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Freshly Brewed: Six of the Best New Cafes in Kyoto

There exists in Kyoto a division between the third wave coffee shop and a separate class of traditional cafes and kissaten. The fact is that both often do the same thing with the same tools and the same beans, but with a very different esthetic and ethos. The latest cafes in Kyoto cater to the new thirsts for espresso and cold brew of Kyoto coffee connoisseurs and the flood of international visitors, while also trying to make a home in the ancient capital.

Here are six cafes to get a sip of Kyoto’s new cafe culture.

Freshly Brewed: Six of the Best New Cafes in Kyoto

CONTENTS

  • Walden Woods

  • Wanderers Stand

  • Drip and Drop Coffee Supply

  • Kaikado Café

  • Starbucks Ninenzaka

  • Blue Bottle

  • Walden Woods

    Walden Woods

    Walden Woods

    Named for Henry David Thoreau’s wilderness escape, Walden Woods in Sakaecho is certainly a fine place to contemplate the simple life. Walden Woods shares with traditional Kyoto cafes the commitment to a fine cup of coffee, with a rotating selection of single origin drinks on the menu—but all resemblances end there: this is a cafe at the cutting edge, with a minimalist esthetic that strips away all that is unnecessary, including tables. After ordering a cup, guests head upstairs to a square room with amphitheater seats. Walden Woods takes the design ideas of the third wave cafe to their avant garde conclusion.

    Walden Woods Kyoto
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Shimogyou-ku Sakaechou 508-1
    Phone
    0753449009
    Remarks
    【URL】http://www.walden-woods.com/
  • Wanderers Stand

    Wanderers Stand

    Wanderers Stand

    West from Walden Woods across Karasuma Dori, Wanderers Stand strikes a balance between hard-edged avant design vibes and the wood-and-smoke atmosphere of the local kissaten. Like all third wave shops in Kyoto, Wanderers Stand is fairly young, with only a few years under its belt. This is ideal neighborhood cafe or a great place to drop in on, if you just happen to be in town, with banana sandwiches, espresso, and baristas that look like they’d have an encyclopedic knowledge of Touch and Go Records releases or the films of Bruce LaBruce. Order a drip coffee to enjoy alongside an order of pizza toast, and watch the baristas go to work.

    WANDERERS STAND
    Address
    京都府京都市下京区八百屋町58 イチハタビル1F
    Phone
    075-353-5958
    Remarks
    【URL】https://www.facebook.com/wanderersstand/
  • Drip and Drop Coffee Supply

    Drip and Drop Coffee Supply

    Drip and Drop Coffee Supply

    Drip and Drop Coffee Supply

    Drip and Drop Coffee Supply

    Drip and Drop is a young operation but they’ve had Kyoto on lock for the past couple years, opening locations across the city and even a satellite operation in Bangkok. The tiny branch beside a 250 yen a bowl soba spot, down a side street in Shinkyogoku, might be the most charming, but the largest of Drip and Drop’s outposts is their setup near Ginkakuji. Drip and Drop has all the bells and whistles and squeaky clean sheen of a corporate operation, but the menu is pure third wave, with single origin aeropress, strong espresso, and baristas that can walk you through your order.

    Address
    京都府京都市左京区浄土寺東田町55-1 1F
    Phone
    0757416411
    Remarks
    【URL】http://www.drpdrp.com/
  • Kaikado Café

    Kaikado Café

    Kaikado Café

    At Kaikado, the natural light that pours in through the front windows play off the shop’s copper fixtures and honey-colored wood. There’s coffee on the menu but the carefully curated selection of tea is the real draw here, ranging from the cafe’s own Earl Grey blend to an iced matcha latte. This is a comfortable spot to relax with a warming bowl of stew and a cup of good tea.

    Kaikado Cafe
    Address
    京都府京都市下京区河原町通七条上る住吉町352
    Phone
    075-353-5668
    Remarks
    【URL】http://www.kaikado-cafe.jp/
  • Starbucks Ninenzaka

    Starbucks Ninenzaka

    Starbucks Ninenzaka

    Starbucks Ninenzaka

    Starbucks Ninenzaka

    The third wave of coffee gave birth to Starbucks—and Intelligentsia, Stumptown and Counter Culture, Blue Bottle, on and on—and the firm’s tens of thousands of locations have been the driving force behind getting folks to try espresso-based drinks. With that defense out of the way… The Ninenzaka branch of the chain, located in one of the most famous preserved districts of Kyoto, has been set up in a renovated building. The interior is furnished with tatami, although the menu is mostly unchanged. Like everywhere in the neighborhood, expect a long wait to get in.

    Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Niyasushizaka Yasaka Chaya
    Address
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto-shi Higashiyama-ku Kodaiji Minami-dori Shimogawara Higashi Ino Masuya cho 349
    Phone
    0755320601
    Remarks
    【URL】https://www.starbucks.co.jp/store/search/detail.php?id=1476
  • Blue Bottle

    Blue Bottle

    Blue Bottle

    It seems perverse to queue for Blue Bottle in a city like Kyoto. By comparison, the many Tokyo locations of the shop are usually fairly busy but you can still get a cup of cold brew at the branch in Shinagawa Station and still make your train on time—not to mention, there are plenty of coffee shops in the city! But it is very good, the line moves quickly, and Japan does host the only overseas Blue Bottle outlets. The opening of the Kyoto shop, near Nanzenji, is a sign that Kyoto coffee culture is coming into its own.

    Blue Bottle Coffee Kyoto Cafe
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoto Sakyo Nanzenjikusagawacho 64
    Phone
    Remarks
    【URL】https://bluebottlecoffee.jp/
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