It was about eleven o’clock on a sunny Saturday morning. A few friends and I were strolling the narrow streets of Ginowan city when we stumbled across what might just be the best Coffee shop in Okinawa. However, I must warn you that this place is not for the casual coffee drinker. Only a true coffee enthusiast will appreciate the craftsmanship and artistry that are found at Yamada Coffee.
No, you won’t find pumpkin spice lattes or oat milk frappuccinos. What you will find here is pour over. But, this is not your grandpa’s pour over. I’m talking about the most delicate yet complex cup of coffee that you might ever taste in your lifetime. Mr. Yamada (the barista, roaster, and owner) approaches each cup of coffee with the attention to detail and dedication to perfection that the Japanese have become known for in the culinary arts – and it shows.
Not only is Yamada Coffee home to the best pour over that I’ve had in my life, but Mr. Yamada is also serving up an experience that minimalists and coffee enthusiasts scour both instagram and Tumblr for. The space is small, but the clean lines and the simple menu make the place feel open and relaxing. Furthermore, the whole space is filled with the warm, chocolatey aroma of freshly roasted coffee. The walls are lined with simple plywood shelves which house interesting art pieces, and at the center of it all is Mr. Yamada surrounded by a counter lined with various pieces of glass, metal, and silicon – all of of which have their place in the brewing process.
After taking it all in, I went for a cup of the mellow roast. Mr. Yamada prepared the cup quickly, but he didn’t rush it. He wet the paper filter, allowed the beans to bloom, and used his gooseneck kettle to carefully manipulate the water as a master painter would manipulate oil on a canvas. The results were beautiful. The aroma that hit my nose had notes of chocolate, ripened strawberries, and a hint of lemongrass. The taste matched the aroma, with the addition of a natural sweetness from the coffee bean itself.
Some may be hesitant to spend five-hundred yen on a cup of coffee. To those who simply need a mid-morning pick-me-up, it might not be worth it. But, the mysterious Mr. Yamada and his growing fanbase seem to think the price is fair for what is being offered at this little shop in Ginowan. My opinion is that anybody who is interested in the emerging, third-wave coffee culture in Japan should visit Yamada Coffee at least once.
10am – 7pm
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