Lattest

The eponymous Lattest, the signature drink of Lattest in Omotesando, Tokyo: a single espresso shot extracted into a glass of chilled milk.Lattest, the self-style Omotesando Espresso Bar, is in good company, Omotesando being the home of several excellent coffee shops, including Sarutahiko Coffee, Ratio &C and, of course, Koffee Mameya. It’s also across the street from Bread, Espresso &, where I had started my current Tokyo coffee adventures the day before. It also helps that Lattest is a few minutes’ walk from both my hotel and my office for this trip.

Lattest has been going since 2012 and now boasts six branches, this being the original. There’s an evening espresso/alcohol bar in Azabujuban, plus four recent openings, one in a bag/shoe shop and three more in bike shops, continuing the long association between espresso and cycling.

Lattest does pretty much what the name says, serving a range of espresso-based drinks, including the synonymous “lattest”, an espresso shot over cold milk. All the coffee is roasted in-house on the roaster in Glitch Coffee, which Lattest rents slots on. There are one/two single-origins on espresso, plus three others (Ecuador, Kenya, Ethiopia), all roasted for filter and available to buy in retail bags. There’s a small selection of other drinks, a handful of cakes and a toasted sandwich option if you want something more savoury.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On a (relatively) quiet street in Omotesando, Tokyo, an A-board catches the eye.
  • It's Lattest, the self-styled Omotesando Espresso Bar...
  • ... which is here, set back from the street, behind/above an open basement courtyard.
  • There's a little bit of outside seating in the shape of this solitary table...
  • ... while the window is fiull of good ideas.
  • This one, meanwhile, is full of useful information.
  • In case you've forgetton where we are.
  • This, by the way, is the view down towards the basement courtyard (seen from inside).
  • Talking of which, when you enter, the counter is opposite the door on the right.
  • There's a little bit of seating off to the right, between the counter and the window...
  • ... including this four-person window-bar overlooking the courtyard.
  • There are also these two box seats at a table at the end of the counter.
  • However, the bulk of the seating is on the left-hand side, starting with a communal table.
  • Beyond this, against the left-hand wall, is a wooden bench, with a row of tables...
  • ... five in all. Each of the box-like tables has a chair as well.
  • Another view of the tables.
  • Finally, against the back wall, there's another bench seat, this one with four tables.
  • The view back across Lattest from the far left-hand corner.
  • The communal table dominates the centre of the room, no matter how you look at it.
  • Nice message.
  • Despite all the windows, Lattest has plenty of lights. These hang above the central table.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot...
  • ... and a bonus one from below.
  • The large, concrete counter is on the right-hand side of Lattest...
  • ... with the menu on the wall behind the counter.
  • There's also a menu on the counter-top...
  • ... along with a small selection of retail bags of beans.
  • Lattest also has some neat merchandising (off to the left as you enter).
  • The heart of the operation is this Nuova Simonelli at the front of the counter...
  • ... which has a cut-away panel in the front to show its inner workings.
  • Sometimes (such as on my second visit) there's a choice on espresso, as shown here.
  • Down to business. This is Mizuki, one of the two baristas, pouring latte art.
  • I love the look of concentration on a barista's face when pouring...
  • ... watching intently as the pattern is built up...
  • ... element by element.
  • This one is a particularly complex pattern.
  • Almost there.
  • And with just one final flourish...
  • ... and we're done! Sadly that wasn't actually for me.
  • Instead I'd ordered an espresso. Neat cup, by the way.
  • Lovely crema. This was made by Yumi, another barista, who also roasted the coffee.
  • I was back the following week to try the 'Lattest'. Here the espresso sinks into the milk.
  • The result, seen from above...
  • ... and here, next to a neat message on the counter.
  • I'll leave you with Yumi & Mizuki from my first visit, with my book, The Philosophy of Coffee.
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Lattest is on one of the jumble of narrow streets north of Omotesando Avenue and west of Aoyama Dori. It’s also directly across the street from Bread, Espresso &. Set well back from the street, it’s behind/above a basement-level courtyard, with access to the left, which leads you along the front of Lattest. There’s a solitary high, round table out here on the left, with three plastic stools for those who want to sit outside.

Alternatively, head to the right, where you’ll find the door in what is probably the most complex part of the layout. The front of Lattest is split in two, with a pair of windows on the right overlooking the courtyard, while there are a further two windows on the left. These are set slightly back from the right-hand pair, leaving a gap where you’ll find the door, opening to the right.

Lattest occupies a single, open concrete shell, the windows along the front joined by more along the left-hand and back walls. A large, concrete counter is against the right-hand wall, set back from the two right-hand windows, which leaves space for some seating. The second of the windows is set slightly forward of the first, leaving space for a four-person window-bar to the right of the door. Meanwhile, there’s a table at the end of the counter, with a pair of box-like seats, facing the bulk of the Nuova Simonelli espresso machine and its two grinders. The long part of the counter, where you’ll find the till, looks out across Lattest, a lovely, large, rectangular wooden communal table occupying the centre of the space, seating 14 using a mixture of chairs and stools, six down either side and one at each end. The remaining seating consists of two wooden bench seats, one running along the left-hand wall, the other along the right-hand side of back wall, set back slight from the left-hand side to create a long nook. Both of these have low, square wooden tables, each with a chair, the one to the left having five tables, while the other has four.

Despite the multitude of windows, the lighting can best be described as subdued due to Lattest’s position, set back from the street. Therefore the multiple spot lights and three large lights above the communal table are welcome. If I had one complaint, the bare walls, floor and ceiling do nothing to absorb noise, so it can get very loud, very quickly. All it took during my visit was a solitary, noisy child.

I was served by Yumi, who is the manager and who also roasts Lattest’s coffee. During my visit, the espresso was an Ethiopian, which, Yumi explained, was her favourite, although she occasionally changes it (when I returned the following week, it had been joined by a dark-roast Brazilian). I tried it as an espresso which was pulled commendably short. The first thing to hit me was the wonderful floral smell, while the initial sip revealed some acidity that lessened on the second (and final) sip. All-in-all, it was gorgeous, a beautiful, well-balanced espresso.

I popped back early the following week to try the eponymous “lattest”, a 100ml glass of chilled milk over which a single shot of espresso is extracted. It is exactly the sort of drink that I usually avoid, so I was pleasantly surprised. The espresso starts at the top, so you initially get quite a hit, then it slowly sinks/mixes with the milk, the result being an almost dessert-like drink. Not something I’d want every day, but a nice change from my usual cortado or flat white!

3-5-2 JINGUMAE • SHIBUYA-KU • TOKYO • 150-0001 • JAPAN
http://lattest.jp +81 (0)3-3478-6276
Monday 10:00 – 19:00 Roaster Lattest (espresso only)
Tuesday 10:00 – 19:00 Seating Tables, Window-bar
Wednesday 10:00 – 19:00 Food Cakes, Toastie
Thursday 10:00 – 19:00 Service Counter
Friday 10:00 – 19:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 10:00 – 19:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 19:00 Power Limited
Chain Local Visits 19th, 23rd October 2018

Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to Tokyo for more great Coffee Spots.


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2 thoughts on “Lattest

  1. Pingback: Bread, Espresso & | Brian's Coffee Spot

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