Sakura, Origami And Upscale Coffee At Newly Opened Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo
#Starbucks Isn't Joking … This is serious!
This could be the most exciting thing happening to Japan's coffee scene this year!
After serving Japan’s community with freshly brewed Seattle-born coffee for 23 years, Starbucks is going bolder and bigger than ever, releasing its perhaps most impressive international store to date, right here in the Japanese capital and just in time for the sakura season.
This Thursday, Feb. 28, the hugely anticipated Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo — the coffee chain’s fifth in the world and first in Japan — will open its doors to the public in the stylish Nakameguro district, an area known for its stunning sakura scenery in spring.
Located along the Meguro River where cherry blossoms will soon start blooming, the location is undeniably genius. But so is the roastery itself — from its exterior and interior to the selection of pastries, coffee beans, original merchandise — and oh my… that espresso martini you’ll be finding yourself drinking more often than your morning brew.
Unique Japanese design
The four-story roastery, which is essentially a tribute to premium coffee quality, innovation and human connection, but also Japanese craftsmanship, is entirely foreign in its concept, but very local in design and hospitality.
Designed in collaboration with Japan’s ultra-famous architect Kengo Kuma who seems to be behind every creative modern building in Japan (and many overseas, as well), the roastery is almost a dollhouse of Japanese culture and symbolism.
Located along the Meguro River where the cherry blossoms will soon start blooming, the location is undeniably genius.
Inspired by its location, as soon as you enter the store you notice a massive copper cask decorated with 2,100 copper sakura leaves, each handmade by Japanese artisans. The cask is 17 meters high and passes through all four floors, making your sakura viewing pretty much a year-round event, even when the leaves outside wither.
The ceiling, which reminiscences of a wooden puzzle, is inspired by origami, and numerous washi floor lamps add a warm touch to the brightly lit up interior. The wooden tables, bars and walls are made of bright Japanese cyprus, which certainly adds up to the relaxing vibe of the place.
Not just coffee
The roastery is home to several new international faces that promise to go well with coffee, including Italy’s famous Princi Bakery on the first floor, Starbucks’ largest-in-the-world tea bar Teavana on the second floor, and the Arriviamo Bar on the third floor, a regular favorite at other Starbucks Reserve location, too.
The Arriviamo Bar is where you can taste creative coffee-inspired cocktails and mocktails, including the Nakameguro Espresso Martini (¥2,000), an addictive fusion of Japanese vodka, cacao and chestnut liqueur and freshly brewed espresso topped with chocolate shavings, and the quite strong in alcohol Spring Shower (¥2,000), a cocktail with an actual sakura flower submerged in it.
The fourth floor also has a lounge, which will occasionally be serving as a seminar space. With its large, somewhat private table, this is also the store’s best corner for business meetings or to get some work done (if you need more space!).
The outdoor decks on the third and fourth floors are also pretty cool, especially at springtime when you can literally oversee the sakura blooming along the Meguro River.
And back to coffee, which is perhaps the main reason to visit this place, the drink — and the beans — quite literally surround you everywhere you go here, from the main bar area on the first floor all the way up to the 4th floor. There is a massive roaster on the first floor, just at the center of the store, where all coffee bean bags get unloaded. From there the beans travel around the store via the adjacent Chain-Vey and then across the roastery. It is quite cool to watch! Two copper-clad roasters are housed on the first and third floors.
The roastery offers over 100 kinds of coffee beverages, brewed in five different ways, many of which are exclusively offered at the Tokyo store.
Though it will certainly take a while until the queues calm down, Starbucks Reserve Roastery is definitely worth checking out. Not only because it’s a beautiful coffee house with awe-inspiring design, but also because it’s spacious enough to let you breathe in and enjoy the creative vibe. Most importantly, it smells of really good coffee. It seems like a great place to sit, back and relax, spring or any other season, and enjoy a good selection of drinks be it coffee or late night martinis.
The bakery on the first floor offers huge focaccias, which don’t come cheap (¥980 apiece), but are fresh, delicious and simply nice to look at.
The cakes — and the Tiramisu — also look promising. The coffee drinks and beans aren’t cheap — bean flavors start at around ¥1,000 per 100g, which is nearly double as at most coffee beans shops.
Nevertheless, while we don’t recommend you to go immediately after its opening (you won’t enjoy your coffee if you have to wait two hours for it), we definitely encourage you to try it out — preferably before the sakura is gone!
Address: 2-19-2 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Access: 10-min walk from Nakameguro station
Open: Daily, 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Opens on Thu, Feb. 28, 2019.