Little Nap Coffee Stand

Detail from the black, sliding door to Little Nap Coffee Stand in TokyoIn a small corner in the northwest Shibuya in Tokyo, west of Yoyokgi Park, there’s an interesting cluster of coffee shops, including the new branch of Switch Coffee Tokyo opposite Yoyogi-Hachiman station, another new arrival, Coffee Supreme Tokyo, and old hand, Fuglen. However, one can argue the trendsetter that started it all is just a little north of the station, where you’ll find a tall, thin building backing onto the railways tracks, home, since 2011, to Little Nap Coffee Stand.

Little Nap now boasts a roastery a 10-minute walk away on the other side of the station, but this is the original, a narrow, wedge-shaped space that serves four seasonal single-origins on pour-over (hot or cold), an impressive output for an infeasibly small space. When it comes to espresso, there’s the house-blend, available as espresso, macchiato or Gibraltar (the first time I’ve seen that in Japan outside of Blue Bottle Coffee), all served hot and only available if you’re sitting in. If you want a longer drink, there’s a choice of Americano, latte (hot or iced) or cappuccino. There’s also cakes, sandwiches, ice cream and a selection of retail bags to take home with you. Little Nap’s also crammed in an impressive sound system!

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On a quiet street west of Tokyo's Yoyogi Park stands this curiously-shaped building.
  • It's right next to the train line, by the way. How close? This close!
  • Ths is the building from the other direction, looking only slightly less strange.
  • Anyway, all this fuss is because it's the home of the wonderful Little Nap Coffee Stand.
  • Another train. Yes, they really are that frequent, although I didn't notice them inside.
  • As the name suggets, Little Nap is quite little. The door is on the left...
  • ... and there's a little bit of outdoor seating over here on the right.
  • Inside, and it's an awkward space to photograph. There's a bench along the left-hand wall.
  • The counter, meanwhile, runs along almost all of the back wall...
  • ... while there's a four-person window-bar at the front.
  • The rest of Little Nap beyond the window-bar. No room for any seating in there.
  • The view back along the counter.
  • Given how small it is, Little Nap has lots of interesting things, including this sound system.
  • A poster celebrating Little Nap's third birthday (four years ago) hangs over the toilet door.
  • Meanwhile, from 2015, a sticker celebrating its fourth birthday is on the grinder.
  • Just in case you were still wondering where you were.
  • Neat artwork on the back of the sliding door.
  • Meanwhile, a map on the wall behind the counter shows where the coffee is from.
  • Little Nap is also a roaster, with bags of retail coffee for sale...
  • ... and its own-brand reusable mugs.
  • More merchandising.
  • Not a bad slogan :-)
  • Given its size, space is at a premium, so every nook and cranny is made use of!
  • Nice espresso tool kit.
  • To business. The counter is ahead/to your right as you enter...
  • ... with the retail shelves and cake stand to the fore.
  • There's a surprising array of goodies on offer to tempt you.
  • Next comes the till and more cakes.
  • There's a menu on the wall behind the counter...
  • ... and also on the counter top itself...
  • ... while to the left, there are details of the four single origins available.
  • Next comes the espresso machine, a rather lovely custom Synesso...
  • ... followed by the pour-over station...
  • ... where the choice of beans are displayed in jars.
  • I, however, wanted espresso, so I put the boys to work.
  • And here it is, in a classic black cup.
  • I'll leave you with the lovely, mottled crema.
Javascript Sliders by v4.6

Yoyogi Park is part of the kilometre-long stretch of green, open space that separates Shinjuku to the north from Shibuya to the south, two teaming, bustling, overflowing metropolitan areas at stark contrast to the grass, trees and lakes of the parkland. Little Nap Coffee Stand has inherited something of the park’s tranquillity, set, as it is, directly opposite the main western entrance to the park. Here the traffic thunders by on a north-south arterial road, threatening to shatter the calm, but Little Nap is off on a quiet one-way street, a side loop, separated from the main road by its own little slice of green, complete with mini baseball parks.

All this backs onto what might be the quietest railway I know of. Not quiet in terms of volume of traffic, rather by virtue of the lack of noise as the trains slide by quietly by. Unlike many of Tokyo’s railways, which are either on stilts on in tunnels, this one runs along at ground level, but despite there being a train every minute or so, I hardly heard them go by once I was inside.

Which brings us nicely to Little Nap, which is in a long, thin residential building that is three storeys tall. There’s a roof-balcony topping things off, although this doesn’t really apply to Little Nap, which occupies the ground floor, with a design agency next door in what looks suspiciously like it might have once been the garage. Oh, and the building is wedge-shaped for good measure. Because, hey, where’s the challenge in just having a long, narrow building when you can have a long, narrow, wedge-shaped one instead?

The door to Little Nap is on the far left-hand side, where the building is at its deepest. Rather than opening in (no space) or out (might hit someone), the solid metal door slides on runners to the right, partly obscuring the large window next to it every time someone goes in or out. Between them, door and window account for half of the front, the remainder occupied by a three-person bar, should you decide to sit outside.

Mind you, inside there’s not much more seating. A long bench runs all the way along the left-hand wall, which will sit maybe six people, while there’s a four-person window bar to the right, and that’s it. The rest of the space is taken up with the counter, which runs along the back wall, occupying more and more of the space as Little Nap narrows. Despite the lack of seating, customers, as seems to be the case in Japan, linger over their coffee, perhaps drawn by the air-conditioning, a real boon since I was there during the hottest heatwave on record (it was 34⁰C and humid that day).

Turning to the coffee, everyone else was drinking iced something or other, but I’ve yet to reach a temperature where I don’t want my coffee hot, so I eyed up the Synesso and Little Nap’s house blend. I was tempted by the Gibraltar, but instead went for a straight espresso, rewarded a really short shot, served in a classic black cup with a glass of water on the side. It was a lovely, well-balanced shot, with a back-of-the-mouth taste and it was gone in two sips. Highly recommended!

5-65-4 YOYOGI • SHIBUYA-KU • TOKYO • 151-0053 • JAPAN +81 (0) 3-3466-0074
Monday CLOSED Roaster Little Nap (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 09:00 – 19:00 Seating Bench, Window-Bar, Bar (outside)
Wednesday 09:00 – 19:00 Food Cake, Sandwiches
Thursday 09:00 – 19:00 Service Counter
Friday 09:00 – 19:00 Payments Cards + Cash
Saturday 09:00 – 19:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 09:00 – 19:00 Power No
Chain Local Visits 15th July 2018

For an alternative view, check out this by Coffee Drinkers Make Better Lovers, from a visit in 2013. Meanwhile, here’s a more recent viewpoint from Audrey of Just Curious to Know, from a 2017 visit.

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4 thoughts on “Little Nap Coffee Stand

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