Japan’s Iconic Omotesando Koffee To Open Very Soon In Manila
Here's the info on the Manila location, opening date, and why the brand has a cult following
Coffee loving Manileños, rejoice! Japan’s iconic Omotesando Koffee will be opening at Power Plant Mall this coming August. Just a few more weeks till we get the chance to experience one of the most unique coffee experiences in the world. The brand will be brought in by H&F Retail Concepts, the group behind the luxury brands Homme et Femme, Balenciaga, Univers, Comme des Garcons, and Fred Perry.
Omotesando Koffee first opened as a modest cafe in an old tatami house in the backstreets of Omotesando Hills, Tokyo. From the start, it had all the elements of a hidden gem: the access through a concealed doorway, the disciplined minimalist bar design, the lone barista/coffee sensei. This was founder Etichi Kumimoto, a man who seemed to draw inspiration from the Japanese tea ceremony in his approach towards coffee. Omotesando Koffee became a singular place for people to experience the "ritual and presence" of coffee. It didn't hurt that the café enjoyed proximity to an 80-year-old Japanese gardens where the foliage "changed color with the seasons."
Kumimoto's coffee artistry and precision soon inspired a cult following that never wavered, even after the original Omotesando Koffee was forced to close due to safety concerns about the aging building that housed it. That was in 2015. One year later, Omotesando Koffee opened in Hong Kong, soon followed by branches in Singapore, London and other key cities around the world. In Japan, a sister company opened in Shibuya under the name Koffee Mameya.
In an interview with Tatler Hong Kong, Kumimoto explained that the secret to good coffee lay in three key elements: the beans, the roasting technique, and the skill of the barista. To this, he added, the barista had to hone a relationship with every single guest. It was necessary to "build friendships, learn from different cultures, and keep in touch with people." Kumimoto embodies this ethos perfectly. In his original cafe, he would serve up to 400 people a day and would be so engaged with his customers that he could still remember what orders they had placed in their previous visits.
This passion and a disciplined pared-to-the-essentials approach to the coffee experience will be in Manila soon. We’ve been low key watching out for this ever since the Omotesando Koffee Instagram account added “Manila” to its list of locations. At first, March was the date-of-launch, but the month came and went without news.
Yesterday, David Ong, owner and head barista at The Curator and EDSA Beverage Design Group, posted on his IG: "Well, the cat’s been out of the bag for a while now.... This is just formalizing it further. The opening of the first branch is fast approaching, and we’re helping out a little bit."
In addition to the Power Plant branch, two more branches will be set up in Manila later in the year. For more information, see @omotesando.koffee on Instagram.
Lead photo: The Omotesando Koffee branch in Hong Kong, (IG: @omotesando.koffee)