Ratio &C

Some lovely latte art in my latte at Ratio &C, part of the Onibus chain in Tokyo.Ratio &C is part of Tokyo-based coffee shop/roaster chain, Onibus, which started in Okusawa, where it’s still going strong (and which, naturally, I’ve not yet visited). There are now five shops, including the original Nakameguro roastery/coffee shop, a new roastery/coffee shop in Yakumo, and Shibuya’s About Life Coffee Brewers. And, of course, today’s Coffee Spot, Ratio &C, a lovely coffee bar inside a cycle shop.

Ratio &C is a few minutes’ walk from my hotel, which is how I came to visit it when in Tokyo last October as part of my around the world trip. Back then, I’d have described Ratio &C as a classic coffee bar in cycle shop, but on my return last week, I found that the coffee shop had expanded a little, with more seating and less emphasis on the cycling. It’s a very peaceful environment, the ideal post-work spot where I could catch up with things before retiring to my hotel for the evening.

There’s the standard Onibus offering, with the Step blend on espresso for milk-based drinks. It’s also available on pour-over, along with another blend and a seasonal selection of single-origins, one of which is available on espresso each day.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

Ratio &C is a self-styled cycle concept store by Bridgestone, with the coffee bar an integral part. At the northeastern edge of Omotesando, just as it crosses over into Gaienmae, it’s close to Lattest and Bread, Espresso &, two more finds from my visit last year. Set back slightly from the busy road, the front is entirely glass, the central double doors slightly offset to the left, with cycle racks in front of the right-hand windows, a box-bench to the left.

The interior is a high-ceilinged concrete shell, maybe twice as deep as it is wide, with a three-person window-bar on the right and a two-person one on the left. The counter’s on the left, while on the right, stairs lead up to the second-floor bike shop. A steep ramp spans the space between the two, leading to a raised concrete floor, perhaps ½ metre above the entrance. Its right-hand portion has six deep slots, acting as bicycle racks, although the left-hand two, opposite the doors, are occupied by a (coffee) merchandising table.

The counter is a lovely, wooden affair, facing into the shop. Starting a metre back from the window-bar, it extends to the top of the ramp. The menu, beans and cakes (all baked in-house at the Okusawa branch) are displayed at the front, by the till. The La Marzocco Linea espresso machine and grinders are next, followed by a pair of V60s at the far end.

The seating runs the full width of Ratio & C, starting at the top of the ramp, with a long, eight-person communal table following the counter. A second table beyond this is for sales/admin for the bike shop, not public seating. To the right, a pair of two-person tables at the top of the ramp are separated from the cycle racks/slots by a tall, wooden fence-like structure. Finally, an L-shaped set of low, broad wooden benches sit under the stairs. At ground level, they’re accessed via a pair of broad steps.

Beyond the seating, the rear of Ratio &C is dedicated to cycling, with the central section given over to a pop-up shop which changes every two weeks. When I first arrived, it was a book shop, changing over to Pas Normal Studios, which sells cycling gear, just before I left.

On my first visit, in October last year, I had a single-shot latte, served in a 6oz glass. Sweet and very smooth, it was an ideal first coffee of the day, the milk holding the latte art to the bottom of the glass. On my return last week, I had a double-shot latte, which comes in an 8oz cup, another lovely, smooth, sweet latte, but this time with the coffee coming through the milk a little more distinctly. I also tried the Steps blend as an espresso which was excellent, although I was surprised at how fruity it was, given how smooth it had been in milk.

Last year I also had a well-balanced and full-bodied Guatemalan single-origin pour-over, but this year, I practically camped out at Ratio & C after work (when I wasn’t at Maruyama Single Origin), so was able to try all five single-origins as pour-overs (repeating my experience at About Life the previous summer). I enjoyed the Ethiopian, Rwandan and Colombian single-origins, but really enjoyed the Kenyan, a subtle coffee, with fruity overtones and hints of blackcurrant. I stretched this one out to almost an hour and it was delicious when cold!

However, the best was also the last one I tried, the Guatemalan, which surprised me given my love of African pour-overs. Like last year’s Guatemalan, this was full-bodied, with rich, complex flavours. I rounded things off the Kenyan single-origin as an espresso, a really interesting, complex coffee, sweet on the first sip, more bitter on the second sip, all with an underlying acidity. Highly recommended if you are looking for something different!

December 2019: Ratio &C was a runner-up for the 2019 Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award.

3-1-26 JINGUMAE • SHIBUYA-KU • TOKYO • 150-0001 • JAPAN
https://ratio-c.jp +81 (0) 3-6438-1971
Monday 08:30 – 19:00 Roaster Onibus (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:30 – 19:00 Seating Communal Table, Window-bars
Wednesday CLOSED Food Cake
Thursday 08:30 – 19:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:30 – 19:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 10:00 – 19:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 19:00 Power Yes
Chain Local Visits 21st, 23rd October 2018
6th, 9th – 13th September 2019

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

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4 thoughts on “Ratio &C

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