When it comes to food and drink, Fukuoka has some of the best Japan has to offer. The culture here is very supportive of the restaurant business, and many residents eat out more than they eat at home. The relatively small size of the city and the compactness of everything supports local businesses and allows them to thrive. When I visited Fukuoka, I got my hands on a magazine that listed the best local coffee shops in the area, and I spent my time there going to as many of these cafes as I could. It was amazing. So amazing that I want to share with you five of my favorite coffee shops in Fukuoka with the hope that you too will visit them and be blown away. Please keep in mind that this top-five list is based upon my opinion, and that the order I have chosen to present these cafes is in no way meant to rank them. So, here we go: Five of Fukuoka’s Best Coffee Shops.
1. NO COFFEE
NO COFFEE is located about ten minutes from Yakuin station, but every day many people gladly take the time to visit this fashionable cafe. The combination of the simple monotone-grey interior and the decorations provides the perfect atmosphere for an Instagram picture. There is a limited amount of seats and the shop is rather small, yet it has a fun and exciting atmosphere you can feel the second you walk through the door. NO COFFEE’s store concept is “life with good coffee”, a standard that every one of their drinks exceeds. This cafe creates and values connections with other industries, and regularly collaborates with stores around the country to sell high quality foods and products.
The owner originally worked in the apparel industry, and has combined his love for fashion with this cafe. Shelves lined with original merchandise greet you when you enter: hats, shirts, bags, iPhone cases, coffee mugs, and much more. In the thirty minutes I was at this cafe three customers came just to buy these products, each imprinted with the cafe’s name in a simple and stylistic font. These products are also available online. I highly recommend this cafe for anyone who likes a good photo atmosphere, a good (and sometimes unique) cup of coffee, and fashionable merchandise perfect for both yourself and your coffee-loving friends.
2. FUK COFFEE
FUK COFFEE’s name is derived from the abbreviation used for the Fukuoka Airport. As the name suggests, the theme of this chic cafe is travel, airports and airplanes. A battered suitcase covered in stickers stands on display by the door, sparking your desire to travel. Even the latte art for some of their drinks (not all) is airplane themed. Inside the few circular tables by the window and the benches against the wall provide a wonderful seat to have a short break or enjoy some time alone. Like NO COFFEE, both of these cafe’s aren't necessarily ideal for long stays, but the good atmosphere and great coffee should have you refreshed and ready to continue on with your day in no time.
The menu always offers a constantly changing limited-time sweet beverage, so you can enjoy different drinks each time you visit. The combinations and toppings are unique, interesting, and delicious. This cafe also sells a variety of cute and fashionable merchandise, my favorite of these being a T-shirt with a drawing of the suitcase on display outside on it. Enjoy a cup of coffee or a sweet beverage, take a breather, and pick up a souvenir or gift from your time in Fukuoka at FUK COFEE!
3. Coffee Roasters Aroma Cafe
Opened in June of 2018, Aroma Cafe is a peaceful haven in an area of Fukuoka known for its many bars and upbeat nightlife. The tables are spaced out well and give you some room to breathe, the interior simple and uncluttered, and the overall atmosphere makes this café a perfect place to drop by after a long and tiring day. The coffee is home roasted with care, and Aroma Cafe offers a nice selection of beans that you can chose from to match your mood. If you’re feeling like something besides coffee, you can choose from a wide variety of other beverages including alcohol. There is a bar counter as well. If you’re craving a snack, I recommend you order their most popular menu item: “coffee tiramisu toast”. Rather than using a loaf of bread, this treat is served on crispy french toast. Sound good? It is! It’s tasty but not too sweet: a perfect match for a cup of black coffee. Aroma Cafe is a lovely place to visit at any time of day, but I recommend taking advantage of it’s late closing hours and heading over there at night.
4. Manu Coffee Roasters Kujira-ten
Kujira-ten (directly translated as “whale shop”) is the flagship cafe for Manu Coffee Roasters, a five-store chain in Fukuoka that has been going strong for over ten years. The flagship store takes up an entire three-story building painted in their signature bright yellow. The coffee is roasted and made on the first floor. Here you can take your pick of drinks from their large menu, and maybe buy a bag of coffee beans to take home as well. After you receive your coffee, head upstairs to their spacious cafe area. The second floor offers tables and chairs for work or meetings, sofas for relaxing, and even a large Japanese style “zaseki” space, where you can take off your shoes and sit on tatami. Kujira-ten has good wi-fi connection and offers AC adaptors for those of you who want to recharge your electronics, making this an ideal place to use your computer or phone.
Both the exterior and interior colors and designs are artistic and creative, adding more flavor to an already fun and enjoyable environment. Even month Manu Coffee Roasters collaborates with apparel shops or other creators to sell goods and merchandise, which you can see on the first floor. Events are periodically held on the rooftop as well. If you’re looking for open space to stretch your legs as you sit down with a delicious cup of coffee, don't look any further; check out Manu Coffee Roasters’ flagship Kujira-ten.
5. Connect Coffee
I mentioned in the introduction that the order of this list is in now way intended to rank these cafes, and while I wasn't lying, I must say I’ve saved the best for last. Connect Coffee is the kind of place that I could go to every day and never get tired of it. Yes, the coffee is amazing. Yes, the shop looks nice. But the thing that impressed me the most was the owner of this cafe, Takahiro Ando. He based this cafe on the concept of “connect people through coffee”, and his dedication to this concept is evident in his superb service and the attention he gives to every minute detail of every cup of coffee he makes.
Mr. Ando is an extremely skilled latte artist who came in second place in the Coffee Fest Latte Art World Championship in 2014. The images he draws in your coffee are so beautifully done that drinking it seems quite a waste. When I visited Connect Coffee the latte I ordered had a perfect combination of espresso coffee and milk, and was served at just the right temperature to enjoy. Though there was a steady flow of customers and a few conversations going between the owner and people at the bar, the atmosphere was extremely relaxing and welcoming. Just sitting there sipping a latte while enjoying the atmosphere was the perfect stress reliever. Although Connect Coffee is located in a quiet out-of-the-way area in Tenjin, many people including myself go out of their way to visit this cafe. If you’re ever in Fukuoka, I hope you do the same as well.
There you have it: five of Fukuoka’s best coffee shops. There are many other good cafes I wasn't able to mention here or wasn't able to visit, so If you ever have the opportunity to visit Fukuoka I hope you can go to these shops and many more and make your own top-five list.
That’s all I have for now. Until next time!