Paris is certainly a city with no shortage of cafes, and when the coffee you’re serving is good enough to be highly praised by discerning Parisians, you’re bound to get noticed — even half way around the world in Tokyo! That’s exactly what’s happened with the cafe Coutume, which opened its third location in Japan earlier this month. The new shop, located in Tokyo’s Futakotamagawa neighborhood, provides a slightly different service style from the first two branches in Japan that opened last year in Aoyama (also in Tokyo) and Osaka.
And of course, we were more than eager to go and check the new shop out on opening day to taste what some people are saying is Paris’ best coffee.
The new Coutume branch opened on Feb 11 in the Tamagawa Takashimaya, an established department store with a 45-year history, located in the upscale residential and shopping area of Futakotamagawa, about 15 minutes away from Shibuya by subway. We were excited enough that we were there at 10 a.m. when it officially opened for business.
Quite possibly because this wasn’t the first Coutume shop in Japan, there thankfully wasn’t an insanely huge crowd lined up for the opening.
It was difficult to choose just one item from the menu, especially with so many beverage options, but in the end we couldn’t resist the lure of the Geisha coffee that we had already heard so much about. And while the other two Coutume cafes employ a self-service style, at the Tamagawa Takashimaya location, the staff will take your order at your table and bring the food and drinks to you, for a more leisurely experience.
They also had a wide variety of coffee beverages, ranging in price from 350 yen for a small espresso to 700 yen for an iced cappuccino or iced mocha. They had some lovely-looking sandwich and salad items on the menu as well for around 1,400 yen. And yes, there were specialty desserts as well, from tarts and eclairs to a beautiful parfait made with coffee-flavored jelly and espresso ice cream.
The coffee came in a glass pot on a stylishly simple wooden tray, with a plastic card describing the coffee. The “Esmeralda Geisha 1500 Boquete Panama” is priced at 1,600 yen, which we admit is quite a hefty sum for an order of coffee, but we simply had to find out how it tasted.
According to the description on the card, the coffee is made using 100% Geisha beans from the Hacienda La Esmeralda in Panama. It has the characteristic aroma of jasmine, bergamot and mandarin orange.
Our impression? It wasn’t an intense, strong-tasting coffee, but it had a light and pleasant flowery flavor with very little bitterness.
Since we hadn’t had breakfast, we also had a pain au chocolate pastry (300 yen) filled with plenty of rich, dark chocolate.
The pain au chocolat was light, flaky and incredibly buttery. Naturally, the sweetness of the chocolate and the rich flavor of butter mixed well with the coffee.
To sum up, we had a wonderful time having breakfast at Coutume Tamagawa Takashimaya. The atmosphere was enjoyable and the pastry offered us a lovely taste of Paris. We would gladly come back again, maybe to have one of their sandwiches for lunch, and of course, there are all those beautiful sweets to try as well. Here’s a big thank you to the folks at Coutume for bringing a piece of Paris to Tokyo!
Cafe information Coutume Tamagawa Takashimaya Address: 3-17-1 Tamagawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-0094 First Floor of Tamagawa Takashimaya Tel: 03-3707-1127 Open: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
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