Saturday, September 06, 2008

Kagoshima is Cooler Than Me

With it being so hot this far south, iced coffee is something that takes the edge off the heat. Iced coffee in a can is controversial with drinkers but with so many coffee shops in Kagoshima, such sacrifices need not be made. I think I've found the top coffee shop in Kagoshima, whose location is as difficult to describe as its ambiance. Down a street onto a narrower street, finding the store's 5m wide facade took luck. Carefully cut stone frames etched glass. The inside is not what I'd call inviting - cozy, atmospheric, moody maybe - but not welcoming. Inside reminded me immediately of a Victorian science lab as envisioned by an Japanese anime director. Fine carvings; dark woods; smokey; glassware placed on every ledge. Jazz playing so softly it lets the tinkling of glass hang over it. The lighting set so low most of it comes from the sun streaming through the front. Inside everyone but me is wearing glasses. Nobody seems to talk unnecessarily. The three servers are wearing short white coats and black bow ties. They use very formal Japanese spoken quietly. I watched one of them hand sort a bowl of coffee beans and then sell it for 30 dollars. Mass produced ice cubes are shunned in favored of hand cut pieces from blocks of ice. Sure the iced coffee took 10 minutes to come and cost nearly 7 dollars but I have to admit I was impressed: it kept the strong deep flavor coffee needs without excessive sourness or bitterness. Taking a picture would cause such a commotion as to shatter the tranquility of the interior.

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