Mention Shimokitazawa coffee shops and most people will point you in the direction of love-it-or-loathe-it espresso haven Bear Pond. Exlibris has been around for just as long, but it's dodged the limelight by declining all media requests and imposing a blanket ban on photography inside the shop. It's odd that a place with such good coffee would prefer to keep so quiet about it, though the upside is that you won't have to queue for a seat here the way you would elsewhere. The interior has a very LOHAS feel to it, with whitewash walls, worn wooden floorboards and dainty, undersized furniture, but the drinks menu is pure seriousness. 'This is going to be different from the coffee and style of drinking you've experienced before,' it announces, in to-the-point Japanese. Although they do espresso-based drinks, the main draw is the hardcore selection of single origin coffees, which are served in a cafetiere and accompanied by an information sheet detailing the property and coffee characteristics. We pick the most expensive option, the Brazilian Grota São Pedro (¥900), which won first place in this year's Cup of Excellence competition (dubbed the 'Oscars of coffee'). It's spectacular; as it slowly cools, each sip reveals one of the myriad flavours listed on the crib sheet: lime, lemongrass, pineapple, mandarin, apple, and on and on. ¥900 might be a lot to pay for a coffee, but then this is coffee with a lot to offer.
|Venue name:||Coffea Exlibris|
5-8-16 Daizawa, Setagaya-ku
|Opening hours:||1pm-10pm (last orders 9pm) / closed Fri|
|Transport:||Shimokitazawa Station (Odakyu, Keio Inokashira lines), south exit|