Art is something that Kyoto-born Junichi Yamaguchi understands very well. Yamaguchi is not only the winner of the Tokyo 2014 Latte Art World Championship Open, he is also the co-founder (together with businessman Kenneth Shoji and architect Masaki Kato) of % Arabica Coffee, a small chain of specialty coffee bars with outlets in Kyoto, Hong Kong and Kuwait City.
Pulling shots of espresso before foaming milk to create his Instagram-friendly latte art, Yamaguchi is a vision of confidence in his Higashiyama café, located near Hokanji Temple, a Kyoto heritage site. The beans are roasted on the spot at % Arabica Coffee and you can request your preferred level of roasting, from light to dark.
Yamaguchi moved to Tokyo, working at The Theatre Coffee in Shibuya for two years before competing in latte art competitions and winning the aforementioned competition in 2014, sealing his claim to fame. Today, the self-taught barista is a much sought-after latte art trainer, having taught classes in Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Malaysia.
Little wonder latte art otakus from round the world eagerly make pilgrimages to % Arabica Coffee in the UNESCO World Heritage city to happily obsess over every cuppa he crafts. It’s a trip well worth making.
% Arabica Coffee: Kyoto Higashiyama
87-5 Hoshino-cho Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan