Clamp Coffee Sarasa, Kyoto

Categories Café Hop

Unlike the Japanese capital, Kyoto isn’t exactly known as a bastion for specialty coffee. Well-preserved machiya (traditional townhouses)? Check. World heritage sites, from Buddhist temples to Shinto shrines? Check. Single origin pour-overs? Well, that’s more of a rarity here.

So it is a pleasant surprise to discover a gem of a café, not in the bustling city centre but further north near the grand Nijo Castle, hidden away in an alley-way. Clamp Coffee Sarasa was founded by barista-roaster Tomonori Kanbara after he was invited to join Kyoto-based F&B chain Sarasa (its other outlets include a bakery and a café inside a refurbished sento (bath house).

The unobtrusive entrance to Clamp Coffee Sarasa is almost hidden by a wall of vines (bone-dry or leafy green, depending on the season). Inside the café has a weathered ambience with plenty of re-purposed wood doubling as furniture and furnishing. Dried flowers and fresh plants flourish in vessels that are really odds-and-ends. Vintage items abound such as the clamp that gives the shop its name.

A mounted deer head watches over the coffee roasting area in one corner. Snatches of conversation – soft whispers, naturally – mingle around the communal table. To go with the coffee, there is a minimalist menu of toasts – buttered lightly and topped with the freshest ingredients. The décor may feel mismatched but everything feels just right. Drop by for a cuppa and you’ll know what we mean.

說起來這是我們第三次造訪京都了。
感覺上古都依然沒什麼改變,
名勝古跡處的遊人還是那麼多,而錦市場那則永遠那麼熱鬧。
然而,愛咖啡的我們卻在這趟行程中發現了一件有趣的事,
那就是古都的精品咖啡館多了不少,
其中Clamp Coffee Sarasa 便是一家我們很喜歡的咖啡館。
隱藏于著名景點二條城不遠的一條小巷里,
外頭擺滿了各類植物,如果是夏天到訪,
窗沿外還會爬滿了常春藤,一片綠油油的,讓人心情開朗。

踏入店裡,洋灰和木製家具是這裝潢的兩大元素,
其實以這兩種元素為主的咖啡館不少,
但這裡卻搭配的非常有味道,加上鮮、乾花的點綴,
給人一種溫暖舒適的感覺。
當然,除了有質感的裝潢與佈置外,這裡的食物和咖啡也絕不馬虎。
自家烘焙的豆子,加上咖啡師細心地沖泡,
大清早能喝到這樣一杯咖啡總是讓人心情愉快的,
再配上一份美味的法式吐司或三明治,那就更讓人滿足了。


Clamp Coffee Sarasa
67-38 Nishinokyo Shokushicho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan
+81 75-822-9397
Thu-Tue 8am-6pm / Wed closed
cafe-sarasa.com/shop_clamp/

Kenny is a writer. CK is a photographer. Together they café-hop around the world and have contributed to The Malay Mail Online, Time Out, and other cool publications. Read more of Kenny’s stories at Life for Beginners and check out CK’s photography at Devil's Tales 胡思亂想.

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