Breather Coffee, in Zushi in Kanagawa prefecture, was a recommendation from Dark Arts Coffee in nearby Hayama, who I visited while on my way to Tokyo during my recent trip to Japan in August/September this year. Occupying a small spot right in the centre of town, Breather Coffee is a five-minute walk from the station, making it an easy option if you’re reliant on public transport.
Run by a lovely, friendly Japanese couple, Kohei and Mizuho, Breather Coffee uses Melbourne roasters, Maker Coffee, a legacy of the five years that Kohei and Mizuho spent in Melbourne (which also accounts for their excellent English). You’ll find the Smith Blend on espresso, where it’s joined by a single-origin option, plus another on pour-over through the V60. The single-origins change on a weekly basis and are also available in retail bags. If you’re hungry, there are western-style cakes and a couple of toasties.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Breather Coffee, which opened in the summer of 2018, is a five-minute walk from Zushi Station, about 50 km southwest of Tokyo on a direct line via Yokahama, with two trains an hour from Shinjunku/Shibuya and more from Tokyo/Shinagawa, the journey taking just under an hour. There’s also the option of Shin-Zushi on the Keikyu line, which offers connections from Shinagawa, Yokohama and Haneda Airport.
Breather Coffee is on the western side of the main north-south road through Zushi (which, if you follow it south for a couple of kilometres, leads to Dark Arts Coffee in Hayama), The front is almost all glass, with the door (also glass) on the right, while there’s a line of three low stools on the pavement to the left.
Inside, it’s an interestingly-shaped space. Long and thin, there’s a conventional, rectangular section to the left of the door, while to the right, a windowless extension runs off at about 30° to the front. The counter, meanwhile, mirrors the overall shape, with a short section along the back wall, facing the windows at the front, and a long section at 30° to the right, running along the back wall of the extension.
The seating is also split between the two sections, with a five-person window-bar to the left of the door and two further seats at the left-hand end of the counter. Meanwhile, to the right, there’s a long, low bench in front of the counter, while a four-person bar runs along the front wall.
The left-hand part of the counter is occupied by the two-group La Marzocco Strada espresso machine, with its grinders off to the left, a Mahlkönig Peak for the Smith blend and an EK43 for the single-origins. The till, where you order, is at the start of the sloping section to the right, where you’ll also find the cakes and pour-over station. Meanwhile, if you’re looking to buy any coffee beans, you’ll find the retail selection on the wall to the right of the door.
I had an espresso made with the naturally-processed Gersi Orsi from Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. Beautifully presented, it was served with a glass of water and an extensive information sheet, giving tasting notes and details of the washing station in Ethiopia. Pulled commendably short, it was a nicely rounded coffee with a complex, fruity taste, my second great espresso of the day (after the Lost Highways single-origin Nicaraguan I had at Dark Arts). I paired this with an excellent slice of a very moist carrot cake with a generous cream cheese topping. Perfect!
|7-6-33 SHIOZAWA BUILDING • ZUSHI • KANAGAWA • 249-0006 • JAPAN|
|https://breathercoffee.stores.jp||+81 (0) 46-815-6885|
|Monday||07:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Maker (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 18:00||Seating||Bar, Window Bar, Counter; Stools (outside)|
|Thursday||07:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 18:00||Cards||Cash Only|
|Saturday||08:00 – 18:00||Wifi||No|
|Sunday||08:00 – 18:00||Power||No|
|Chain||No||Visits||1st September 2019|
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