I’m venturing into other parts of the world for this post, but considering I lived in Japan for 5 years I think this suits me. Any fellow expats out there, travelers, or people living in Japan reading this? Because I have found what looks like a great little coffee place in Tokyo called Mocha Coffee. It’s a shame I didn’t discover it sooner because it opened in 2011 when I was still living there. Dangit. This isn’t a very timely discovery! But maybe it will be for someone else. Anyway, it’s a quaint little coffee shop and apparently the only one in Japan that serves coffee from Yemen. The owners are a Japanese woman and her Yemeni husband. For those who haven’t been following my blog or know much about Yemen, the country’s history with coffee goes waaaaaaay back to when coffee was traded through its port city called Mocha on the Red Sea coast.
Some reviews about Mocha Coffee. The following images are from Mocha Coffee’s Facebook page.
Miyake says her favorite thing about coffee is the way it has introduced her to new people and new friends, both from Japan and abroad. “Of course I like to serve good coffee, too,” she says, cutting a slice of homemade cake for a customer, “but I like that it’s a point of connection more than anything else.”
She tells me about the Arabian coffee—of the light roast, the cardamom, the cloves, and the saffron—and the dried dates she usually has to go with them. It strikes me as a little absurd to think there’s a little coffee shop in a fashionable district of Tokyo where you can drink traditional Arabian coffee with dates or cake.
There are four varieties of Yemen mocha coffee on offer: Ibbi, Ismaili, Anisi and Ibbi Mt. Somarah (the latter cultivated at an elevation of 2,800 metres, and costing a princely ¥1,200 per cup). We order a cup of Ismaili, said to be the most traditional of Yemeni coffees, and it’s a punchy brew, bursting with fruity and winey flavours.
The shop is quite literally a sliver size of a place that is wedged in between two buildings. With all its walls and ceiling made of glass, the shop makes you feel as if you are in a cozy sunroom. On a sunny day, natural light floods into the shop, creating a photographer’s dream space. The narrow shop permits only a counter that seats about 5-6, and a few tables inside and out on the patio. Very intimate indeed, but not claustrophobic.
It’s apparent the owners are very passionate about introducing aspects of Yemeni culture through their shop. You’ll see Yemen guidebooks, photographs, pots and kettles, money, and foodstuffs displayed all over.
Daikan-yama is the next stop after Shibuya. Only 3 minutes and ¥130 on the Tokyu Toyoko/Minatomirai line local train!