Best Tokyo Coffee: Café de l'Ambre

One of the oldest coffee shops in Ginza

By Alexandra Dorovici    - 3 min read

Have you ever wished to travel in time while sipping perfectly roasted coffee? Tokyo has the perfect place to fulfill your dreams.

Welcome to Café De L'Ambre, a traditional kissaten (coffee shop) hidden in the busy streets of Ginza. It is actually the oldest coffee shop in the area and holds solid reputation for brewing the most outstanding blends.

Past the small wooden door, you are immediately thrown back into the last century. Café De L'Ambre opened in 1948 and kept most of its original furniture as well as a sacred passion for preparing and serving delectable coffee. The kissaten itself is very small, but feels extremely authentic. The dark wooden tables and heavy bar seem to have been there for centuries, and they are illuminated by a a beautiful stained glass lamp, especially crafted for Café L'Ambre. French poems are hanging on the walls in golden frames. The atmosphere is completely surreal, but nothing seems fake: the shop feels like history.

The menu is a clever mix of French and Japanese. There is a rich selection of the most peculiar blends, such as coffee with cognac or even with champagne. You can notice that the shop specializes in coffee and serves nothing else. The cups cost an average of 800¥, which is more expensive than an average coffee chain, but definitely good for coffee of the finest quality. Some blends are more than 30 years old ! It's easy to get lost in the process of choosing the cup of your dreams, so ask the barista about any blend you would like to order, he would be more than happy to give you special recommendations. 

The staff looks extremely dedicated to their work and seem to work on each cup as if it were a piece of art. You can clearly see that they all profoundly love coffee and wish to share their love with their customers. The process of preparing each cup can indeed be visible to anyone sitting at the bar, which I strongly recommend. From the dark polished counter, you can watch them meticulously prepare each cup and pour the boiling water with careful attention over a filter full of freshly brewed coffee. 

Did you ever attend a coffee tasting session? This is the perfect time to show your coffee taster knowledge! To fully appreciate the bitter richness of the blends, I recommend that you quickly sip a little amount of coffee at first, then let it impregnate your mouth for a moment. Take your time to finish your cup, it would be a shame not to appreciate one of the best coffees around. 

I absolutely loved this coffee experience, which is the best I've had so far in Tokyo, and one of the best I've had at all. 

The coffee should be strong enough to give you a kick to fully enjoy the Ginza area and its luxurious shops, so why not finish the day by going out and having a walk around town? 

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Alexandra Dorovici

Alexandra Dorovici @alexandra.cd

French adventurer from Paris, I enjoy travelling the world and discovering the unique scents and tastes of each country.