Nozy Coffee is a well-established name in Tokyo’s speciality coffee scene which I discovered at the lovely Nem Coffee & Espresso during my first visit in April 2017 before visiting its coffee shop/roastery (The Roastery by Nozy, which is under different ownership) on my return during 2018’s heatwave, when I sought refuge in its cool, basement-like interior. The Roastery is a very recent development, while Nozy itself has been going much longer, as I discovered when I visited its original coffee shop (which also used to be the roastery) in Setagaya City, southwest of Shibuya.
A tiny spot compared to The Roastery, Nozy Coffee occupies the ground floor and open basement of a narrow, three-storey building with a residence above. Although small, and with very limited seating, it has an impressive array of coffee, with a choice of eight single-origins, one of which is decaf. These are all available as filter coffee through the cafetiere, while two (which change daily) are available on espresso, where the extremely concise menu offers espresso, Americano or cafe latte. These last two come in three sizes (small, medium and large) and can be had hot or iced. A selection of coffee kit and retail bags are also for sale.
December 2019: Nozy Coffee has closed for good and will be sadly missed. Thanks to Maja for the updated information.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Nozy Coffee is in a residential part of Setagaya City in western Tokyo, where it opened in 2010. These days it’s just a quirky basement coffee shop, but for a long time it was also where Nozy roasted all its coffee before moving to The Roastery by Nozy (you can still see the chimney for the roaster on the outside wall down the right of the building).
Nozy Coffee is opposite Setagaya Park and behind the smaller Kodomo no Hiroba Park. At the back of a small square, set back from the main road, it’s a sheltered, secluded spot, screened from the square by a low hedge. Occupying the ground floor/basement of a three-storey residential building (which has its entrance on the first floor, accessed by stairs to the left of Nozy’s front door), there’s not a lot to Nozy. This is in stark contrast to the spacious The Roastery by Nozy: you could probably fit the original into the new space 20 times over!
There are windows along the front and down the right-had side, with the only outside seating a solitary bench to the left of the glass door. Inside, the space is open, combining ground floor and basement. This, coupled with all the windows, make it quite bright downstairs. Stepping inside, you find yourself on a small, square landing, with a table offering retail bags of coffee to your right.
Ahead of you, two steps lead up to a small seating area occupying the back, right-hand corner. On the right is a four-person window bar with stools, while on the left, railings overlook the basement below. To get there, a long flight of steps leads off to the left of the landing, running down the front wall, depositing you in the large, almost cubic basement.
There’s not much seating down here, with a two-person bar running along the left-hand wall, starting at the front and extending maybe half the length of the wall. Meanwhile, a second bench sits at the base of the stairs to your right as you come down. The large counter is at the back, running the full width of the basement, with a storeroom to the right under upstairs seating area.
You’ll find the till at the counter’s right-hand end, with the centre section occupied by all eight-single origins, displayed in glass jars at the back, retail bags in front. Each option has a card with detailed notes in English and Japanese. Finally, there’s a two-group Synesso espresso machine against the left-hand wall with a pair of Mythos One grinders.
During my visit, the Costa Rican and Guatemalan single-origins were on espresso, but these options change daily. However, I wanted filter coffee and, bewildered by the choice, I asked the barista (who also turned out to have roasted the coffee!) for a recommendation. She suggested the Irmas Pereira from Brazil or the El Porvenir from Nicaragua, offering me the beans to smell. I got a big, juicy hit from the Nicaraguan so picked that. Initially, the coffee was rather hot, but as it cooled, the fruity notes came to the fore, making for an excellent cup of coffee!
December 2020: Nozy Coffee was a runner-up for the 2020 Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.
|2-29-7 SHIMOUMA • SETAGAYA-KU • TOKYO • 154-0002 • JAPAN|
|Monday||11:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Nozy (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||11:00 – 18:00||Seating||Window-bar, Bench; Bench (Outside)|
|Wednesday||11:00 – 18:00||Food||N/A|
|Thursday||11:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||11:00 – 18:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||09:00 – 18:00||Wifi||No|
|Sunday||09:00 – 18:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Local||Visits||3rd November 2019|
I visited Nozy Coffee on my last trip of 2019, when I was in Tokyo for work just after the end of the Rugby World Cup (I actually flew in on the day of the final!). My original plan had been to save this write-up until I returned to Tokyo this year, but with the way things are going with COVID-19, I doubt I will be back in Japan in 2020.
Sadly I’ve now learnt that Nozy Coffee closed at the end of 2019 (I had originally thought it might just be closed for COVID-19 reasons, but sadly not). The Roastery by Nozy is still going strong, but this is under different ownership. Thanks to Maja for the updated information.
This post will therefore serve as a tribute to Nozy which will be missed sadly missed.
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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