Coffee aficionado Teru Harase and his New Zealand-based wife Kim have found the perfect way to combine their Japanese and New Zealand cultures with iki Espresso, an Oceania-style café in the heart of the Kiyosumi Shirakawa district. Teru and Kim have been instrumental in the district’s reinvention as a coffee destination.
Located in a converted character warehouse, iki Espresso serves drip, filter, cold brew and espresso coffee alongside popular Oceania fare, such as gourmet pies, cinnamon brioche, and salmon toast. Everything is made from scratch, onsite, by skilled chefs who use quality ingredients. Initial curiosity from locals has turned into a loyal and ever-growing fanbase. Some customers visit twice a day – many for the almost legendary ricotta pancakes – and iki regularly welcomes guests from around the world.
“We’ve been really humbled by the positive feedback we’ve received about iki”, says Kim. “The community here loves the fact that Teru is bringing his extensive knowledge of New Zealand food and coffee back into his local neighbourhood.”
“New Zealand is far away and many Japanese don’t get the chance to visit. We want to offer them a taste of New Zealand in their own neighbourhood – and they just love it! Japan has a genuine appreciation for quality and they really enjoy the outstanding Kiwi produce,” says Kim.
Not ones to rest on their laurels, Teru and Kim have also just launched a Queenstown arm of the business, with a boutique accommodation venture, iki Lodge.
It’s a lifestyle that has long been a dream for the couple, who met in New Zealand 24 years ago. California-born Kim moved to New Zealand after 20 years in Sweden, enticed by the adventurous lifestyle, while Teru was in NZ to play rugby. Six months after meeting, they were married, embarking on a shared love affair with New Zealand coffee, cuisine and hospitality. When the Harase’s entered into a joint venture with Allpress Japan, Teru headed back to Tokyo. In 2015, he turned his focus to developing the iki Espresso concept which opened a year later, and now they regularly commute between Tokyo and Queenstown.
Kim and Teru are delighted with their lifestyle. “Iki combines our passion for New Zealand coffee and food with our love of Japan, and enables us to divide our time between our favourite destinations. We are living our dream with iki Espresso!
Penned by Kim Harase
iki Espresso Tokyo is located at: 2-2-12, Tokiwa, Koto-Ku, Tokyo, Japan
Open 7-days a week from 8AM-7PM