If finding things in Japan wasn’t already hard enough, add the rarity of third wave shops into the mix and you’re on a quest for Nemo. So when my friend Natsuko saw this coffee bar and said, “That place is expensive”, I wasted little time.
We found Cafe Cereza on the outskirts of a busy shopping district in Nagoya. The exterior, brightly lit, and beautifully simple, is contrasted nicely by a dimly lit interior. The interior, dark enough to be candle lit, transformed our friendly coffee into a fancy first date.
The decor might be described as minimalist, modern-jazzy. Paintings, retro-esque table lamps, and dark hardwood. Shelves of expensive porcelain line the walls behind the bar, and at each table lies a rose, sugar, and a sculpture.
We were seated, given warm hand towels, two beautifully chiseled crystal glasses with water, and a menu. The menu: all Kanji.
Thankfully, Natsuko, my friend date could understand it. The menu featured a Colombian, El Salvador, Blue Mountain Coffee, Kiyagichima AA ( give or take a few letters.. ), Guatemalan, Brazil Santos, and to my dismay no African coffees . Each coffee had a fair bit of information about origin, flavour profiles, and staff comments, proved Natsuko.
We ordered the El Salvador, which according to the description is their most popular. I was curious as to what type of brewing method they’d use, and it turned out to be a pour over. As we sipped water out of glasses only mothers might use on special occasion, we were brought coffee grounds, to smell the aromas. Nice touch, I thought.
When the coffee arrived, our excitement to taste it vanished as we were in awe by the porcelain we’d been given. Gold finished, beautifully hand carved, suit for a king and queen if I must say. Natsuko’s spoon was branded with Rolex, apparently they make spoons too, go figure.
The coffee was a classic El Salvador: dark, chocolaty, and full-bodied. I quite enjoyed it, and it tasted even better in that atmosphere, drinking out of that cup.
The El Salvador rang in at 800 Yen each, which for Canadian’s is roughly $9 a cup. Our bill was 1600 Yen, not cheap, but worth it. It’s nice to see coffee being served in an upscale environment, given as much respect and attention as a martini or wine bar might get. And it does wonders for some of the publics general mantra, “Coffee is coffee”.
For those trying to go there, I won’t try directing as the roads in Japan don’t quite make sense. However, it’s located in Nagoya and called Cafe Cereza. Say this, and you might get close, “Cafe Cereza wa doko dess ka?”