It’s safe to say that Blue Bottle Coffee is Very Big In Japan. The Bay Area coffee brand started over two decades ago by James Freeman (Nestle purchased a majority share of the company in 2017) has seen massive growth in Asia, and in Japan specifically, where the former Oakland farmer’s market roaster now has 25 of its over 100 cafes. That expansion continues with the all-new Blue Bottle Studio in Kyoto. The very limited seating cafe is designed to be coffee experience-forward, and to celebrate, founder James Freeman will be on hand to lead a series of talks in the intimate new space.
Blue Bottle Studio is a new global initiative by the company, with Freeman serving as Creative Director over the entire project. The Kyoto Studio will be the first of its kind and will be the blueprint for what to expect from future installations. In Kyoto, the Blue Bottle Studio works as a sort of ancillary operation; it exists as part of an already-existing Blue Bottle cafe, on the second floor of the architecturally stunning Kyoto Cafe Hanare, but operates completely independently. The four-seat cafe is a by-reservation space where guests can experience coffee in a focused, unobstructed way. Offered at the Blue Bottle Studio is a prix fixe coffee tasting, including seven different coffee preparations—using rare single origins, different extractions, and sometimes alcohol—as well as a dessert by Tangentes.
Unlike Blue Bottle’s other second-floor very blue coffee experience in Japan, everything about the design of the Studio is meant to place the focus solely on the coffee. From Blue Bottle Japan’s Instagram:
We believe that everything surrounding coffee needs to be discreet and delicate in order to enjoy the ultimate coffee experience. From barista’s uniforms to a series of coffee brewing, to cups to pours coffee, to counters and spaces where cups are placed. The content is now available for you to enjoy the brilliance you hear from coffee.
To commemorate the opening of the inaugural Blue Bottle Studio, James Freeman will be in attendance at the Kyoto cafe, where he will be leading talks in the Studio space. Taking place March 31st through April 2nd, Freeman’s Coffee Talks have already sold out, but reservations are still available for the standard Studio experience, which began earlier this week.
Seats for the Blue Bottle Studio are available by reservation for 8,250 JPY ($63 USD). For more information, visit Blue Bottle Japan’s official website.
Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.