SARUTAHIKO COFFEE is named after a powerful guardian deity of the Japanese Shinto religion. Despite what the name suggests, the coffee shop is far from the gaudy Kissaten (Japanese-style coffee house). Bathing in the warm glow of lighting from steampunk copper fixtures, the cozy little shop is an eclectic stash of tarnished weighing scales and quirky baby’s milk bottles filled with coffee beans.
Owner, Tomoyuki Ootsuka, is a young man with a burning desire to share the enjoyment of specialty coffee. He started SARUTAHIKO COFFEE in June 2012 offering hand drip coffee only. Now he serves espresso drinks as well, with beans from Nozy Coffee and Cafetenango. Apparently their Honey Latte is also a hit with the ladies.
The affable, fresh faced baristas were cheery despite being busy with orders. They even squeezed in time for friendly chatter with customers who were there for takeaways before scurrying back to work. Bustling with unbridled enthusiasm, SARUTAHIKO COFFEE is popular with young people in the area. I felt as if I was on the set of an idol drama with a coffee shop setting as we waited for our orders.
In between sips of my hand drip Guatemala La Soledad, I spotted a familiar face on the cover of a book. It was the book, ‘COFFEE WITH TIM WENDELBOE’. On the flyleaf was a hand scrawled note commending SARUTAHIKO for serving good coffee, signed off by Tim Wendelboe. It is no mean feat for such a young coffee shop to be recognized by the winner of the 2004 World Barista Championship and 2005 World Cup Tasters Championship. Do swing by the lively coffee shop to gratify your craving for good coffee when you are in the Ebisu area.
Anyway, the coffee geeks in us were so excited by the book that we almost forgot to take down tasting notes; my coffee had notes of cacao with hints of nuts and tones of sweet berries in its finishing. The Perez family has been running the Finca La Soledad coffee farm since 1895, with great dedication in progressive farming practices to achieve the finest cup quality. Raul Rodas of Guatemala had used coffee from Finca La Soledad when he took first place in the 2012 World Barista Championship.
We spent half an hour delving into Tim Wendelboe’s coffee book together, oblivious to the hustle and bustle around us. Reading together allows us to tune into each other’s experiences, thoughts and feelings. In the process of discussing the finer points of coffee brewing, we understand each other better.
Come to think of it, what we read doesn’t really matter so long as we are together.
Address: 1-6-6 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0013
Update (Dec 2013):
SARUTAHIKO COFFEE now roast and sell their own beans.