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.
其中Clamp Coffee Sarasa 便是一家我們很喜歡的咖啡館。
Clamp Coffee Sarasa
67-38 Nishinokyo Shokushicho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan
Thu-Tue 8am-6pm / Wed closed