I was in luck during my time in Kanazawa, where I stayed for three days, part of the week I spent travelling around Japan at the end of August this year. I’d gone on the recommendation of my friend Christopher, but this was more with a view to being a tourist. The fact that I found so much great coffee, most of it within a few minutes of my hotel, was a bonus.
Blue Monday was the exception, since it’s not near my hotel. Instead, it’s close to Kanazawa station, making it a perfect introduction to the city (and a good last call before catching your train). Located in the Porte basement shopping complex under the Hotel Nikko, it offers espresso-based drinks, using a bespoke house-blend, plus herbal tea, hot dogs, toast, soft-serve ice cream and mini-doughnuts. If you want to stay, there’s no seating, but there are proper cups.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
I’m indebted to Sol, of Curio Espresso, who alerted me to the presence of Blue Monday. Without his help, I never would have known of its existence, let alone found it. Just east of Kanazawa station, it’s in Porta shopping centre in the basement under the Hotel Nikko. Unless you know it’s there, you’re very unlikely to stumble upon it.
Blue Monday is essentially a kiosk, rectangular in shape, about twice as wide as it is deep. You order at the till on the left, where you also pick up your coffee, made on the Synesso espresso machine that takes pride of place in the middle of the counter. If you want to stay, then there’s a small bar to your right, in front of the Synesso, but that’s it. There is also a window on the right-hand end, facing into the Porta centre, which was closed both times I was there, although I suspect it’s really to cater for the morning rush (either a second ordering point, or somewhere to collect your coffee when it’s busy).
Blue Monday, which first opened in 2012, uses a bespoke seasonal espresso blend using beans from Ethiopia, Brazil and Nicaragua, roasted by Hiroyuki Arinobu of Ally Caffe in Kanazawa (who also roasts for Curio Espresso). This is served from a cut-down menu offering espresso, Americano, latte or cappuccino, with the latte and Americano also offered over ice.
Unusually for somewhere so small, there’s a small savoury selection (hot dogs or toast) as well as soft-serve ice cream and mini-doughnuts. I called in twice, once for a quick espresso on my way to catch a train, and again on the following day, when I stayed for longer before catching the wonderfully-named Thunderbird Limited Express service to Kyoto.
My espresso, from the first visit, was a little acidic for me, served in a glass cup and beautifully presented on a frosted glass saucer. The cappuccino I had on my return was very interesting, feeling very dry in the mouth. It’s quite different from what I’m used to and, as such, was an excellent contrast (and a fine cup of coffee in its own right). Impressively, the milk held the latte art all the way to the bottom of the cup.
December 2019: Blue Monday was a runner-up for the 2019 Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award.
|2-15-1 HONMACHI • KANAZAWA • ISHIKAWA • 920-0853 • JAPAN|
|https://blue-monday.coffee||+81 (0) 90-2091-6702|
|Monday||08:15 – 19:00||Roaster||Ally Caffe (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||08:15 – 19:00||Seating||None|
|Wednesday||CLOSED^||Food||Hot Dogs, Toast, Doughnuts, Ice Cream|
|Thursday||08:15 – 19:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||08:15 – 19:00||Payment||Card + Cash|
|Saturday||10:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 18:00||Power||No|
|Chain||No||Visits||29th, 30th August 2019|
|^ Blue Monday is closed every 2nd and 3rd Wednesday of the month. Otherwise its Wednesday hours are 10:00 – 18:00.|
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