Lilo Coffee Roasters in Osaka, Japan; a cold brew coffee destination.
When you think of Japan, the things that first come to mind are probably Sushi, Samurai and Bonzai tree’s. For a long time the same applied to me, but no longer. Last week I went to Lilo Coffee Roasters in Osaka; an industrial harbour city somewhere halfway the eastern coastline of Japan. In the past years I have visited Osaka frequently because I have a cousin who lives there and it is always fun to meet up and chat over a cup of coffee.
LILO COFFEE ROASTERS.
This time I would be visiting my cousin once again but before going there, there was a coffee hotspot I just needed to discover for myself: LiLo Coffee Roasters.
UMEDA, SUBWAY AND NARROW STREETS.
After 10 hours of flying through the night and 2.5 hours of sleep I dregged myself out of bed once again. A dejavue hit me as this is an often recurring routine when flying to the far east. With 7 hours of time-difference I felt like a zombie, but I needed to visit this place and rising up early was necessary if I wanted to visit my cousin as well.
Unlike the other day in Hong Kong, Osaka was kind of laid back today. Everybody was still at work and the pleasant 23 degrees and clear sunny skies made it a perfect day to sit inside a small, cramped up but cozy shop to drink coffee…
First stop: Umeda station. This huge station has gotten me lost more than once but by now I know how to find my way through the shops, restaurants and bars. After 10 minutes by subway, I arrived at Shinsaibashi; een super-long shopping street with loads of restaurants and bars as well. It was here in the vincinity of that shopping street, that the hotspot I was looking for was located. The walk to Lilo Coffee Roasters should have been a piece of cake, but I used Google Maps and it got me literally all over the place (not so accurate when traversing the narrow alleys and streets of Osaka). When I finally found the place, I noticed I had passed the shop 2 times already. Lilo Coffee roasters was so small and narrow that I couldn’t blame it on Google Maps no more. Never mind, I arrived!
A MICRO-COSMOS OF COFFEE.
When entering the little shop it felt like entering a micro-cosmos of coffee. Two rows of barstools on each side of the shop, a small bar with a cash register, a wall stacked with fresh roasted beans from all over the world and artwork all dedicated to Lilo Coffee Roasters. Keita Nakamura, the barista in charge, welcomed me with a friendly smile and broken English while the local customers all looked up at this European tourist entering the establishment.
Since I was in Japan, I had to taste the famous cold brew coffee. A brewing-technique dating back to the 1600’s. The Dutch merchants brewed in a way so that they could take the coffee along on their voyages by ship. Months traveling over sea without a cup of coffee was to much even for hardened Dutch merchants. The Japanese, intrigued by this method, adapted and modified the proces and started to brew the coffee drop-by-drop instead of at once. Over the years the technique was perfected and by now the brewing proces can take up from 6 to 24 hours and will extract flavours from the beans you normally wouldn’t get. To master this technique one would need to take a course and practice hours on end to get it right.
MY THIRD COFFEEGASM.
Before long Keita and employee Miho were pouring in a cold brew which brewed for 8 hours straight on the Dominican single origin bean ‘Alfredo Diaz’. This bean is know for its complexity and balance of flavours. Flavours of strawberry and dark chocolate exploded in my mouth. My mind raced and my senses went balistic. I am not exaggerating when I say I got truly happy. For the third time in my life, I had a coffeegasm! My eyes searched for Keita’s and the single nod he gave me said it all: Welcome to the land of cold brew coffee!