This is the original Switch Coffee Tokyo, a small coffee shop in Meguro, which doubles as the roastery. That said, a better description is a roastery doubling as a coffee shop, the roaster occupying the bulk of the space at the back of the store, with a small counter at the front, where the coffee is served. There’s a second, equally small branch of Switch in Shibuya, by the Yoyogi-Hachiman station.
The principle draw is the coffee, which is just as well, since other than a small selection of gin and wine, that’s all there is. No tea, no food, not even a cake. When it comes to coffee, there’s a house-blend on espresso, plus a single-origin filter, one of the four seasonal single-origins Switch has in stock. In an interesting twist on the batch-brew model, this is made in a large cafetiere then kept warm in a flask.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Switch Coffee Roasters was quite well-known to me from my first visit to Tokyo in 2017, when I came across Switch’s coffee at Nem Coffee & Espresso and About Life Coffee Brewers. This made Switch a must-visit on my return in July, although, in typical Coffee Spot fashion, I did this in reverse order, starting with the recently-opened Yoyogi-Hachiman branch before visiting the original in Meguro.
Located on a quiet, residential street not far from Dendō Square Park and across the river from the Meguro Museum of Art, it’s not somewhere you’d accidentally wander past (even if you did, you might not notice it). As a coffee shop, it’s tiny, with about the same space for customers as the Yoyogi-Hachiman branch, although overall it’s much bigger: the roaster, which is at back, occupying about three-quarters of the store.
Switch has a single, narrow window in the centre and a glass door on the right. If you want to sit down, your only option is the small bench outside, in front of the window. Inside, there’s just enough space for a small set of retail shelves on the right and, on the left, a stand-up bar, with the counter running the full width of the store.
The coffee menu is just as simple as the layout. There’s a choice of filter coffee, latte or cappuccino, although I suspect you can also order an espresso. The coffee and latte can be had hot or iced, while there’s also espresso tonic and coffee with spirits. I started with a cappuccino, made with the seasonal house-blend, a combination of beans from El Salvador and Brazil. This was excellent, rich and creamy, with the milk holding the latte art pattern to the bottom of the cup. My only regret is that it was a single shot, so I didn’t really get the flavour of the coffee as much as I’d have liked. On the other hand, it was really nice, so maybe I shouldn’t complain too much!
All four seasonal single-origins are available to buy, and, if you want to try any of them, there are samples on the counter in carafes. If you want a full cup, then one of them, the El Salvador in my case, is available as the cafetiere batch brew, which was being freshly made while I was there. As a result, I felt it would have been rude not to have some, so I ordered a cup. This was a little too hot at first, but it matured as it cooled, ending up as a very fine, well-rounded, well-balanced cup of coffee. I liked it so much that I bought a bag to take back home with me.
|1-17-23 MEGURO • MEGURO-KU • TOKYO • 153-0063 • JAPAN|
|Monday||10:00 – 19:00||Roaster||Switch (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||10:00 – 19:00||Seating||Bench (outside)|
|Wednesday||10:00 – 19:00||Food||No|
|Thursday||10:00 – 19:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||10:00 – 19:00||Cards||Cash Only|
|Saturday||10:00 – 19:00||Wifi||No|
|Sunday||10:00 – 19:00||Power||No|
|Chain||No||Visits||25th July 2018|
If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, then take a look at the rest of Tokyo’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Tokyo.
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