Weekenders Coffee

A small notice on the floor at Weekenders Coffee in Kyoto tells you that you've come to the right place.Tucked away in the back of a car park (something it shares with the Acme Coffee Roasting Company, of Seaside, California), Weekenders Coffee is Kyoto’s hidden gem. It’s definitely in the “you don’t need to find my coffee shop do you?” school, typified by the original (and now closed) Flat Caps Coffee in Newcastle.

However, it would be a shame if you let any difficulty finding Weekenders put you off, since it really is a gem. Roasting all its own coffee, which it serves from a ground-floor counter in a beautiful, wooden building, there’s a choice of house-blend or single-origin on espresso, plus multiple single-origins on pour-over, all supplemented with a small collection of excellent cake. You can also buy the beans.

There’s seating, in the shape of a two-person bench at the front. Unusually for this sort of operation, proper cups are available for those who aren’t going anywhere.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Let's play 'hunt the coffee shop' shall we? Starting with this Kyoto parking lot.
  • Approaching from the north, there's really not much indication of a coffee shop...
  • ... until you look really closely at the side of the gate. It's Weekenders Coffee!
  • Perhaps things are clearer coming from the other direction...
  • On second thoughts, no, it's not. Have you seen the sign yet?
  • Signs notwithstanding, is there actually a coffee shop here?
  • Let's go and find out, shall we?
  • Wait! What's that at the back of the car park, on the left?
  • I think this is what we're looking for, don't you?
  • It's a lovely setting, complete with its own little courtyard.
  • In case you were still wondering if we've come to the right place...
  • There's not a lot to Weekenders Coffee, just a counter really...
  • ... with the espresso machine tucked away at the far end.
  • There are stairs off to the right. Unfortunately, upstairs is a private space.
  • If you want to sit down, there's just this bench outside on the left.
  • Admitedly, you do have this lovely, little garden space to look at.
  • I loved these sliding doors, by the way.
  • I was also taken by this pot.
  • The opening hours are hung up on the wall by the stairs. Don't come on Wednesday.
  • Talking of things I loved, the curved, wooden ceiling was pretty neat.
  • Obligatory lighting shot, Japanese style.
  • So, to business. The till is on the right...
  • ... next to the retail section where you can buy any of Weekenders' range of beans.
  • There's a range of single-origins and a couple of blends.
  • One of the bags of single-origin coffee, an Ethiopean Nano Challa.
  • There's also a limited selection of cake.
  • The coffee menu, offering a stripped-back espresso selection & pour-over.
  • The EK-43, for grinding the single-origins, is at the back.
  • ... while there's a line of three V60s to the left of the till.
  • However, I was there for something espresso-based.
  • Behold, my cappuccino, unusually served in a tulip cup.
  • The latte art is worth a second look...
  • ... with the beautifully-steamed milk holding its pattern to the bottom of the cup.
  • I also bought a bag of the Kenya Kainamiu to take up to Glasgow with me.
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The biggest challenge is finding Weekenders Coffee. I’d been forewarned that it was in a car park, but even with the help of Google Maps (which, in fairness, has it accurately pinpointed) it took me a while. The trick is to find the block it’s located in (Google Maps will do this for you; alternatively head for the intersection of Takoyakushi Dori and Tominokoji Dori). Then just walk around the block until you find it, although don’t follow my example and start walking clockwise from the southeast corner (the Takoyakushi/Tominokoji intersection) because Weekenders is halfway along the eastern side of the block.

Not that you’d know it when you get there, since it’s just a parking lot. However, look more carefully and, attached to the wire gates, you’ll find small, laminated notices proclaiming the presence of Weekenders Coffee. Not that there’s any actual sign of a coffee shop, but persevere and head into the car park (which is thankfully quite small). Right at the back, tucked in on the left-hand side, is a small, two-storey building, the home of Weekenders.

It’s a beautifully-proportioned building, rather out of keeping with its nondescript surroundings. The counter’s downstairs, with sliding wooden doors which are fully retracted when Weekenders is open. This pretty much fills the entire space, with the retail area to the right, cake and till in the centre, and V60s and La Marzocco espresso machine on a raised portion to the left. There’s just enough space to stand and order, sheltered under a projecting porch, but that’s about it. There’s a water station on the right-hand wall and, tantalisingly, a curtain (looking for all the world like a pair of trousers hung up to dry) across a flight of stairs leading to the upstairs room.

However, tantalising is all that it is, since the room, which is also visible through a big, open window above the counter, is off-limits. If you want to sit down, you’ll have to make do with the little, two-person wooden bench off to the left, nestled under a similarly small porch. Although a car park doesn’t sound the most attractive vista, it’s actually quite lovely.

When it comes to the coffee, Weekenders roasts all its own, with two blends and (during my visit) five single-origins (two Ethiopians and a Kenyan, Guatemalan and Costa Rican). These are available as beans, while there are also coffee bags for sale (one-shot pour-over filters of pre-ground coffee that you construct over your cup). There’s a cut-down espresso menu (espresso, cappuccino or latte, plus iced latte) and pour-over through the V60.

If I read the menu correctly, you can have either the espresso blend or any of the single-origins on espresso and any of the single-origins on V60, although my Japanese wasn’t up to confirming this. I ordered a cappuccino, served in a 6oz tulip cup. Rich and creamy, the coffee and milk were in perfect harmony, while the superbly-steamed milk held the latte art to the bottom of the cup.

560 HONEYANOCHO • NAKAGYO-KU • KYOTO • 604-8064 • JAPAN
www.weekenderscoffee.com +81 (0) 75-746-2206
Monday 07:30 – 18:00 Roaster Weekenders Coffee (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:30 – 18:00 Seating Bench (outside)
Wednesday CLOSED Food Cake
Thursday 07:30 – 18:00 Service Counter
Friday 07:30 – 18:00 Cards Cash Only
Saturday 07:30 – 18:00 Wifi No
Sunday 07:30 – 18:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 28th April 2017

You can also drink Weekenders excellent coffee in the wonderful Vermillion Cafe, southeast of the centre of Kyoto.

For more on Weekenders, see the latest issue of Caffeine Magazine. In other news, I bought a bag of the Kenyan Kainamui AA beans to bring home with me. If you believe the rumours, it will be making an appearance next weekend at a special Japanese cupping at the Glasgow Coffee Festival.


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