There is this underlying rivalry of sorts between Osaka and Tokyo. One is friendlier than the other. Nicer than the other. Cooler than the other. The easiest way to explain it for my Australian friends is a sort of mutual understanding that Sydney and Melbourne are building too. It’s kind of obvious though when you walk into Streamer Coffee Shibuya after visiting their Osaka branch first that one rates itself higher than the other.
Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Osaka branch of Streamer Coffee and so much so that I confidently asserted that its reputation as a premiere coffee house that it has pretty much built from the ground up was extremely well founded. What I did enjoy most about it was the underlying superiority associated with titles such as that was noticeably missing in action.
Perhaps my bias towards Osaka is clouding my judgement. Perhaps that Osaka was just a counter and there was no lingering customers made me feel at ease. Perhaps my ego was hurt I couldn’t engaged the staff or customers like I could in Osaka. Whatever it was, I didn’t want to hang around as much.
This wasn’t more apparent than when informed with a crossed arms symbol from behind the counter as we were leaving that photos were not allowed. We had asked before we ordered, and the barista told us the rules of taking photos, very politely and with a smile mind you, to which we adhered to. We followed the rules and waited for the coffee as an older American gentleman in a dapper outfit with round rimmed glasses and a young Spoodle in hand, high fived the staff as he was leaving. It’s friendly, there’s no denying that. But behind the counter photos were implicitly not allowed and interior pictures will find you on the wrong side of the staff that didn’t know you had already asked.
I can understand a brands reluctance to allow photo taking so I haven’t posted the one I took. It is always the first thing I ask before I do and I’m not foolish enough to think this lowly website is entitled to the good graces of the exclusive side of culture without a proper ‘appointment’. It does have to be mentioned mind you because it was part of the experience as a customer.
Uniquely and surprisingly the coffee mug was the size of my face so predictably when one shot of espresso is used the latte (¥550) was very milky and very heavy to drink. It was good but it wasn’t finished, more likely due to the size than the taste. There are other coffees on the menu, the most interesting of which was the Military Latte. A mix of Green Tea, White Chocolate, Espresso and Cocoa that is safe to say that soldiers would probably prefer to their military supply instant coffee.
Donuts and cakes are also available as well as Streamers’ emerging clothing label and coffee hardware. Seating is plenty and smoking is allowed outside. Open every day including holidays but hours change on weekends.
Streamer Coffee Shibuya still comes recommended here but not so at the top of the list. There is plenty of competition in this city that now nudge it out as one of the better places to have a coffee in Tokyo. Well, to me at least.
© 2017 Carey Ciuro