Maruyama Single Origin

Detail from the sign above the door of Maruyama Coffee's branch in Nishi AzabuIf you’ve been keeping up with my adventures in Japan over the last two years, you’ll know that Maruyama Coffee, the regional chain from Nagano prefecture, holds a special place in my heart. My first ever coffee in Japan was at Maruyama in Nishi Azabu, while more recently I’ve visited Maruyama in Nagano Station. Today’s Coffee Spot is Maruyama Single Origin, a relatively recent addition, which opened last year in Tokyo’s Aoyama neighbourhood.

Maruyama Single Origin occupies a small, two-storey building, with downstairs serving retail/takeaway customers, while upstairs offers Maruyama’s traditional full table service. You get the usual Maruyama excellence, but with the twist that the store only serves single-origins, with a daily option on espresso and the full range (usually around 30 single-origins, from up to 10 different countries, including several exclusive to the store) available through syphon and cafetiere.

If anything, the focus is even more firmly on the coffee, with delights such as an espresso and cappuccino set and, a new one on me, the same espresso served in two different cups. Perhaps as compensation for this, there’s a reduced food offering compared to the other locations, with just a small selection of cakes, plus toast.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery. All the photos are from my 2018 visit unless otherwise noted.

  • A narrow lane in Aoyama, Tokyo. I'll be honest: it's not looking promising.
  • The view from other end of the alley isn't much more promising. However, persevere...
  • ... head on in. Before long, you'll find Maruyama Single Origin on the left.
  • The view past Maruyama, further along the alley to where we started the gallery.
  • This is the view coming the other way.
  • Let's go in, shall we? There's a small window-bar on the right as you enter...
  • ... which is the only downstairs seating. Otherwise, it's for retail sales/takeaway coffee.
  • The Black Eagle espresso machine is also down here, which makes the coffee to go.
  • Stairs on the left lead to the upstairs, while the rest of Maruyama stretches out ahead.
  • The counter, where you pay, is on the right, with retail shelves on the left and at the back.
  • This is the retail offering from last year. There's even more here now.
  • The shelves on the left are lined with retail bags of coffee...
  • ... while in 2018 there was a solitary table at the back. There's a lot more back here now.
  • The view from the back of Maruyama Single Origin.
  • All (30+) single-origins are for sale, with photographs of the farmers with their beans.
  • Maruyama is also keen to show off all the awards that its baristas have won.
  • I can't say I blame them!
  • There are also books for sale.
  • Last year it was just this small equipment and merchandising table, but there's more now.
  • There are also goodies like these chocolate jellies which I saw last week.
  • If you want to try before you buy, there are always samples of a selection of beans.
  • As well as the display bags on the shelves, there are multiple bags behind the counter.
  • If you buy a bag of beans, you get a free coffee. You can also order takeaway downstairs.
  • There's a very limited espresso-based menu, either iced (left) or hot (right).
  • However, if you're staying, you need to head upstairs.
  • The view of the counter from halfway up the stairs.
  • Almost at the top!
  • The view from top of the stairs, looking towards the seating section at the rear.
  • There are more (two-person) tables off to the right.
  • The view from the table in the far corner, seen on one of my recent visits last week.
  • There's also a front section. To get there, go past the counter which is opposte the stairs...
  • ... and there it is, running the width of Maruyama.
  • There's actually a line of five of these two-person tables under the windows at the front.
  • Another view of the seating at the front...
  • The corridor connecting front and back runs alongside the stairs on the left.
  • The coounter, meanwhile, is where all the filter coffee is made, with syphons at the front...
  • ... and cafetieres off to the side and at the back.
  • Upstairs is open to the A-frame roof, by the way, complete with ceiling fans and skylights.
  • It's full table service upstairs. You'll get a comprehensive menu...
  • ... which includes exclusive single-origins and seasonal drinks (from October last year).
  • You'll also get a free paper with all the single-origins (this is from September this year).
  • My coffee from my most recent visit, an espresso / cappuccino set.
  • Once you've finished and paid (you can pay at the counter upstairs), head downstairs...
  • ... where it's time to say goodbye to Maruyama, now all lit up in evening.
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Maruyama Single Origin is a few blocks from my office in the direction of my hotel and remains open until the civilised hour of nine o’clock in the evening. As a result, I called in twice after work, both on my current trip to Tokyo and when I visited last year on my around the world trip. I’d also love to visit on the way into work as well, but Maruyama doesn’t open until 10 o’clock.

Occupying a long, thin two-storey building on a narrow alley in Aoyama, it’s around the corner from Stockholm Roast and one street over from Blue Bottle Coffee. Downstairs, it’s all clean white walls and wooden panelling, while upstairs is open to the rafters of the A-frame room, the central ridge running the width of the building.

The door is on the left, opening onto an L-shaped window-bar to right, which occupies the only downstairs window. Ahead of you, stairs rise steeply along the left-hand wall, while on the right, up a small step, is a long counter, the retail selection on the left-hand wall behind/below the staircase and along the back wall. The Black Eagle espresso machine sits at the front of the counter, facing the window, while the remainder is given over to retail sales, with samples for you to try.

You can order takeaway downstairs, but otherwise, head upstairs, where Maruyama’s full table service awaits you. Opposite the top of the stairs, against the right-hand wall, the counter effectively splits upstairs in two. There’s a small seating section at the front (behind you to your right) and a slightly larger one at the back (directly ahead). The counter, meanwhile, is where all the filter coffee is made, with syphons on show at the front, and cafetieres off to one side.

The rear section has two four-person tables on the left, with the second under a window in the back wall. To the right is an L-shaped arrangement of three square, two-person tables in the corner formed by the back and right-hand walls. The front section, accessed via a short corridor between the counter and the stairs, has five two-person tables running the full width of Maruyama under a pair of windows, with a further window in the left-hand wall. Despite the multiple windows, and a pair of small skylights, the lighting is still best described as subdued.

A member of staff will indicate a table for you, although you can express a preference for front or back. Once seated, you’ll receive a glass of water, menu and the monthly newspaper (which you can take home with you), listing all the single-origins on offer, plus biographical details of one the farmers.

When it comes to the coffee, the choice is bewildering, with up to thirty single-origins to choose from. You can reduce the number of options by sticking to espresso, where there’s a daily single-origin, but even then, compared to the normal Maruyama stores, there’s plenty of choice, with espresso and cappuccino sets. Once you’ve decided, someone will take your order. Naturally, you pay on leaving.

Since I visited four times (and also popped in for a takeaway coffee last week), there’s far too much to try to squeeze everything into this Coffee Spot. Instead, I’ve dedicated an entire post about my coffee experiences at Maruyama.

3-14-28 MINAMIAOYAMA • MINATO-KU • TOKYO • 107-0062 • JAPAN
www.discover-maruyamacoffee.com +81 (0) 3-6447-5238
Monday 10:00 – 21:00 Roaster Maruyama (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 10:00 – 21:00 Seating Tables (upstairs), Window-bar (downstairs)
Wednesday 10:00 – 21:00 Food Cakes, Toast
Thursday 10:00 – 21:00 Service Table
Friday 10:00 – 21:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 10:00 – 21:00 Wifi No
Sunday 10:00 – 21:00 Power Limited
Chain Regional Visits 24th, 26th October 2018
2nd, 3rd, 11th September, 5th November 2019

If you liked this Coffee Spot, then check out the rest of Tokyo’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Tokyo.


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