Unlimited Coffee: A Love Story

Unlimited Coffee Bar sits in the shadow of the Tokyo Skytree, the worlds tallest tower and Japan’s highest structure. The owners, Rena Hirai and Daichi Matsubara are in love with coffee and each other. They met as judges at the Japan Barista Championships, and bonded over a mutual passion for coffee. Not long after meeting the two were married. Their union led to the creation of Unlimited Coffee, an organization dedicated to improving coffee in Japan and cultivating professional baristas.

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Unlimited Coffee has three arms: Unlimited Coffee Roasters, Unlimited Coffee Bar, and Barista Training Lab. Barista Training Lab is a training center that teaches everything from coffee basics to competition preparation. Unlimited Coffee Bar is a cafe where you can see and taste the coffee techniques studied at BTL in action. Unlimited Coffee Roasters roasts the coffee for both the cafe and the lab. These three parts of Unlimited Coffee work together in harmony.

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Barista Coffee Lab trains coffeemakers to properly prepare drinks, present them to customers, and gives baristas the confidence and knowledge to talk about the coffee they are working with. Much of the methodology is based on the presentations of baristas at barista competitions. Both Hirai and Matsubara are certified judges, and have worked at a number of contests. Adding to these credentials, Matsubara was a judge in the final round of the World Barista Championships in 2015. Thanks to these experiences they’ve seen hundreds of professional baristas present their best work. Their aim at BTL is to take the best parts of a competition presentation and put it into practice. Recently they added SCAA certification to their course offerings.

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The knowledge and methods learned at BTL can be seen in practice at Unlimited Coffee Bar. The barista who takes your order prepares your drink. They are trained to talk about their coffee offerings in a digestible way, letting their customer know where each coffee comes from, what it tastes like, and how it will be prepared. The coffee is presented to the customer at their seat—even lattes are poured in front of the customer at their table.

Matsubara says, “We aim to have a shop where presentation and cafe intersect. If you can’t recreate a competition presentation for your customer, then there is no meaning behind it. We want to prepare all of our coffee as much in the open and in front of the customer as possible.”

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In addition to well-prepared coffee drinks, Unlimited Coffee Bar also offers a number of creative coffee cocktails. Two of their baristas were competing finalists in the Japan Coffee in Good Spirits Championships, and have thought up a number of amazing cocktail combinations featuring expertly prepared coffee and alcohol. Virgin cocktails are also available, like the refreshing Cold Brew, Tonic & Orange.

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The specialty coffee industry is expanding quickly and with this growth comes a variety of levels of quality, customer service, and creativity. In the rush to jump on this trend a lot can be lost. Unlimited Coffee hopes to help cultivate this wave of new coffee, offering tools and knowledge to baristas as well as the example of top-rate service at their own shop.

A love for coffee brought Hirai and Matsubara together. They see unlimited potential in the future of coffee. The joy they get from sharing that passion with others is palpable. At Unlimited Coffee we can all be part of their love story.

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Daichi Matsubara & Rena Hirai of Unlimited Coffee

Unlimited Coffee Bar/Barista Training Lab is located at 1-18-2 Sumida-ku, Narihira, Tokyo

Tue-Fri:
11:00 am – 12:00 am
Sat:
9:00 am – 12:00 am
Sun:
9:00 am – 10:00 pm
Mon:
Closed
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