% Arabica Coffee

Saturday, October 31, 2015 Sharon Halim 10 Comments

My friend suggested Arabica coffee, she insisted I must at least visit one of their branch either in Arashiyama or near Kiyomizu-dera, so I did. It was a hot day and I needed a break after squeezing my days with as many as beautiful majestic shrines and temples in Kyoto. When it all started to blend together and lose it's majestic feeling than it's time to clear my head and re charge my body, it time for coffee.

Kenneth Shoji bought a coffee farm in Hawaii and started a green bean trading company then become a distributor of Slayer espresso machine. Later on, he partnered up with latte art champion Junichi Yamaguchi to open the now famous % Arabica Coffee in Kyoto. Even though the popular Yasaka no to Pagoda looms on top of the hill and it's located near the busy streets on the way to Kiyozumi dera Temple, Arabica coffee makes a quietly polished statement of calmness in one of the smaller alley. Making it the perfect place for a break from all the tourist sightseeings and traffic. They have an English menu and their staff speaks enough English so it will be easy to order. I was in awe of Junichi Yamaguchi and so glad that he was on the store. On top of that, he makes my coffee!

The shop is small but well decorated and highly functional, the bar is white with mid tone wood on their espresso machines and the light wood surrounding the roaster in the back. Green beans are stored in a glass storage, temperature controlled case opposite of the bar, works as a display for the customers as well. The roasting is done in hose at the back of the shop with examples of different roasts.

They also pays a lot of attention in cafe's branding starting from the floors,walls, valve amp of the stereo all bears the company's mark.

I decided to try their espresso even though I usually drink my coffee with milk just because I really want to taste the true flavour of the coffee. The quality of the beans shine through as well as the technique was clearly professional. The barista is visible from the counter when they make your drink and it was Junichi himself preparing my coffee.

I had to order some more and this time with milk. When the hot capuccino arrived on my table, I notice the cups have wider opening as well as the takeaway cups. Then I found out the reason was to produce beautiful coffee art, basically provide more space for Junichi creative arts. Flavour wise the coffee has a toasted almond with subtle caramel undertones with rich, smooth and fluffy milk.

As if I haven't drink enough coffee, I order the ice coffee for take away and no surprise it was so good, especially it was hot outside.

Arabica also roast their take home beans on demand using a Tornado King. The trick is you have to wait the necessary time before brewing at home otherwise it would taste a bit gassy. This is because typically they allow 3-7 days for CO2 release and flavour development post roast. Arabica staff communicates this process to the customers allowing them to enjoy the best coffee at home. They also have an option of desired level of roast to take home which I found unique. If you don't really understand about coffee just let them make the decisions to make a roast profile that brings out the beast in the green beans. This would be an advantage for people that have a darker palate or have a spesific taste of coffee.

At first I didn't expect much from Arabica since I come from Melbourne, the land where amazing coffee's are served everywhere. But I was wrong, Arabica coffee is worthy of the same class as Melbourne's coffee and it's certainly the best coffee I have tasted in Japan. They also have two shops in Hong Kong and I'm sure there will be many more international shops to come in the future. 

I would like to thanks Tedi Tioanda from Monopictura, Indonesia for some of the beautiful pictures in this post. Overall, I would come back in a heart beat. To coffee lovers out there, prepare to be tempted!

Monday-Sunday: 8am-6pm

% Arabica Coffee
87-5 Hoshinocho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan, 605-0853


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