The Roastery by Nozy

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Nozy is, at least in my humble opinion, the standard for Tokyo Coffee and the local institution to beat. It is a pinnacle of quality and sophistication, leading the way for artisan coffee’s global domination.

The Roastery is a gem. From the design aesthetics to the “American” style cappuccino, the folks at Nozy know how to produce incredible products. Not to perpetuate stereotypes of unoriginality (which I highly contest as a scholar, such views are inherently problematic and short-sighted), Nozy emulates certain aspects of American third-wave incredibly well. The space is bustling, atmosphere soothing, machines familiar, and energy is decidedly young and driven. People love being there. It reminded me of home. That’s a good thing.

The Roastery is nestled in a little corner of Cat Street, an ultra hip strip connecting Shinbuya and Harajuku. Suffice it to say, this place fits perfectly with the local vibe.

Many things about the store were familiar but Nozy definitely has its own character. The bar in the center takes up the majority of the retail space and creates an intimate environment, encouraging interaction between baristas and patrons. These kinds of deliberate design choices are a sign of care and thoughtful consideration of store atmosphere. Overall the Roastery feels very welcoming which is refreshing.

Quality is second to none locally. Tokyo has a vibrant and emerging coffee culture. Institutions like Streamer and international pop-ups like Blue Bottle are already turning Tokyo-ites onto artisan coffee and away from Boss/Georgia/Wonda one-shots (which have their time and place), creating a fantastic new food subculture. I love that a domestic upstart brand like Nozy is setting a standard for quality. My cap was velvety and the espresso was a heartier blend that brought me back to the pre-single origin days. Presentation was top-notch and my barista was the perfect balance of friendly and professional. Bottom line, the quality is excellent.

So what makes it special? There is a lot to like and a lot that is familiar and perhaps that is the point. Nozy focuses on doing things right and producing the best beans for a domestic market that needs more high-quality roasters. It is new(ish) to Tokyo and could easily become a hub for expats. While I sensed myself being overly critical of the sameness during my visit, it is important to consider that artisan coffee is still growing in Japan. Many shops in the US are direct copies of others. To assume emerging brands must be “Japanese” and totally unique is presumptuous. I would simply ask, what does that mean? Do you mean preparation, technique, tastes? What is “Japanese”? Get out of Tokyo and I will ask you again.

Nozy is a Japanese brand sourcing what have become truly global practices to make amazing coffee. Nozy is a tremendous sign of the multicultural cosmopolitanism emerging in urban Tokyo and I am excited for the future.

I liked:

  • Aesthetic and the neighborhood
  • Central sitting bar
  • The nostalgia/familiarity of the space

The Roastery by Nozy

Japan, 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya, 神宮前5−17−13

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