuku, Meguro and Nihonbashi, to name just a few. Actually, there are even stores as far as Kobe, and for good reason. The streamer coffee company's coffee all come with amazingly intricate latte art but this of course wouldn't be enough to keep customers coming back. The coffee itself is simply amazing. The coffee being produced at these stores are truly all works of art, the coffee is strong with rich deep flavour, the stores even have different blends of coffee - some of which can be bought on their site - link below-. I normally frequent the branch in Shibuya as it was one of my usual haunts during international student days, the Shibuya store is always full of people making the most of the free WiFi and, seemingly, getting some serious studying done. Apple laptops galore. However, don't be intimidated by the amount of students studying, the cafe is always super lively and one may even have to fight for a good seat by the window for a little coffee and people watching. 
For more about the streamer coffee company check out their Instagram at @streamercoffeecompany or visit their site below.
[ http://streamer.coffee/ ]

4) King George
via www.instagram.com
Photo credit: Instagram @kinggeorgedeli

King George located in 代金山(Daikinyama) and more recently 六本木 (Roppongi) is primarily a Sandwich shop which opened in 2013. This store makes the best sandwiches I've ever had. I had first visited this store which it was still in its infancy and pretty much unknown but even at that time the オシャレなカフェ(Stylish cafe) level was high. They cultivate all the sandwich ingredients themselves and take serious time and energy to make each sandwich something special, its time well spend. They treat their coffee the same way, on a hot summers day in Japan nothing beats an ice cold hand brewed Ice coffee from King George, the coffee, much like their sandwiches, have been made with the utmost care and attention to detail. Perhaps on a cold winters day you find yourself at King Georges door, fear not for their hand dripped hot coffee is something I would cross the arctic for. Not to mention all the staff who work for King George couldn't be nicer, their Instagram is a the best thing ever to follow (warning it will make you hungry) and they will reply to various comments! How Kind~
via www.instagram.com
Photo credit: Instagram @kinggeorgedeli
It really does make my day to know that even though they are so busy they still find time to interact with their past customers. Also vegan options are available. King George's webpage link is below.
[ http://crownedcat.com/ ]

5) Bridge
Bridge Latte (Photo Credit: AfroInJapan)

A true cafe, the menu is limited to Coffee, ice creams and various coffee snacks (cakes, brownies, cookies... etc). However, do not let that dissuade you from turning up to Bridge, the cafe is amazingly stylish without a doubt the most stylish on the list. The cafe is a short walk away from Asakusa which makes it the perfect location for any traveler who has just finished their battle around Asakusa and needs a moment to re-find their zen. Some of the baristas at Bridge do speak very good English breaking down all language barriers one might expect to find when entering a cafe in Japan. The coffee itself is divine, the baristas clearly know what they are doing in terms of coffee brewing as the coffee was without a doubt, delicious. I had ordered a latte, pictured above, but was blown away by the flavour, it blend they were using had amazingly deep chocolaty undertones which when made into a latte was simply spectacular.
[ http://brdg.jp/ ]

6) Fab Cafe
Marshmallow Latte (Photo Credit: AfroInJapan)

Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Shibuya's famous crossing, Fab Cafe is host to the equally famous (famously adorable) Marshmallow Latte! Fab Cafe is without a doubt my favourite cafe on this list, the cafe is far enough away from the madness of the station to not always be crowded but its close enough not to be a pain to get to. The cafes location aside, the cafe is host to an onslaught of equipment from cutting machines to textile presses, free WiFi and delicious coffee. What more does one need in a cafe around Shibuya? The cafe is host to various devices and textile machines as it appears to be the place for students in the area to go to in order to study. Because of this, one might think that the Cafe WiFi would be slightly lacking- one would thing wrong. The WiFi is super powerful, powerful enough to stream and download without any issues. The coffee is also spectacular, the Marshmallow Latte, pictured above, is one of their more famous cups of coffee so much so that it it basically their mascot. However if it is something less sweet you are after the cafe can easily provide, hosting all the types of coffee one would hope to find at a Cafe in central Tokyo. Further still the Cafe has a large menu consisting of light snacks and also full meals to keep you energized on your adventures around Tokyo.
[ Instagram:@fabcafe_tokyo ]

Bonus Round!

Brunch Kitchen (ブランチキッチン)
Almond Latte (Photo Credit: AfroInJapan)

Only on my last visit to Kamakura did I discover this amazing cafe, hidden away in Kamakura like its greatest secret Brunch Kitchen has probably one of the greatest perks I've experienced out of all cafes on the list - Free French Toast! That is to say that with every dish you order there is also an order of French Toast that comes along with it.
French Toast (Photo Credit: AfroInJapan)

Lets be honest here, it was the best french toast I've ever eaten. The almond latte was also divine but when compared to the majesty of that french toast everything else fails in comparison. I ordered a follow up coffee after my meal, Black of course as the meal had been quite sweet. The black coffee was roasted to perfection, brewed with such care, from the first sip I could tell I was in for a treat. If you have time on your travels escape the clutches of Tokyo and make your way down to Kamakura, walk on the beach, see the sites and enjoy a cup of the good stuff on me.
[ http://www.brunch-kitchen-kamakura.com/ ]

Hopefully together we can avoid the convenient clutches of Starbucks and perhaps find what other stylish cafes that Tokyo has to offer, Id love to hear what is your favourite cafe in Tokyo! 

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I see my previous comment suggesting you to proof read was deleted... it seems the author does not like constructive criticism.

Hi Dimitri, we removed your previous comment because it was personal in nature. We want to maintain a friendly, positive environment here, and if you have any feedback on an article, please keep it constructive. Thank you.

Is it safe to say that these places also offer decaf coffee? My body can't handle caffeine, but I always enjoy chocolate or a pastry with coffee. Do the baristas ask what latte art you want? Or do they just make magic happen? I've always wondered... Thanks for the article!

Yes, decaf coffee is offered at most of these places you just have to ask for it. Usually its up to the Barista what kind of latte art they will do. For example at the Streamer coffee company they normally have a few set different types of latte art they will make when crafting coffees.
Thank you for reading it! I'm really glad you enjoyed it