The Local Coffee Stand was a chance discovery in Tokyo, conveniently located halfway along my walk from my hotel in Shibuya and the office in Minamiaoyama. I passed it on the second day, when the A-board caught my eye, and the following day, I popped in for a cappuccino to take to the office with me. Of all the places I visited in Tokyo, it perhaps reminded me the most of a western, third-wave coffee establishment in layout as well as look and feel. It also kept what I call “western hours”, opening at 8am, whereas a lot of more traditional Japanese coffee shops don’t open until 10 o’clock or even noon.
The Local was set up by the people behind Good Coffee, an online resource for finding good coffee in Tokyo. The coffee shop, which showcases roasters from around Japan, is on the ground floor, while the floor above is used by Good Coffee as its training centre and coffee academy. The Local’s not a huge spot, with space for maybe a dozen people in the seating area at the back, with three more at the counter. There’s espresso, bulk-brew and pour-over, plus cake for those who are hungry.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The Local Coffee Stand is on the southern side of the busy Aoyama Dori street, just east of Shibuya station. From the outside, The Local looks as if it’s just a small takeaway joint, but like my first stop on this trip, Maruyama Coffee in Nishi Azabu, there’s more to it when you go inside. Alternatively, you can sit outside on the single bench in front of the square window on the left.
Long and thin, the front part of The Local is occupied by a large, tiled counter on the left, leaving just enough space on the right for a narrow corridor leading to the seating at the back. Alternatively, sit at the counter, perched on one of three round bar stools, for a great view of the brew-bar. You can also see the business end of the espresso machine, which faces towards the window at the front of the bar.
Beyond the counter are two square, three-person tables on the left, next to a broad bench which runs along the wall. Opposite these, on the right-hand wall, is a small set of retail shelves. Beyond these, on the right, stairs lead up to the training room, where public coffee courses are held, while on the left, there’s a small niche with a three-person bar on the left, a two-person bar at the back and a small two-person table tucked in on the right, all with great views of the whitewashed walls.
It’s a fairly tight space, but high ceilings mean that it doesn’t feel too small or cramped. The only natural light comes from the front, which is at least all glass, with the door on the right. The wooden floorboards compliment the whitewashed walls and tiled counter, while plenty of exposed bulbs provide light at the back.
The Local has multiple options on espresso and filter, all of which change on a regular basis. There’s a blend on espresso for milk-based drinks from roasters Life Size Cribe. Known as Green Continent, it’s a mix of a natural Brazilian and a washed Kenyan. I had this in a lovely, rich, creamy cappuccino to go, milk and coffee complementing each other really well.
Meanwhile, for espressos and Americanos, there was an Ethiopian single-origin from Corner 27 Coffee Works. If you are in a hurry, there’s also a bulk-brew option. This uses a different single-origin every week, drawn from a pool of five single-origins (which are changed every month). These are on offer on pour-over using either V60 or Kalita Wave and can be had hot or over ice. While I was there, choices included beans from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Costa Rica and El Salvador.
When I popped in one evening after work, I had a V60 of a Costa Rican Red Honey processed coffee, roasted by Taoca Coffee from Hyogo. A well-balanced coffee, this matured as it cooled, offering hints of fruit towards the end of the cup. I was also in the market for some coffee for the Japanese Coffee Cupping that I was holding at the Glasgow Coffee Festival, so I picked up a couple of bags while I was there. These were a Gatina Factory from Kenyan, roasted by Rokumei Coffee of Nara, and a Carrizal from Costa Rica, roasted by Trunk Coffee of Nagoya.
|2-10-15 SHIBUYA • SHIBUYA-KU • TOKYO • 150-0002 • JAPAN|
|http://thelocal2016.com||+81 (0) 3-3409-1158|
|Monday||08:00 – 19:00||Roaster||Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 19:00||Seating||Tables, Bars, Counter, Bench (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 19:00||Food||Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 19:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 19:00||Cards||Cash Only|
|Saturday||10:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 18:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||19th, 21st April 2017|
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