03/10/2014 Update: Streamer Espresso in Osaka has closed its doors. For an alternative excellent coffee shop in Osaka, check out my review of Vade Mecvm.
You can count on your right hand the amount of must visit coffee shops in Japan. Hardly surprising when what pops to mind for most people is a piping hot can of coffee out of one of the 5.6 million vending machines in this country. But… if you were to make a list somewhere near the top would be Streamer Coffee Company.
Born from 2008 International Latte Art Winner Hiroshi Sawada and originally out of the culture capital of Tokyo, Shibuya, Streamer Osaka is the latest incarnation and the first outside the Japanese capital. Steered by two full time staff and occupying a small corner of a nondescript clothes shop in Minamihorie the minimal counter façade maintains the reputation of quality over quantity that people gush over when talking about Streamer.
And that reputation and its ‘unique-for-japan’ approach comes as somewhat as a double edged sword for anything really. Places such as Streamer tend to fall victim to overhype. Blown up by people so deprived of variety that their now routine morning Coffee Boss (Canned coffee) has fed a desire for something, anything, that feels cooler. Foolishly, I approached Streamer thinking this may be the case.
The coffee is excellent but I personally don’t know if I’m qualified to rank coffee anymore. The subtleties in what makes a good cup a great cup still escape me to this day and I tend to value atmosphere over the brew because the taste of the coffee fades faster than the memory of the surroundings.
Enzo, one of the two baristas behind the long timber counter on the two consecutive days I walked in, has a refreshing and personable approach through his thick American accent. My usual ‘What do you recommend to eat around here?’ question was met with a genuine thought process behind his suggestion. He greeted me the second day with a friendly wave and smile even before I stepped in followed by an engaging conversation about the ludicrous line across the road for a new Exile (Japanese boy band) tracksuit.
Surprisingly for a renowned coffee joint, little to no unwarranted pretentiousness.
So the reputation of Streamer is well founded. Built up by the hard work of its owner and his vision for the best coffee in the world. Previously I don’t think I could see how you can make such a claim because of my reasoning above, but after visiting his baby I see the method behind it. Perhaps he’s not trying to make THE best coffee in the world, but just be part of the upper echelon of coffee taste. Or perhaps just escape the litany of countless Boss Rainbow Coffee cans.
Oh right I forgot to mention… take away only.
© 2018 Carey Ciuro