Renowned architect Kengo Kuma is known for his buildings that riff on Japanese craftsmanhip, and the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo, which he painstakingly designed from the ground up since the collaboration was announced in 2016, finally opened its doors late last month. The Tokyo outpost is the company’s fifth such roastery, following openings in Seattle (2014), Shanghai (2017), Milan and New York (both in 2018).
The opening of the Tokyo outlet, whose design is inspired by the cherry blossom trees that line the Meguro River, made it just in time for the upcoming sakura season. Located in the Nakameguro district of Tokyo, the roastery — sporting glass walls, light-coloured sugi (Japanese cedar), angular tiered terraced floors — is designed to blend into the surrounding neighbourhood while offering a scenic view of the cherry blossoms and river.
The cherry blossom motif is mirrored multiple times throughout the multi-storey space. Around 2,100 copper cherry blossoms cascade down from the ceiling, complementing a 17m-tall copper cask with 121 copper plates hand-hammered in the Japanese tsuchime technique. Washi paper lanterns, staples in the Japanese culture, make up a most compelling origami-like ceiling.
The main coffee bar takes up the first floor, where signature beverages such as a barrel-aged cold brew that uses beans aged in whisky barrels – resulting in a pour with a hint of alcohol-like burn at the back of the throat — are served. Upstairs, the Teavana tea bar offers innovative tea-based beverages like a cream soda made with matcha from Kyoto, sparkling water and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Cocktail lovers will get to enjoy coffee-infused tipples (we’re talking about poured over cocktail with Japanese whisky here) at the Arriviamo bar on the third floor. The AMU Inspiration Lounge occupies the fourth floor, doubling as an event space and Specialty Coffee Association of Japan-certified training location.
Kuma was an obvious choice for the Roastery in Japan, as the architect has previously worked with the brand on other Starbucks branches like the Dazaifu store in Fukuoka. For more information, see here.
The roastery is located at 2 Chome-19-23 Aobadai, Meguro, Tokyo.