The Déjà vu Experience
~ this cafe would be the house of mirrors in an amusement park ~
Retro Dim lights, turkish-blue paintwork, and the cat artwork/figures draw the eyes of the passer-by on the busy Keyaki street in Daimyo. There’s something about this place that mystifies the living daylights out of you. You might hesitate at first before quickly being overcome by curiosity and an eagerness to enter.
One step in and you have a flashback of memories. Have I been here before? What’s with the comforting feeling of being back home, of being in a familiar environment when it’s my first time here?
Call it weird. Or call it alien. Welcome to Kuronekoya Coffee, the place where magic happens and sparks fly.
The owner, roaster, and barista Takuo Yoshida opened Kuronekoya Coffee back in April of 2012 and has found a perfect balance between his love of jazz, coffee and cats at his cafe.
Cats, cats and more cats
~ need I say any more about cats? ~
In the west, particularly Europe and the US, black cats are generally thought to bring bad luck or misfortunes.
Well, that’s not the case in Japanese culture. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Cats usually symbolise prosperity and wealth, so miniature cat figures are often placed in front of stores and restaurants to attract customers.
Why are we talking about cats?
Kuroneko means ‘black cats’ in Japanese and this cafe showcases cats in the most unique way.
From cat figures to cat china, artwork, miniatures and so on. If you like cats, this place is going to be a treat.
For the average joe, I guess its a peculiar experience; but you’ll soon get used to it. Heck, you might start to believe that this cafe needs some cat-like elements.
Syphon Coffee that’ll blow your nose away
~ pun intended, but the syphon coffee is very fragrant and wonderful ~
As is the case with any roaster cafe, the coffee beans are always kept whole; only the required amount is ground up, ready to brew.
Yoshida-san prepares his coffee using a syphon. The syphon has been around for quite a while and is one of the symbols of the Kissaten 喫茶店 culture of Japan.
To put it simply, the syphon has two working parts. The beaker and the brewing chamber. Water is heated in the beaker until it reaches boiling point. The hot water rises up to the brewing chamber through a glass tube fitted with a flannel cloth. The coffee grinds in the chamber brews with the hot water for a few minutes, and then the coffee goes back into the beaker while the grounds are left behind on the flannel cloth.
It sounds a bit geeky but it’s pretty straightforward when you actually see the whole process.
I’d say that syphon coffee produces some of the most fragrant and aromatic coffee. The Déjà vu blend, based around Mocha, is quite amazing. I always get the fresh and wonderfully sweet aroma of berries. Another aspect I really like about the syphon is the velvety, silky-smooth texture of coffee you get.
A Lifelong Association With Coffee
Yoshida-san told me that he roasts his coffee using a small roaster. Only large enough to roast 700 grams (about 1.5lb) at a time. This means that he has to roast quite often; when you multiply the frequency with the years he’s been running the cafe, his experience is immense.
And that’s not all.
His father used to run a roaster cafe in Kyoto, and he would help his father with the business. Being the second-generation of roaster cafe owners, coffee is pretty much second-nature to Yoshida-san.
He has five blends which are based around a certain area – Mocha, Colombia, Costa Rica, Tanzania and Mandheling – and brings out the characteristics and potentials very effectively. You’ll most likely find the best blend for your taste buds. He also serves single-origin coffee if you’re looking for some more adventure.
Live Jazz Concerts
Oh yes, jazz concerts are held once or twice a month. It’s always a pleasure to listen to some live jazz and enjoy the amazing atmosphere at Kuronekoya Coffee.
There’re several bands that play at Kuronekoya Coffee and one band I really like in particular is the Black Cat Republic.
Sitting at the cafe and listening to some live jazz with a cup of coffee. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Whether you’re looking for coffee, cats or jazz, this place has it all.
And most of all, the very magical and soothing atmosphere is enough to heal your soul and mind. I sometimes seem to let my mind wander around here.
Yoshida-san told me that he wanted to create a déjà vu atmosphere at Kuronekoya Coffee, and I certainly think he’s achieved that.
When visiting Daimyo in Fukuoka, drop by Kuronekoya Coffee for some amazing and memorable experiences. Trust me, you’ll have a wonderful time.
Address: 1-5-5 Daimyo Chuo-ku Fukuoka City Fukuoka
Open hours: 11:00 ~ 20:00 (closed on Tuesdays)
What you should try the first time: The Déjà vu blend together with desserts (Tiramisu, Cheese cake )
What I plan on having the next time: The Mezame Blend ( which consists mainly of Sumatra, a rather earthy coffee ) + Gateau Chocolat