A little walk aways from Millpour we found this stangely situated, but friendly looking joint Lilo Coffee Roasters. Walking inside for a stop on our way to Dotonburi, we began to notice a wealth of all things coffee. There were cold brew drippers on the side, many origins behind the counter and on the menu, small take away one use bags with filters for V60 and of course a 1kg coffee roaster tucked on the end of the counter. Taking a seat by the window we began looking over the menu.
Besides the healthy list of origins, there was some slick type print on the menu with a somewhat fun cartoonish feel to it. When we noticed the the company mascot, a cheery faced fella with a moustache/goatee combo, wait haven’t I see this guy before? Turning to face the counter, we saw the very same face smiling back at us with his thumb up. Lilo it seems was the owner, the barista, the roaster and all round cheery faced proprietor of Lilo’s coffee roasters (actually his name was Keita, but I didn’t know that at the time and he wasn’t the owner either). Getting up I headed to the counter to order.
Feeling in a Panama mood, after the one I’d had at Takamura, I ordered the same here this time on V60, to which Lilo(Keita) replied that this was a darker roast, that was ok I was interested to try that as a combination. We sat back down, I liked this place, it was like one mans dream to work with coffee, performing all the roles of the coffee shop as one man (there’s a whole team behind Lilo). I sat there thinking that if I ran a coffee shop I’d want it to be like this place and I’d be lucky if I was as happy as the guy behind the counter. All around the place there were earmarks of personality, from the art on the walls to the small touches of decor, but the most noticeable thing was the key catchphrase.
My cup arrived with a message as important as its contents, something I couldn’t help but agree with ‘Life is short, surround yourself with good people and only drink good coffee’, some all round sound advice I thought, as aromas of cherry blossom and sugared cream rose up from the cup. To taste it was noticeably well balanced and well rounded with a slightly darker roast flavour of mildly acidic blood orange and a shortbread or cakey note on the finish. I sat there sipping on its creamy mouthfeel impressed at the quality of a coffee coming from an old 1kg coffee roaster that sat on the edge of the counter. Drinking the last sips of my coffe we got up to leave and expressed how much we liked the place before heading to the door and being escorted out by Lilo, we were starting to appreciate that in Japan this was a common custom designed to show endearment and respect, the kind of cross between service and appreciation that you’re unlikely to receive anywhere else, nice touch.
Chuo-ku, Osaka Nishi-Shinsaibashi 1-10-28
Formerly Steamer Espresso before it closed, Giracha filled the vacant space bringing quality espresso back to the neighbourhood along with its own particular passion for bikes and cycling. Not particularly excited by bikes myself, I was more enamoured with their baby faced mascot that adorned everything from their street sign to tshirts and other various mechandise. We stepped inside on our final stop before Dotonburi.
Wall to wall with bikes and eccentric items, we ordered an espresso to have in, while we wandered about the place picking up and observing odd items that they sold. The place was like a cross between a bike shop, a coffee shop, an independant store and a convenience store. I suppose if someone has already struggled selling just coffee diversifying isn’t the worst idea.
The espresso arrived with aromas of caramel and biscuit before opening up with a sweet maple syrup flavour that led into caramel biscuits with a big chocolate finish, classic espresso. Enjoying the novelty we wandered round a little more before saying goodbye and heading for the flashing lights of Dotonburi.
1 550 0015, 1 Chome-21-9 Minamihorie, Nishi Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 550-0015, Japan
Waking up the next morning it was time to leave for Kyoto, so we packed up our stuff and headed for the station. Fortunately we still had enough time for one last Osakan coffee before we left. Walking a short way from the hotel in the direction of the station we popped in to Elmer’s Green. Occupying the street side entrance of a department store featuring some high quality clothing brands, we made our way in and took a seat at one of their wooden tables.
Walking along the counter, you can smell all the beans they have on offer before ordering and choose the one you want as a brewed coffee. All the roasts were quite dark on the offerings they had for brewed, so, curious I thought I would try what I suspected would be the most acidic, choosing the Tanzania AA Kilicafe on V60.
Coffees ordered we sat in the clean white serene environment of Elmer’s Green discussing Osaka and how we felt about the city and to be honest we were sad to leave. In retrospect two of my three favourite cafes had come from Osaka and in comparison to Tokyo it felt like the north of England feels in comparison to London, providing a quality all of its own. I mostly enjoyed the balance here, there was something that suggested they’d incorporated all the aspects of life well here without necessarily having to combine them all.
Philosophical meditations aside, the coffee arrived with aromas of molasses and florals with a cakey citrus and marzipan tone. To taste it began with an atypical coffee flavour, but as it cooled it revealed soft citrus and sweet marzipan alongside some notes of black tea.
Elmer’s Green was a nice place to finish, functional cafe, relaxed coffee spot, offering food and coffee, but also a chilled and relaxed atmosphere. Still it was time to leave, we had a train to catch, to see what coffee delights awaited us in Kyoto.
541-0043 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo Ward, Koraibashi, 1 Chome−7−3