Hemingway once wrote, “Coffee is good for you, it’s the caffeine in it”. As a self-professed caffeine addict, I’m inclined to agree. I am the sort of individual who, in the morning, can not even begin to contort myself into any kind of personable or even functioning human being without a hit of caffeine. After living in Miyazaki for over a year, only recently have I started to discover, to my surprise, that there’s a little bit of an artisan coffee scene brewing (apologies for the pun… it’s the only one, promise) in this small semi-rural city. So, if you’re looking for something a little more authentic, and a little less ‘blended-frappuccino-whipped-cream-topped-mocha-latte’ you’ve come to the right blog post.
This Saturday (September 30th), Miyazaki city will hold its first ever coffee festival – aptly named Miyazaki Coffee Festival – in Florante Miyazaki. This event is a crowdfunded venture organised by the same people who created the Miyazaki Coffee Map which details some of Miyazaki’s best independent coffee shops.
1. Renshiro Coffee
Let’s start with Renshiro Coffee (恋史郎コーヒー ) Located just off Wakakusa Street, this small but bright cafe is known for its broad selection of specialty beans. Renshiro serves cold brew and drip coffee, two styles that are ubiquitous with Japanese coffee culture. However, they also have a range of milk and espresso drinks, ranked on their menu from ‘coffee’ to ‘milky’, their macchiato alone is worth a visit. Early birds can get 100 yen off their brew before midday, or 100 yen off your second cup ordered after noon. Renshiro often hosts a wide range of workshops from mastering the art of drip coffee to refining your ukulele skills, check out their Facebook page for more information.
2. Actors Square Coffee
Some of you may already know Actors Square Coffee, a popular local haunt for city ALTs and locals alike. Actors Square Coffee is one of those cafes where you can slip discreetly into a dimly lit corner to work away on your laptop or grab a long table and some cocktails with a group of friends. ASC has an extensive range of coffees, tea, and alcoholic beverages that include a range of import beers. Acclaimed for their latte art, they have recently hosted The Miyazaki Latte Art Competition. Like Renshiro Coffee, Actors Square hosts a variety of events including a weekly English chat group and their First Friday events, which feature live music from local performers. Check out their Facebook page for upcoming events.
3. 6zi Coffee Shop
Next up is 6zi Coffee Shop, located on Tachibana street. This small, intimate establishment specialises in drip coffee. The chalkboard menu behind the wooden counter lists three main options – ‘Blend’, ‘Columbia’, ‘Guatemala’. At 6zi, simplicity is key and they have drip coffee down to an art form. They also serve cocktails, beer, and some pretty refreshing juices and sodas like their homemade lemon squash. Pull up a chair at the bar, have a chat with the owner and experience drip coffee done right.
4. Kimama Books
Away from Miyazaki’s main shopping streets there are plenty of hidden gems tucked away, such as Kimama Books. Combining the three pillars of life itself; coffee, art and books, Kimama is a second hand book store/cafe that also holds workshops and exhibitions and offers workshop space to the creatives of Miyazaki. Here you will find some pretty unique novels and magazines, with a modest array of English publications too. Peruse the collection of printed works while sipping on a cup of freshly brewed jo. It’s also conveniently located just around the corner from Miyazaki’s Prefectural Office.
5. Flat Chill Coffee Stand
From the rusting tin sign for Ford motor parts and the vintage leather jacket that adorn the walls to the magazine stand packed with biker magazines, Flat Chill Coffee Stand is definitely owned by a through and through motorhead. You can see the owner’s personality in the smatterings of realia dotted around, which is something that defines these kinds of cafes from your average chain store. Despite my description, this isn’t an over the top homage to Easy Rider or Americana, rather FCCS has a relaxed beach retro vibe. I almost forgot to mention, they also sell coffee. FCCS has a range of blends to choose from for their drip coffees and they also serve an array of milk coffees, toasted sandwiches, and baked goods. They even have an ice cream menu including affogato. This place definitely lives up to its name as it’s the perfect place to flat out chill.
6. The Rosa Coffee
Last but by no means least is The Rosa Coffee. Blink and you might miss it, this cafe has no name written above it’s door, and as we all know, places with no signage are the places to be. Bright with a pared back interior, Rosa reflects the minimalist style of Copenhagen’s coffee shops. They offer some unique beverages too, including a brown sugar latte and an ‘Atu Hiya’, an intriguingly named layered ice coffee. What I like about The Rosa Coffee is that they have an infographic on their menu that breaks down what’s in each coffee, so fear not if you don’t know an espresso from a doppio, this place makes it easy. Most impressively, Rosa Coffee takes a keen interest in the farmers behind their finished product, and provide a bio for each farm on their website. This ethically minded cafe is a must visit for anyone looking for high quality, sustainably sourced coffee.
So, after all that I hope you’re as buzzin (last pun, I lied) as I am to check out Miyazaki’s amazing coffee shops. The cafes above are all featured on the Miyazaki Coffee Map and will be making an appearance at this weekend’s Miyazaki Coffee Festival. So get out there and explore! Better latte than never! (ok, that was the last one, really).