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If you exist on the internet in 2024—and particularly if you do so while enjoying food—it’s quite like you’ve come across the term omakase. It is deeply rooted in the Japanese cuisine, with roots in the multi-course culinary artistry of traditional kaiseki. Today omakase is most often used in reference to high-end sushi, where the term means literally, “I leave the selection up to you.” But this concept has not made sushi its final stopping point, and the idea and structure of omakaase has found its way into various curated culinary experiences, highly-popularized in today’s gastronomic world.

Perhaps it was only a matter of time before omakase fused with coffee, and today the city of Tokyo is home to several ambitious, thought-provoking coffee services employing this model. At a coffee omakase experience, skilled baristas artfully lead curated coffee tastings with careful consideration given to every choice. Intricate differences in roast, blend, origin, and countless other factors are highlighted through the balance and contrast of selected coffees. Thoughtful interior design, use of artful ceramics, and even the clothing worn by your barista contributes to this experience.

These three Tokyo-based coffee omakase courses are emblematic of the modern moment in Japanese coffee culture, where the culinary possibilities of coffee are being pushed and innovated in challenging, exciting ways. These experiences are exclusive, expensive, require reservations made well in advance—and just might change the way you think about coffee forever

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Koffee Mameya Kakeru

An undeniable giant in Tokyo’s coffee scene is Koffee Mameya Kakeru, creator of immersive and innovative coffee experiences. The Koffee Mameya brand has several branches in Tokyo and beyond, but the Kiyosumi-Shirakawa location is the exclusive home of Mameya’s Kakeru omakase experience. Lying east of the famous Sumida River and away from the hustle of the central city, this artistic neighborhood boasts a high concentration of innovative cafes and roasters.

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In Japanese, “kakeru” means “to multiply,” and this serves as the thematic core to this experience, which neatly splits the expectations of omakase with a focus on education. The coffee omakase experience currently offers three different courses, starting at 5,000 JPY ($35 USD). Surrounded by the sleek interior and guided directly by a professional barista, guests can delight in sampling a range of roasts, prepared as cold brew, pour-over, and in a series of innovative cocktails and zero-proof signature drinks. Small treats are also provided during the course of the omakase experience.

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Reservations are required in advance. The space, the drinks, and the level of intentionality on display here are truly remarkable, and the influence of Coffee Mameya Kakeru cannot be overstated.

Koffee Mameya Kakeru is located at 2 Chome-16-14 Hirano, Koto City, Tokyo. Visit their official website and book an omakase here.

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Cokuun

Tucked away into a small Omotesando side street, Cokuun offers a coffee sampling that seamlessly balances upscale sophistication with focused attention. Additionally, with reservations required and a largely unmarked exterior, walk-ins or chance passersby’s are discouraged from wandering in unannounced; instead, Cokuun’s sparse four-seats available must be booked ahead to ensure an entirely personalized coffee omakase course.

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That precise attention to detail can be seen far before the first sip of coffee is even taken. With a sleek, meticulously curated interior more reminiscent of an exhibition space than a cafe, guests are immersed in a total sensory experience—from the refined visual anesthetics to the wafting scent of brew. This coffee omakase experience elevates coffee consumption to fine dining, equal parts presentation and performance, with an unwavering dedication to ingredient quality. Through the usage of Japanese ingredients, culinary heritage, and personal philosophy, Cokuun—and its team of expert baristas, including 2014 World Barista Champion Hide Izaki and three-time WBC Finalist and 2017 Runner-Up Miki Suzuki—construct a truly singular experience.

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According to Izaki, “Cokuun repositions coffee as an ingredient. Just like bartenders mixing cocktails, we blend coffee with seasonal ingredients of Japanese nature, to create a completely new coffee experience.” Hide’s world-renowned skills and professional mastery ensure that all creations on the menu speak in harmony to the experience as a whole. “Our omakase journey aims to unveil the intricacies of specialty coffee, not just through simple black coffee but also by presenting a multi-dimensional aspect with a sophisticated mocktail-making approach.” He likens this innovation with the signature drink preparation portion of the World Barista Championship, where craftsmanship combines with coffee creativity.

Cokuun’s concept is heavily based upon Japanese traditional tea ceremony, with elements artfully utilized in their culinary coffee narrative—specific tools, techniques, the pairing of drinks with light confections, and even the structure of the space itself all harken back towards these roots.

The ticketed 90-minute coffee course currently costs 16,500 JPY ($114 USD) per person and features a rotating menu, providing an innovative blend of flavors suited to each season.

Visit Cokuun’s official website and book an omakase here.

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Lonich

Newer to the Tokyo coffee scene but already drawing significant interest is Lonich, whose current flagship location in Kuramae boasts a handful of unique experiences that seek to diversify coffee offerings available in Tokyo. Aside from the omakase course, the company also offers home coffee subscriptions and specialty equipment for coffee-lovers looking to up their at-home brewing skills. With a concept that prioritizes the pursuit “of the best, not the biggest,” they’re targeted coffee connoisseurs from near and far, with an avid fanbase of Tokyo-based coffee lovers alongside international visitors.

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Lonich regularly offers around 20 different kinds of filtered coffee, primarily sourced from auctions all around the world, to deliver a fusion of global tastes to Tokyo customers. Tasting and explanation are divided cup by cup, providing ample time to savor each distinct note and flavor profile present before proceeding to the next. Currently, there are three different types of omakase coffee courses available: the Seasonal Omakase course, which features a variety of signature coffee beverages and a small selection of sweets tailed to suit seasonal themes; the Japanese-Chinese Ingredient Fusion course, which creatively infuses a multicultural mix of ingredients and provides both coffee and tea-based offerings; and the Gesha Collective course, which exclusively utilizes top-lot coffee selections and highlights selections from Latin American countries. Trained baristas then design a total sensory experience uniquely personalized to each guest’s preference.

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Advance reservations are required and currently, the Gesha Collective Course costs 8,500 JPY  ($59 USD) and lasts for 90 minutes. The price for the Creative course starts at 4,000 JPY ($28 USD), with the total cost dependent upon the precise ingredients used.

Lonich is located at 111-0051 Tokyo, Taito City, Kuramae, 1 Chome−7−4. Follow them on Instagram and book an omakase here.

Taylor Bond is a freelance journalist based in Tokyo. Read more Taylor Bond for Sprudge.

Photos provided by the cafes, used with permission

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