11th February 2014.
Unbeknownst to some, Kyoto has a long and vibrant “café culture” since the introduction of coffee to Japan. One of the oldest café in Kyoto which has since branched out to other parts of Japan is none other than Inoda Coffee dating back to 1940 as a coffee merchant related to shipping. According to my tutor from Kyoto Institute of Technology, a section of the old café in its flagship shop was constructed from the wood from one of those ships used in the shipping.
While I did drop by the flagship café along Sakaimachi-dori, my favourite is the branch at Sanjo-dori which has a round counter where you could watch the baristas at work, preparing each and every cup of coffee.
Inoda Coffee is more than just a normal café. It is an institution of Kyoto, equivalent to that of Café Sacher in Vienna. According to my tutor, if you are lucky, you can spot celebrities and designers patronizing the café and perhaps strike up a meaning conversation about design or architecture.
The Arabian Pearl is their signature coffee, which is quite mellow and fragrant. Along with my cup of coffee, I also had a Chestnut Cake, all of which is included within the 900 Yen Coffee and Cake Set. The cake was a little sweet and pretty rich but together with the coffee, it is a good match as the bitterness from the coffee balances off the rich and sweet Chestnut Cake.