Unlimited Coffee Bar

Detail taken from a bag of coffee from Tokyo's Unlimited Coffee Roasters.Unlimited Coffee Bar is almost directly under Tokyo’s famous 643m tall Skytree, which, since 2012, has been Japan’s tallest structure and the world’s tallest tower. Located just across the canal, opposite the Skytree’s southwest corner, it’s an ideal stopping off point for coffee (or lunch/dinner) either before or after taking in the magnificent views across Tokyo from the Skytree’s two observation decks. I’ve visited twice, once during my around the world trip last year, and again earlier this week on my current trip, both times calling in for coffee after a trip up the tower.

In contrast to the soaring tower, Unlimited Coffee Bar, an offshoot of Unlimited Coffee Roasters, is a much more modest affair, at least in terms of its physical extent, occupying the ground floor of a small, three storey building. The unlimited part refers to the coffee, with a selection of five or six single-origins, all roasted in-house, two of which are available on espresso, three on cold brew and all on pour-over via Aeropress, Silverton dripper or V60. Various tasting flights are offered, along with coffee cocktails, while all the beans are available in retail bags. Finally, for somewhere so small, there’s an impressive food menu.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery (all the photos from my 2018 visit unless otherwise noted).

  • An interesting building, on a busy corner in eastern Tokyo. But what's in the background...
  • ... towering over it? Why, it's the Tokyo Skytree, the world's tallest tower!
  • A better view of the 634m tall tower, with observation decks at 350m and 450m!
  • Back on the ground, and this is what we've actually come for: the Unlimited Coffee Bar.
  • The door faces the busy street, while on the corner is this neat little bench/coffee table.
  • Inside, and the counter is directly opposite you, against the left-hand wall.
  • Immediately to your left are two one-person tables in the window in front of the counter.
  • Meanwhile, to the right, past a set of retail shelves, is a two-person window-bar.
  • There's more seating ahead of you in the middle of the room with these two tables...
  • ... while the right-hand wall is occupied by a staircase leading to the training lab.
  • There's more seating at the end of the counter, where this round bar...
  • ... offers a pair of conventional chairs...
  • ... and three of these padded metal bars, ideal for perching.
  • I know that they don't look that comfortable, but they're actually really good to sit on!
  • Finally, tucked away in the corner at the back is this pair of two-person tables.
  • In front of the tables is this water stand, up against the stairs on the right-hand side.
  • There are some other nice touches, like these flowers on the counter...
  • ... while a handy sign reminds us where we are.
  • Unsurprisingly, I was very taken with the light-fittings...
  • ... with mulltiple exposed bulbs hanging on long cords from the ceiling.
  • Last one, I promise.
  • There's quite a lot coffee making equipment for sale, such as these kettles and drippers...
  • ... while off to the side are various grinders and cafetieres.
  • Naturally enough there are also bags and bags of coffee...
  • ... both in black and in white.
  • Details of the retail beans on offer.
  • There's more merchandising (and some trophies) on the wall at the end of the counter...
  • ... while these are displayed on the counter itself.
  • Talking of which, let's get down to business. You order here, at the front of the counter...
  • ... where you'll find the cakes and some bottled beer on display under the counter.
  • Up top are the food menus, and, behind them...
  • ... a handy line of cups showing you the various drink sizes.
  • The choice of beans is off to the left, with espresso (right) and filter (left).
  • There's more detail on the cold-brew choices...
  • ... and when I say detail, I really mean it!
  • The food menus in more detail. For somewhere so small, there's a surprising amount.
  • Homemade sweets, anyone?
  • There's also bar food, a coffee menu...
  • ... and other drinks.
  • Finally, there's a simplified coffee menu on the wall behind the counter.
  • Once you've ordered, head around the corner of the counter...
  • ... down past the espresso machine...
  • ... and all the way to the brew bar at the end.
  • The brew bar, in more detail.
  • The brew bar is also where you pay, after you've ordered. Beyond this is the circular bar...
  • ... which is actually a well-stocked bar.
  • On both my visits, I had espresso. This is the first, an Ethiopian single-origin...
  • ... and this is the second, a Brazilian.
  • It tasted as good as it looked.
  • So good, in fact, that I bought a bag to bring home with me.. It comes with its own...
  • ... little card, complete with tasting notes and a section for you to fill in! How cool is that?
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Located on the corner of a busy intersection on the southern end of a bridge over the canal, Unlimited Coffee Bar occupies the ground floor, while upstairs is Unlimited’s barista training lab. Although small, it’s a masterpiece of squeezing plenty of seating in without feeling cramped. It’s also quite lovely, full of wooden furniture and fixtures, the only downside being that it can get quite loud.

It faces onto the bridge, a large picture window on the left, glass double-doors in the middle, and a smaller window on the right at 45° to the front. The counter is on the left, a lovely wooden affair with hexagonal panelling, set back slightly from the picture window, where you’ll find a pair of one-person tables.

You order here, ere at the front of the counter (which threw me *both* times I visited!), where you’ll find the menus and sample bags of the single-origins, complete with extensive tasting notes. Having ordered, go down the right-hand side of the counter, towards the back, past the twin white Mythos One grinders and matching La Marzocco Linea espresso machine. This is followed by a white EK43 grinder for the filter coffee and a pour-over bar with a line of Silverton drippers. At the end of all this is the till, where you pay. Then find a seat and the baristas will bring you your coffee.

As well as the two window tables to the left of the door, there’s a two-person bar to the right, separated from the door by a narrow set of retail shelves. Alternatively, at the end of the counter is a circular section of counter seating that goes around maybe 225° (and which, combined with the counter, forms a question mark). There are two chairs here, then three very comfortable padded metal bars where you can perch. This also doubles as a bar, with beer on tap and a range of spirits.

The remaining seating is in the form of conventional tables in the middle of the space, an open staircase occupying the right-hand wall, leading up to the training lab. Opposite the counter are two five-person tables with stools. These have three stools on one side and two on the other, while at the back, opposite the bar-seating and tucked under the stairs, are a pair of two-person tables.

On both my visits, I was in something of a hurry, so had to forgo the pleasure of the tasting flights, settling, in both cases, for an espresso. On my first visit, this was the naturally-processed Aricha from Ethiopia, pulled as a fairly long double shot. Really sweet on the first sip, then a little more acidic on the second and third sips, it was nicely balanced, but with a complex range of flavours.

On my return this week, I had the Recreio, another natural coffee, this time from Brazil. This was more acidic, but no less impressive, impressive enough, in fact, for me to buy a bag to bring home with me.

1-18-2 NARIHIRA • SUMIDA-KU • TOKYO • 130-0002 • JAPAN
www.unlimitedcoffeeroasters.com +81 (0) 3-6658-8680
Monday CLOSED Roaster Unlimited Coffee Roasters (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 12:00 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Counter, Window-bar; Bench (outside)
Wednesday 12:00 – 22:00 Food Lunch, Cake
Thursday 12:00 – 22:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 12:00 – 23:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 10:00 – 23:00 Wifi No
Sunday 10:00 – 22:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 20th October 2018, 4th November 2019

Liked this? Then take a look at the rest of Tokyo’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Tokyo.

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