Last month, we brought to you the story of how our very own Mr. Sato went to the opening of the very first Blue Bottle Coffee shop in Japan … only to give up on the idea of having coffee there as the huge crowd turnout meant a two-hour wait, which was just too long for our busy reporter. Well, we weren’t about to give up on trying the coffee from the popular American coffee roaster and cafe chain that easily! As it happens, Blue Bottle Coffee opened their second shop in Aoyama this past Saturday, and this time, we were determined to get a taste of their famous coffee, even if it meant waiting outside for an hour and a half in freezing weather!

It was just our luck that the day of the opening was one of the coldest days of the year in Tokyo so far, and it was even raining lightly in the morning. But this writer was a one-woman, coffee-and-pastry-craving army on a mission, not to be deterred by adverse weather conditions.

▼ We arrived on site at around 8:30 a.m., about one and a half hours before the opening. Despite the biting cold, there were about 25 people already in line. Had the weather been better, we have a feeling that the line would have been twice that!


▼ Finally, as the opening time of 10:00 a.m. approached, we were led in a very orderly fashion by some very helpful security staff to the area near the actual cafe building.


▼ The new Blue Bottle Coffee shop was located in this building in the Aoyama/Omotesando area with many stylish cafes and high-end boutiques nearby.


▼ Ahh … the blue bottle sign! Now we were really close to getting a taste of the third wave coffee we had heard so much about.


▼ The shop was on the second floor, up a narrow flight of stairs.


▼ And here’s our first look into the Blue Bottle Aoyama shop. After an hour and a half in the cold, we were seriously ready for a hot cup of joe!


▼ We had to wait a little while longer until we could get to the counter to place our order, but at least we were inside!


▼ The shop looked spacious enough, with a lot of light coming in through the large glass doors that open up to a patio. It should be really nice sitting outside, once the weather gets warmer.


▼There were several products neatly on display near the entrance, which we could see while we waited to get to the counter. Here’s their original granola, priced at 1,500 yen (US$12.40) a bag.


▼ Here we have the ceramic coffee mill (3,500 yen [$28.94] ) with coffee filters (370 yen [$3.06]).


▼ They also had some lovely hand towels (1,000 yen [$8.26]) available only at the Aoyama shop.


▼ This canvas tote bag (5,000 yen [$41.32]) is also only available here at the Aoyama cafe.


▼ This V60 Drip Scale was priced at 5,400 yen ($44.59).


▼ While we were looking at the Blue Bottle products on display, we were getting closer to the counter …


▼ … well, at least close enough to get a good look at the menu hanging from the ceiling.


▼ Finally, we made it to the counter. Yippee!


▼ So, what should we order? Those baked goodies displayed next to the menu looked pretty yummy too!


▼ In the end, we decided on a cup of the Papua New Guinea Wahgi Valley Honey (550 yen [$4.55]), the first item on the single origin coffee list, and an order of beignets (600 yen [$4.96]).


▼ They had other food items displayed at the end of the counter, including waffles and poached eggs on toast. The display offered strong visual enticement indeed!


▼ The different Blue bottle goods were also shown on the counter. They actually looked quite cute set up all together.


▼ Behind the counter, there was a large open kitchen area.


▼ The baristas were hard at work, preparing everyone’s coffee.


▼ Yes, we’re guessing that they’ll be pretty busy for the foreseeable future.


▼ The coffee grinders were also being put to full work.


▼ Here’s a short video of the baristas in action, busy but always ready with a smile.

▼ Once we placed our order, we were able to take a closer look at the cafe interior. Next to the counter, they had a large table with high stools.


▼ There were more tables and chairs in the back. The first Blue Bottle cafe in Kiyosumi Shirakawa has just eight seats, so you can see the Aoyama cafe has much more seating capacity. On the other hand, the Kiyosumi Shirakawa cafe comes with an in-house roastery, which the Aoyama cafe doesn’t.


▼ The furniture and decor was elegant but simple.


▼ While we were waiting for our order, we also saw some beautiful latte action going on!


▼ Oh, and that toast! It looks just heavenly!


▼ Amidst all the excitement, our order was called and we received our cup of coffee …


▼ … and we were all set with the beignets as well!


▼ We have to say, though, the poached eggs on toast, which the customers seated across from us were having, was still looking insanely appetizing! But of course, we needed to focus on our own food and drink for now.


▼  Finally, the moment we’d been waiting for … our first taste of Blue Bottle coffee! The coffee smelled divine, and it had a rich and strong flavor, with very little bitterness. The single origin coffee from the Wahgi Valley in the mountainous regions of western Papua New Guinea is offered by Blue Bottle only in Tokyo.


 ▼ And now for the sweet-looking beignets! They came with a serving of salted butterscotch sauce on the side.


▼ They were sprinkled with plenty of sugar … Mmmm!


▼ We took a bite to see how they looked inside. They were warm, light, and despite the sugar on the surface, not too sweet. Heavenly!


▼ We also tried the them with the butterscoth sauce. The sauce was caramelly and rich, but also quite salty, so the pastry tasted completely different with the sauce. At this point, we were quite contented, having filled ourselves with coffee and sugary balls of beignet.


▼Of course, if you like to enjoy your coffee at home, you can always buy their beans from the selection they have at this counter near the entrance.


▼ We were also impressed with their beautiful cold water coffee dripper, which apparently they will be using to make actual cold brew coffee.


▼ And we were absolutely delighted to be able to take this photo of Mr. James Freeman, Blue Bottle Coffee founder and CEO (left);  Ms. Caitlin Freeman, head pastry chef (center); and Mr. Stephen Vick, green coffee buyer (right), who were all at the opening. A huge thanks to the three of them for kindly posing for the picture!


When we spoke with him, Mr. Freeman was even kind enough to give us a comment that he was very happy to be here in Tokyo and also thrilled to see that everyone seemed to be having a good time!

All in all, we really had quite an exciting morning. Yes, the wait was long (and will be for some time to come, we expect), but the atmosphere was great, the decor was stylish and the staff were extra friendly.

We’re sure we’ll be back to try all the other coffees (and of course the poached eggs on toast). Thanks for coming to Japan, Blue Bottle Coffee, and Mr. Sato really needs to try again soon!

Photos © RocketNews24
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