In the early 2000’s, W. James Freeman founded Blue Bottle Coffee in Oakland, California. The name was inspired by one of Europe’s first cafe, The Blue Bottle Coffee House.
Freeman’s original intention for Blue Bottle Coffee was to roast coffee in small batches and sell it within 24 hours of roasting and deliver it to homes.
The company would eventually become a cafe and opened locations in the San Francisco Bay area and then in New York in 2010.
By 2012, Blue Bottle Coffee received $20 million in venture capital investment and raised another $25.75 million in January 2014. The company continued to do well in raising more money and by the next year, Blue Bottle completed a venture capital round and raised $70+ million from investors led by Fidelity and have grown to have 29 stores. Having raised $120 million from investors, in Sept. 2017, Nestle S.A. acquired a majority stake in the company and the company set its sight of opening 50 cafes by the end of 2017.
I recently visited the Blue Bottle Coffee in Aoyama near various boutiques in an area known as Tokyo’s Champs-Elysees. And the cafe is located above CABANE de ZUCCA.
There are currently a total of seven Blue Bottle Coffee cafes in Tokyo.
Upon walking inside, you start to realize how popular the area is, because it’s constantly packed full of people. And you can see a lot of the merchandise throughout the cafe.
The customer service was great as it was early evening and I can’t have anything too dark or full of caffeine, because I would be up awake late until the early morning.
I went with the latte with almond milk instead of the usual Au Lait. Au Lait is great as it’s coffee with some milk, but I need the Latte which is less coffee and more milk. In this case, I went with the almond milk, which works for me.
The Latte was good but part of me really wanting the Au Lait because I enjoy Blue Bottle Coffee Au Lait’s back in the U.S. but I’m not sure if I shared this before on the blog but when I drink coffee (and I drink a lot), I tend to have a stopping point which is around 1:00 p.m. Why is that? It’s unusual and I’m not sure if this happens to anyone else, but if I drink coffee in the afternoon, the caffeine does not hit me an hour later or a few hours later, it will always hit me 12 hours later. Don’t ask me why but it just happens.
So, if I drink coffee around 2 p.m., I would go to sleep around midnight and at 2:00 a.m., the caffeine kicks in.
I know my limits when it comes to drink coffee late but I love coffee and because I was on my own coffee tour in Japan, many times I drunk coffee at night and I trust the barista’ s recommendation. In this case, I told them how I needed coffee that was light on caffeine and they recommended the latte but also recommended it with almond milk.
The overall customers service was good, it didn’t take too long to get my coffee and for the most part, the whole cafe was clean. I didn’t try any of the food offerings but have heard that they serve different food than what people would find in the United States.
It’s also important to note that there were no long lines when I went in the early evening.
For the most part, I loved the overall look inside and it was a hip place to be. Well, almost all Blue Bottle Cafe’s look nice but in Tokyo, I liked the overall vibe of this Aoyama location.
But it was great to visit Blue Bottle Cafe Aoyama Cafe, not far from Omotesando and Commune 2nd. But most of all, to finally try a Blue Bottle Coffee location outside of the United States.