Stockholm Roast / The Tobacco Stand

The Stockholm Roast logo from the wall on the Tobacco Stand in Tokyo.Stockholm Roast was a chance discovery on my way to the office during my second visit to Tokyo in 2018. It’s located inside the Tobacco Stand, an old-fashioned smoke shack, for want of a better word, which makes its living by selling tobacco, etc. Although in this case, it’s tobacco and speciality coffee. The Tobacco Stand has been going for four years, but it was only last year that it upped its coffee game, installing a La Marzocco Mini espresso machine and sourcing coffee from Stockholm Roast. There’s a blend on espresso and three/four single-origins on pour-over, all roasted in the Swedish capital and air-freighted to Japan.

There’s not much to the Tobacco Stand, just a small, square kiosk with three stools inside at the counter, plus a table outside in a sheltered seating area. There are a pair of takeaway windows, one here, the other on the street, but otherwise that’s it. Be warned: if you don’t like tobacco smoke, this may not be the place for you since customers smoke both inside and out.

November 2019: I’ve updated my piece on Stockholm Roast / The Tobacco Stand. This is the original write-up, published in October 2018. For an up-to-date description, please see the updated post, while you can see what’s changed in my Coffee Spot Update.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • A chance discovery while walking to the office along Aoyama Dori. It's Stockholm Roast...
  • ... inside the Tobacco Stand (they are effectively the same business).
  • Here's the view coming the other way (from Omotesando Station).
  • The A-board is out in force.
  • The view straight on.
  • There's a takeaway window on the street if you're in a hurry/don't want to go inside.
  • You can get a sneaky peek into the interior here though.
  • A halfway house between sitting inside and getting a takeaway is the covered patio...
  • ... off to the left where there's a solitary table.
  • The left-hand sided of the Tobacco Stand is effectively the door (to the left) and...
  • ... another takeaway window on the right where you can order your coffee for outside.
  • Going inside, there's not much space, just a narrow gap at the back...
  • ... with an equally narrow gap along the right-hand side. There are three stools here...
  • ... for sitting at the counter and watching your coffee being made.
  • The actual coffee set-up is along the front of the Tobacco Stand and is impressive...
  • ... given how little room the baristas have to work in. Don't come here though if you...
  • ... don't like tobacco smoke. Pretty much all the staff and the customers smoke.
  • Used coffee grounds are provided in the ash-trays to dampen down the smell...
  • ... but you can't really escape it.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • There are various menus about. This one is by the second takeaway window...
  • ... and highlights the fact that there's also alcohol for sale.
  • Another menu, this time coffee-orientated.
  • Meanwhile, the prices are chalked up on a blackboard inside.
  • There's not much to eat, just a small selection of (tempting) cakes and pastries.
  • And, of course, there are plenty of tobacco products for sale!
  • I started with a morning cappuccino on my way to the office.
  • It was lovely, with rich creamy milk and a good balance of coffee/milk.
  • I returned the following day to try the pour-over. The day before, there had been three...
  • ... single-origins, but now there were four, all naturals except the El Salvador.
  • I was very impressed that, depsite the lack of space, there was no corner cutting.
  • After the initial pour, my coffee was left to bloom. Everything was weighed and timed too.
  • Here's the final pour...
  • ... and here's my coffee in my Therma Cup, ready to go.
  • Sadly I didn't have time to stay and drink it: I had to be at the office.
  • I called in one last time on my final day to try the espresso...
  • ... served in a classic white cup.
  • I'll leave you with Norma and her colleague who seem very pleased with my book!
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Stockholm Roast literally caught my eye while walking past on my way to the office. I’d just come from having coffee at Ratio &C so didn’t stop, instead calling in on the next three days. On Aoyama Dori, just northeast of Omotesando Station and its junction with Omotesando Avenue, it’s in good company: Blue Bottle Coffee, Café Kitsuné and the new Maruyama Single Origin all inhabit the narrow streets just behind Stockholm Roast.

It’s at the start of a long, narrow alley lined with bars, food stands and the like, with plenty of outdoor seating. Like a small street food market, Stockholm Roast fits in perfectly. The location, on the right-hand side at the alley’s entrance, is excellent, catching both passing trade on Aoyama Dori (me) plus those going into the alley.

If you’re in a hurry, there’s a takeaway window on Aoyama Dori (incidentally, the pastries are displayed here), so you don’t even have to go inside. Alternatively, head to the kiosk’s left, where there’s a small, raised, covered terrace with a solitary table (although if you sat at one of the tables in the adjoining area, I doubt anyone would mind). There’s another takeaway window here on the right, so you can order without going inside (handy if you really don’t like the smoke).

Your other option is the door to the left of the takeaway window which leads into the tiny interior. The Tobacco Stand is pretty much a cube, the back and right-hand walls (as seen from the street) lined with tobacco and smoking-related products. Stockholm Roast is in the front left-corner, where a two-sided counter takes up over half the floor space. This runs from next to the takeaway window at the front, via an L-shape, to between the takeaway window and door on the left-hand wall. There’s not much space, so it can be a bit of a squeeze. There are three stools at the counter if you want to sit inside, the perfect place to chat with the baristas.

I visited three times, trying the espresso, cappuccino (both with the Brazilian house-blend, although by now there may be a new Brazil-Ethiopia blend) and a pour-over. I began with a cappuccino on my first morning, the coffee in harmony with rich, creamy milk, but the flavour coming through nicely. I tried the espresso itself on my last day, a beautiful, well-balanced coffee with great mouthfeel and a classic flavour profile.

Finally, there was the pour-over. I had a choice of four single-origins, three naturals, one washed. I selected the Kenyan (natural) and was impressed that, despite the cramped interior, there was no corner cutting when it came to making my V60. The resulting cup wasn’t as fruity as I’d expected from the beans’ aroma, but it was still pretty good, one of the better pour-overs I’ve had in Japan.

3-13-246 MINAMIAOYAMA • MINATO-KU • TOKYO • 107-0062 • JAPAN
Monday 11:00 – 22:00 Roaster Stockholm Roast (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 22:00 Seating Counter; Table (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 22:00 Food Cakes
Thursday 08:00 – 22:00 Service Counter
Friday 08:00 – 22:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 11:00 – 22:00 Wifi Free
Sunday 11:00 – 22:00 Power N/A
Chain No Visits Original: 24-26th October 2018
Update: 5-6th, 9-13th September
5-8th November 2019

If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, then take a look at the rest of Tokyo’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Tokyo.

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