New and noted
Coffee Supreme forges new friendships in Tokyo over flat whites and lattes.
Coffee Supreme takes on Tokyo
“When you make a list of cities you’d love to see your brand established in, Tokyo has to be pretty high on the list,” says Coffee Supreme’s Jonny Calder. The Wellington roaster has opened a 24-square-metre store in Shibuya, a partnership with Hiroki and Tomoko Matsumoto, who live between Auckland and Tokyo. “It was important to us that we built a space that was unmistakably Supreme, but also Japanese.” How did you approach opening in a country where you don’t speak the language? We could never have done this without our Japanese partners – but the language gap is just the start of it. Hierarchy is huge in Japan: you really have to learn to be appropriate. We got schooled pretty swiftly – and we had to use a bit of Anzac charm now and then. Tell us about your cafe. Our neighbourhood is great – a mix of residential and commercial. We’re surrounded by some of the best in Tokyo: architects, design bookstores, Monocle, craft-beer spots and the best natural wine bars in town. We’ll be serving up coffee all day, every day and we’ll also open a night-time concept soon. You used local expertise? We were lucky to instantly have a bunch of local contacts through Hiroki, including spatial designer Shingo Abe. He brought with him a builder and cabinet maker with typical Japanese craftsmanship and attention to detail. Every decision sparked conversations: ‘Do we do it the Japanese way or the way we’d naturally do it back home?’ Finding this balance was sometimes tricky. You’ve taken some friends to Tokyo with you? Yep, Fix & Fogg peanut butter and the Karma Cola range – but they had already beaten us to Tokyo. Otherwise we’re making friends over there. We want to sell our antipodean coffee culture in an authentic, localised way.
Coffee Supreme Tokyo 1F 42-3, Kamiyamacho, Shibuya, Tokyo coffeesupreme.com/ tokyo Photography Josh Griggs