Totally see them to this day, Tom, but there has been a noticeable movement
towards more 'modern' extraction and preparation methods (though the show
and presentation is still very important in Japanese food/drink and life in
A large chain called Excelsior Cafe does an S-bucks impersonation, except
better - hand-pulled shots and the espresso blends are not burnt. The
Kansai region (includes Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe) has more coffee shops per
capita than metropolitan Tokyo and remains truer to tradition. More owner
establishments serving artisan coffee to be enjoyed in porcelain, sipped for
as long as it takes (not uncommon for patrons to stay an hour or two) vs.
pouring into paper or plastic for the take-out crowd.
It's in the quieter areas and side/back streets off main thoroughfares where
you will find the vac pots in primary action in Tokyo and other major
centers. A fair analogy is the mom & pop corner karaoke bar vs. the
multi-story Vegas-inspired ones. Also confirmed with my wife (Japanese
national) who worked just outside the main financial district, though she
always sought out quiet places for lunches and coffee, that vac pots are
alive and well.
Side item for pure trivia value - I'd wager that in Japan the most coffee,
measured by volume, is sold in cans (hot or cold - your choice) from vending
machines or convenience stores. This, despite the fact that the busiest
S-bucks on the planet is in Shibuya; so busy that they only serve one size
OK, back to my Yama experiments. Am trying to hit on the right amount of
coffee (and grind) to make only what's marked as the 3 line on the Yama
SY-5. Less than a full pot has to mean adding more coffee per cup of
water. The water remaining in the bottom prior to siphoning down is nearly
halfway to the 3.