Mar. 29, 2018 UPDATE

Grand Opening! Blue Bottle Coffee enters Kyoto in eye-catching machiya style!

Besides having locations in Tokyo, the well-known Blue Bottle Coffee has also opened a café in Kyoto! The Kyoto machiya townhouse-style store presents a unique aesthetic. Kyoto limited edition products await your arrival to try them out!
Vanessa[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]

Since expanding to Tokyo, Blue Bottle Coffee is opening their first cafe in the Kansai region in Kyoto. Differentiating itself from conventional cafes is the store’s notable Kyoto machiya style. The nearby scenic attraction of Nanzen-ji Temple augments the store’s tranquil atmosphere, allowing one to enjoy coffee contentedly.


On March 23rd, 2018, Blue Bottle Coffee opened its first cafe in Kyoto! After expanding to Tokyo, Blue Bottle made its Kansai region debut with its first Kansai cafe located near the highly popular sightseeing spot of Nanzen-ji.


I also took the subway to Keage Station on the opening day, making my way to the cafe which is around an 8-minute walk in the direction of Nanzen-ji Temple. 


Early in the year 2002, the company was founded in Oakland, California. As for the name “Blue Bottle”, it was taken from the first coffee house in Europe, The Blue Bottle Coffee House.


However, in establishing its presence in Kyoto, Blue Bottle Coffee blends into the Kyoto ambiance with its Kyoto machiya style.


Upon entering the cafe, one sees the raised ceiling; the Kyoto machiya ambiance is one of warmth. This section of the cafe is stocked with products such as coffee beans, coffee equipment, and Kyoto limited edition tote bags.


Single origin coffee beans are diverse in selection; these delectable coffees can be tasted at home.


Isn’t this simple, no-frills white mug adorned with the blue logo cute? It stirred in me the tiniest urge to buy it!


Every product carries this blue bottle motif; at center-top is the Kyoto limited edition tote bag. Several people bought these today!


After browsing the products section, I entered the garden and saw a line forming. The blue bottle motif is printed onto the machiya building, displaying an artistic blend of new and old.


After waiting in line for about 20 minutes, it was finally my turn to order! Even the menu was made of wooden boards, fitting in with the aesthetic. As for the prices, they weren’t so expensive for this tourist area.


There are also sweets to go along with the coffee. The Kyoto-exclusive matcha cookies were sold out; looks like I’ll have to make another trip!


After ordering a coffee with mixed-origin beans and the store-recommended New Orleans Iced, I watched the barista prepare the pour over coffee in front of the bar. The New Orleans Iced is an iced coffee with milk, cane sugar, and no ice, making it not overly sweet.


Sadly, the inner seating area was full, otherwise you could see the blue skies through this window – a pretty good view!


But not to worry! There were tables outdoors that reminds one of Japan’s tachinomi culture, so there were no seats to sit on. However, what we’re tasting is coffee, not liquor!

It’s time to try out the chocolate chip cookies and cheese and tomato scones!


The cookies were on the soft side; the chocolate chips put me over the moon! Compared to American style cookies, these really were not overly sweet.


The cheese and tomato scone has a crispy crust and is flavored with sea salt and cheese; it was perfectly moist and not dry at all.


As for the coffee, it was very refreshing so not actually that strong in flavor. After sitting for a while it became slightly acidic. If you are someone who likes black coffee, I would recommend the pour over coffee series so that you can taste the original flavor of the coffee beans.


There are fewer coffee shops like this in the Nanzenji area, let alone in the Kyoto machiya style. I trust this will also become a new landmark in this area. The store opens at 8 am; I’d recommend everyone arrive early and enjoy a nice breakfast in the peaceful atmosphere!

A comment from the staff
Vanessa
Amidst the Kyoto machiya aesthetic, I had coffee while standing in the garden for the first time, which put me in a leisurely mood. You can get an up-close view of the professional staff making pour over coffee, and I would personally highly recommend the cheese and tomato scones. This time I couldn’t try the Kyoto limited edition matcha cookies, so it looks like next time I’ll just have to arrive earlier! If you’re close by Nanzenji, why not come take a break during your travels!
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