Kyoto's best coffee shops

Meet the city’s coffee masters – the roasters and baristas that have helped Kyoto’s coffee culture flourish

in association with Crea

Matsuda Coffee Shop’s speciality drip coffee is brewed gradually, by adding water little by little into the cloth filter and applying constant motion. Attention to the temperature of the water and the speed of brewing brings out the maximum flavour of the beans.

Photos by Yosuke Suzuki

Matsuda Coffee

This cute, blink-and-you-miss-it coffeehouse, located within a small home in a residential area, only stocks one blend – a French roast which brings out the acidity of the beans. Owner Yoichi Matsuda, who says that he 'wants to make coffee with flavours that move people', is obsessed with quality and his attention to detail is evident with every sip – try the Nel Drip Coffee (¥500), which involves a laborious three-stage brewing process.

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Weekenders Coffee

In spring 2016, this ten-year-old coffee shop started roasting its own beans (¥615 per 100g). 'It’s just like roasting meat', says owner Masahiro Kaneko, who started Weekenders ten years ago. 'The beans have to be roasted for a short time in order to preserve their structure and lock in the oils.' Weekenders has keenly studied the global rise of third-wave coffee shops, and those coffee trends are all present here – expect note-perfect espresso drinks prepared on a La Marzocco machine. Cafe lattes and other drinks are available starting at ¥500.

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Circus Coffee

'I want everybody to be able to experience real coffee,' says Yoshinori Watanabe, the friendly owner of this cute little café located in a 100-year-old house in central Kyoto. He does his own roasting, producing beans with rich, complex flavours without too much bitterness. Circus Coffee’s main offering is its range of French roasts (from ¥486 per 100g), which are particularly popular with locals.

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Mie Pump Coffee Shop

Toshitaka Otsuka’s coffee shop, only open three days a week, is as low-key a café can get – a small, sparse single room decorated with secondhand furniture. By using a hand operated roaster that puts out only 500g of beans at a time, the owner creates roasts he describes as 'simple, which allow me to express my individuality'. The sweetly fragrant French roast and the deftly flavoured medium roast (¥550 per 100g) draw in Kyoto’s coffee nerds.

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