You know what they say about setting up shop. It’s location, location, location.
Don’t want your best business ideas blown away like crisp Autumn leaves? Don’t bury them under a rock. Get on the busiest corner and display your wares.
Your business needs a bold image. It needs to live in the consciousness of fans. You’d want people to see it, taste it, rave about it, and post well-filtered pictures on Instagram. That’s just how social works.
% Arabica seems to understand this business proposition well. The modest, minimalist coffee shop is a stone’s throw from the iconic pagoda of the Hokanji Temple in eastern Kyoto.
I don’t know anyone who needs coffee more than scenery-chewing tourists. Good coffee is the answer to sore feet, a spot of map-reading, and gratuitous people-watching. It’s fuel for the adrenalin.
% Arabica is feverishly popular and it’s easy to see why. Unlike tedious hipster coffee joints, it doesn’t project, “we’re too cool for you”. The barista isn’t an unsmiling, heavily tatted bloke who looks like he did time.
Unlike chain coffee stores, no one here is singing your orders. Or asking for your name to write on cups.
There is no festive merchandise to hawk. Neither are there third-party cakes from a central kitchen 20 kilometres away.
%Arabica is all about beans and coffee. Pure and simple.
You want your coffee? Good. Place an order. Then wait, like an adult, to pick it up.
Chief barista Junichi Yamaguchi is a latte art champion who brews morning-worthy coffee. He is friendly and efficient. Small talk remains that, small.
The store uses a high-tech machine called Slayer. It is a sexy beast you’d want to whisper your darkest caffeinated thoughts to.
Fun fact: % Arabica has more than 20 varieties of beans, and they ship direct from its own coffee farm in Hawaii. They’ll even pack custom roasts if you can wait 15 minutes.
The store is built with clean lines, cool textures and some serious respect for beans. There is an extended counter for you to post with flat-lays.
Walk in and you’re greeted with the rich smell of fresh roasts, punctuated with notes of cedar and clove.
You’ll want to stay here and flip a trashy rag, reply to texts, or plan your next vacation. That is, if the tons of faux kimono-wearing tourists don’t drive you away first.
% Arabica Kyoto, 87-5 Hoshino-cho Higashiyama-ku Kyoto, Opening hours: 8am – 6pm daily, Tel: 075-746-3669