One of the last places we visited on our honeymoon in Japan last year was Hearts Light Coffee, a micro-roaster tucked away on a side street in the Shinsen neighborhood of Tokyo.
Hearts Light was definitely the most photogenic coffee shop we visited in Japan, and the excellent service from Junior (one of the co-owners, and our barista) made the experience even more memorable.
Let's take a closer look at Hearts Light Coffee.
About Hearts Light Coffee
The little bit of information we have about Hearts Light Coffee came from our conversations with Junior, one of the owners of the small café and micro-roaster.
His English limited, and our Japanese even more so (who am I kidding? we don't speak a lick of Japanese), we learned that Hearts Light is owned by Junior and a few other friends.
Just like the other micro-roasters, we visited in Japan, the space is small.
There's a little bridge from the street to the café's entrance, which seems appropriate given the spectacle that you are presented with upon passing through the front door.
A beautiful Kuban copper coffee roaster is the shop's centerpiece, where it sits behind the coffee bar for customers to marvel at.
To the left of the entrance is a bookshelf full of vinyls and built-in woofers, giving hipsters and audiophiles alike, something to drool over.
And then, to top off all of the aesthetic wonders, there are several custom-made mechanical pour-over stands that rotate the drip coffee filters so that the barista does not have to pour in circular motions.
Where is Hearts Light Coffee Located?
Hearts Light Coffee is located on a quiet street in the Shinsen neighborhood, not too far from the infamous Shibuya crossing.
The coffee we had at Hearts Light was good, though not as memorable as some of the other stops we made on our Japanese specialty coffee tour.
I ordered an espresso, which was served in a glass cup that was way too big for the tiny little shot.
Espresso snobs probably cringe at the thought of this. And yes, like pretty much every espresso I ordered in Japan, it was nothing to write home about.
V was wise to order a pour-over, which was much more memorable. The device that Junior used to brew the coffee was especially intriguing.
Well, it was a Hario V60, but the V60 was actually placed on a rotating mechanism to ensure that the Barista, Junior, did not have to pour the water in circular motions.
To me, this felt more like a spectacle than coffee science, but it was still the first time I had ever seen anything like it.
Junior told us it was created by one of his colleagues.
Like most of the Japanese coffee shops we visited, Hearts Light is a very small space.
There were a few stools by a counter facing the street, as well as one small table (if my memory serves me correctly). Ultimately though, this was not the kind of café where you would expect to find a seat.
It's best to head into the experience with the expectation that you may need to take your coffee to-go.
Still, we were fortunate enough to be some of the only customers at the time of our visit, leaving us the opportunity to sit, chat, and take plenty of pictures.
Junior, the barista and co-owner who served us, was a delight to be around.
He was warm and welcoming, and we geeked out over coffee gadgets despite the language barrier. He even had a Kruve on-hand!
For us, service ended up being the difference-maker in many of the coffee shops we visited in Japan, and Hearts Light was definitely a perfect example of how great service is sometimes more important than the product itself.
Although Hearts Light Coffee didn't serve us the best coffee we had in Japan, it was definitely one of the shops with the best service. The aesthetics of the shop made our visit even more enjoyable.
If you plan to take on the Shibuya Crossing during your time in Tokyo, make sure you stop by Hearts Light for coffee. I think you'll love it!
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