Don’t be surprised if STREAMER COFFEE COMPANY evokes a familiar feeling. Hidden along the alleys of Shibuya, the coffee shop is spacious with a lofty ceiling, long wooden communal tables and grey concrete walls much like coffee joints from the Pacific Coast. There are comfortable cushion seats on one side of the shop for you to plop into before slurping your coffee. On the other side is an area conducive for working alone: a few bar stools were placed along a long table with ample power sockets, providing just the right amount of privacy for you to bang away on your laptop.
Hiroshi Sawada was not around when we were there but the décor of his shop gave us a clue about his interests. STREAMER COFFEE COMPANY oozes strong street culture vibes, from the camouflage patterned espresso machine to customized grinder emblazoned with stickers and barista clad in SUPREME beanies. The art and design magazines adorning the wall are part of an inaugural café/magazine installation THE U CAFÉ X STREAMER held in multiple cafés (STREAMER COFFEE HARAJUKU, STREAMER COFFEE SHIBUYA, LATTEST OMOTESANDO Espresso Bar). A collaboration between Underscore and Hiroshi Sawada, it brings together independent cafés and magazines to encourage readership within the café community. A wall mounted art piece featuring the swirls of Hiroshi’s signature triple rosetta latte art across four skateboards added the finishing touch.
The counter is designed in such a way that you could witness the whole process of swirling frothed milk into art, using nothing more than milk and the pitcher. Hiroshi Sawada is the 2008 Free Pour Latte Art Champion, the first Asian to win the accolade with a record breaking high score. It doesn’t come as a surprise that latte art is glorified at STREAMER COFFEE COMPANY. Here, latte art is a well-choreographed sleight of hand where you walk away with a delicious cup of coffee with a rosetta, served in a bowl sized STREAMER mug.
Beyond just showcasing aesthetic artistry, latte art requires a perfectly extracted shot of espresso and advanced milk steaming technique. Beautiful latte art is therefore said to be an indication of tasty coffee made of quality espresso and properly steamed milk. The STREAMER Latte that we ordered did not let us down: silky and syrupy with hints of citrus complementing the delicate acidity. The STREAMER Blend is roasted on a 40 year old Probat in small batches and delivered everyday to ensure premium quality; they are available for purchase along with other STREAMER branded merchandise like T-shirts and mugs near the counter. We also spotted Hiroshi’s latest book HIROSHI’S LATTE ART AND BARISTA STYLE. In both Japanese and English, the book is packed with great tips for espresso extraction, milk preparation and drawing latte art.
We left STREAMER COFFEE COMPANY and headed for our next stop, FUGLEN TOKYO. As we held hands and skipped over the icy sludge, I remembered a saying: “Holding hands is a promise to one another that, for just a moment, the two of us don’t have to face the world alone”.
If only this moment could last forever.
Address: 1-20-28 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo