Bear Pond Espresso
Time Out says
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When it first opened in 2009, Bear Pond Espresso didn't take long to acquire a reputation as Tokyo's new coffee Mecca. Housed in a former sweet shop with space for half a dozen customers, it's constantly busy, and at weekends you can expect to queue out the door. The man behind the counter is Katsu Tanaka, who learnt his art during a nearly two-decade stint in New York, during which he attended seminars and public cuppings organised by some of the main players in the US artisanal coffee scene. His espressos come as a syrupy 1oz trickle of chocolate and nut that's gone in a couple of gulps, but you'll be relishing the aftertaste for a lot longer. Just make sure you turn up before 2pm, because Tanaka won't make espressos after that, claiming that the shop gets too busy for him to do the job properly. That's just one of Bear Pond's idiosyncratic rules – there's also a strict no-photo policy – and the service can range from friendly to downright truculent, which has earned the place its fair share of detractors. If that doesn't put you off, though, the coffee is generally superb: the cafe latte and its condensed cousin, the Gibraltar, are both excellent, while the jars of iced latte are a popular option during the summer months.
2-36-12 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku
|Transport:||Shimokitazawa Station (Odakyu, Keio Inokashira lines), north exit|
|Opening hours:||10.30am-6pm / closed Tue|