If you can find it, Manu Coffee near Tenjin, Fukuoka offers probably the most authentic current wave of trendy cafe I’ve found so far in Asia. You know the one I’m talking about, with art work littering the weirdly coloured wall with funky design kinda everywhere but nothing consistent. Hanging lights and graffiti. Timber mixed with metal. The standard flair you see in Melbourne to be honest.
And while I’m being honest, I haven’t really missed this somewhat pretentious sub culture from home. It’s done everywhere in almost a cookie cutter fashion but it is that way because it looks better than the alternatives. Still I can’t help but feel that the trend needs to break and something new needs to stamp itself , especially in my home town.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a go at Manu Coffee because for all purposes in this country, it is an adventurer blazing the way of its counterparts in an unknown territory. Japan, specifically Kyushu, has a distinct lack of modern coffee hang outs so it’s nice that Manu Coffee exists.
It exists in 3 forms. The ‘large well known store’ (as they call it) that you see here in Chuou-ku. The ‘shop Haruyoshi’ also in Chuou-ku, about a 10 minute walk away which is a smaller somewhat more traditional western style ‘Cafe’. And Wolf Roasters, an even shorter walk between the two. Manu first setup in 2001 and has been steadily growing its brand since. The one here is the newest of the three, having been open for two years.
They pride themselves on a sustainable and eco-friendly brand of roasting as evident in the greenhouse both inside and outside of the cafe. It’s an interesting setup I’ll give them that. I had no problem sitting here for most of the day working away absorbed in the tunes of Foals and Robyn playing in the background. It’s just so nice to hear ‘proper’ western music being played as opposed to the fascination with the Glee Soundtrack and Black Eyed Peas. If you’re in Fukuoka and looking for a decent slice of a modern cafe I would find it to go past Manu Coffee.
Finally here’s a passing thought, the Latte I ordered wasn’t great, and the food was typically small. So don’t go there expecting the best coffee you’ll have in Japan.
Manu Coffee is located at:
Border Tower Building 1F
3-11-2 Watanabe Street, Chuou-ku
+81 92 7630 6011
Nestled comfortably beside a Sushi Knife shop and a Golf supply store on a side street off Nagasaki’s main arcade is a small cafe called Megane Coffee. So called perhaps because of its proximity to Nagasaki’s famous Meganebashi, Spectacles Bridge, OR because of owner Kenji’s perfectly circular glasses which match the famous bridge.
The witty and clever nature of Kenji isn’t isolated to just the name of his unique cafe but also in his delightful kitchen and dining area. A small gas top cooker is used to boil his water and prepare his coffee. This is a small operation designed to make the most of what he has and it does so perfectly.
The Iced Cafe Au Latte is an ideal refresher on Japans humid summers and the lattes he makes is as good as anything you’d find in the west. But, no large lunches or hearty breakfasts. Understandably so given the small space, but there are a range of cakes and sweets that he pulls from behind his counter.
The clientele here is ridiculously friendly given the intimate nature of the space and I’ve been engaged in conversation almost every time I’ve stopped by. I’m glad he opened up 3 months ago and gave Nagasakians a great, cute cafe.
Megane Coffee is located at:
+81 9 5821-0124
© 2018 Carey Ciuro