The Local Coffee Stand

Detail from the A-board outside The Local Coffee Stand in Tokyo, promising Wifi, power and a second floor.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.

  • Walking to the office during my week in Tokyo, this caught my eye on the second day.
  • A recent addition to the Tokyo coffee scene, at first I thought it was just a to-go place...
  • ... with a bench outside for seating. It's The Local Coffee Stand, by the way.
  • However, the A-board promised more: wifi, power and a second floor...
  • Stepping inside, it's immediately obvious that The Local's a lot more than a takeaway joint.
  • The view from the end of the counter, looking back towards the door.
  • If you like, you can sit at the counter, where you have a good view of the brew-bar.
  • Alternatively, there's more seating beyond the counter, starting with this table on the left.
  • There's another table along a wide bench on the left, then a little niche at the back...
  • ... which has a table on the right, and two bars, one at the back and one on the left.
  • This is next to the stairs leading to the second floor. Sadly it's not public seating.
  • Instead it houses the training labs for Good Coffee, a sister company to The Local.
  • I see I'm not the only one who does calendars...
  • I thought that the flowers on the counter...
  • ... and on the tables were a good idea.
  • The recessed power-points are also a neat touch. There's a choice of earthed or non-earthed.
  • There's merchandising on the walls...
  • ... and also on the retail shelves opposite the counter.
  • This includes this neat little cup holder...
  • ... although the shelves are mostly given over to coffee beans for sale.
  • There's not a lot of natural light inside The Local, so these lights were a welcome addition.
  • Naturally I was fascinated by them...
  • ... and took a lot of photos.
  • And I do mean a lot.
  • Probably too many, actually.
  • There are also more conventional bulbs on display.
  • The counter is at the front of the shop, on the left as you enter.
  • There's a menu and filter equipement at the back.
  • The menu is nice and concise...
  • ... while on the right is the EK-43 and boiler for the pour-over...
  • ... and on the left is the bulk-brewer for the 'Quick Brew' option.
  • There's another menu on the counter, along with the choice of the beans for the pour-over.
  • This menu is slightly more expansive than the one on the wall.
  • A neat feature is this: an on-line pre-ordering system.
  • You can place an order before you get to the shop. The status of the orders are shown here.
  • On my first visit, I was after something espresso-based for the walk to the office.
  • This is the espresso blend that was in the hopper, from roasters, Life Size Cribe.
  • My cappuccino, to go, in my Sol Cup.
  • Check out the latte art...
  • ... which survived all the way to the bottom of the cup.
  • I was back two days later for another cappuccino to go.
  • However, I also popped in one day after work for a pour-over. There's a choice of five beans.
  • The Local has a set of neat pour-over stands...
  • ... although they are not actually used when doing the brewing!
  • Here the coffee, in a V60, is left to bloom.
  • Next step is the first pour...
  • ... where the V60 is almost completely filled to the top.
  • Then it's left to filter through before being topped back up with the second pour.
  • Again, the V60 is almost filled to the top.
  • Then it's just a case of leaving it filter through...
  • ... and transfering to a mug to serve.
  • I'll leave you with a couple of the coffees I picked up for the Glasgow Coffee Festival...
  • ... where I held a cupping of coffees from seven different Japanese roasters.
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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 +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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  1. Pingback: Japanese Coffee Cupping | Brian's Coffee Spot

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