Coutume top

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 February 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, like the one Mr. Sato was confronted with when he went to the opening of another coffee shop earlier this month.

▼ The stylish, glass-encased cafe was designed by CUT architectures, the studio responsible for designing the first Coutume cafe in central Paris.

▼The menu board and waiting area at the entrance of the cafe: P1130082

▼ Some pictures of the interior:P1130085


▼ There are a few counter seats too.P1130087

▼ The two-toned wooden decor was pleasant to look at.

▼ The baristas were hard at work behind the counter. P1130091

▼ And are those sweets we see inside that glass case?

▼ Yes! It was time for some nourishment.P1130096

▼ The pastries on display looked divine. P1130098

▼ But first, we took a close look at the menu.P1130109

▼ This was their selection of straight coffee. We were delighted to see it included the prized Geisha coffee that had made the news in Japan when Starbucks offered it last yearP1130115

▼ They also had a wide variety of coffee beverages, ranging in price from 350 yen (US$2.95) for a small espresso to 700 yen ($5.90) 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 ($11.80).P1130110

▼ 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.

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.

▼ 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 ($13.44), which we admit is quite a hefty sum for an order of coffee, but we simply had to find out how it tasted!P1130118

▼ 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. P1130125

▼ Since we hadn’t had breakfast, we also had a pain au chocolate pastry (300 yen [$2.52]) filled with plenty of rich, dark chocolate.P1130124

▼ 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.P1130127

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: 10:00am 〜 9pm

Top image: Coutume Facebook page
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