It’s no secret that James Freeman, inspired by Tokyo and its kissaten coffee culture, decided to establish Blue Bottle Coffee. So it seemed like only a matter of time before the well-funded Oakland, California based roaster expanded to Japan.
But when it finally announced plans early last year there was one thing that did surprise people: the location. Shunning popular and swanky neighborhoods like Minami Aoyama, Freeman chose Kiyosumi for his first Japan location, which opens this Friday, February 6, 2015.
“Kiyosumi’s not glamorous, not hectic,” said Freeman, explaining his choice. “This neighborhood is more peaceful and residential, and reminds me of our roastery neighborhood in Oakland.”
Blue Bottle’s new home in Tokyo is located in a renovated warehouse. Working with architect Jo Nagasaka of Schemata Architects, Blue Bottle managed to preserve the industrial look and feel. The space combines a roastery and a café essentially providing an all-in-one factory that serves coffee directly from the beans it roasts.
“Taking advantage of the light space created by the existing steel structure, we designed an environment that allows complete visibility in every direction,” explains Jo Nagasaka. “This creates a sense of movement between seemingly non-related spaces. We incorporated this movement into the overall design, which heightens the experience factory-to-cup coffee.”
Starting February 6, 2015, Blue Bottle Coffee in Kiyosumi will be open from 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM.