In Japan, even boutiques have their own coffee corners.

Wander around Aoyama, one of the more fashionable neighbourhoods of Tokyo, and you will find plenty of chic places to shop, dine and, yes, enjoy a cuppa. The Japanese being the Japanese, when two of these retail worlds combine, you can be assured it’s done with much careful consideration.

Such is the case with Cobi Coffee, a café located within Bloom & Branch, a boutique that sells a range of artisanal housewares and hand-crafted attire. No surprise then that the coffee served here mirrors this philosophy: every cup is hand-brewed and served with courteous ceremony.

The café itself is but a tiny alcove, almost a pairing of coffee laboratory behind the bar and a space for customers to sit and observe the process of preparing coffee. Décor-wise, look forward to a warm blend of natural wood, vintage brass and copper, and the clean lines of glass pitchers onto which coffee drips, a result of the traditional flannel pour-over method popularised in old-school Japanese coffeehouses (kissaten).

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The bright and cheerful Le Café du Sablon along rue de la Régence has an enviable view of Eglise Notre-Dame du Sablon just opposite. Dedicated to Our Blessed Lady of Sablon, the 15th-century Catholic church has a Brabantine Gothic exterior and two Baroque-style chapels. The café that bears its name is far less ornate but also a haven of sorts, albeit for coffee aficionados.

Run by François Lafontaine, owner of Café de la Presse, one of the earliest hipster cafés in Brussels, Le Café du Sablon’s focus is on slow-brewed coffee. Lafontaine’s dedication to quality beans is evident with the inclusion of a small indoor roaster, something not every Belgian coffee shop has.

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