*Found in Former Kyoto Cafes
松田珈琲店Matsuda Coffee is a coffee shop in its second year of business located in 壬生森町Mibumorimachi close to both the 京福西院駅Keifuku Saiin Station and 阪急西院駅Hankyu Saiin Station along 四条通Shijo Street that sells coffee beans roasted at the shop as well as serves coffee for those who would rather have a cup, or two, at the shop.
I had seen Matsuda Coffee in magazines about coffee shops, particularly in Kyoto, last year and had put it on my list of cafes to visit but it wasn’t until Eriko-san recommended the coffee shop to me (because I asked about recommendations) when I had dinner at eskapi last week that I decided to go when the weekend came, because I had no plans but would get off work too early just to go home. From the little information I had about the place, I knew food wouldn’t be served, so I grabbed a bite to eat at タイカレーラーメンシャムThai Curry Ramen Siam on the way.
It’s been a while since I got as lost as I did getting to a shop (it took at least double the time that I had expected!) and just as I was about to give up and go elsewhere, I stumbled upon the white building with the name written subtly on the wall…the young owner was roasting coffee at the front of the shop and had the door cracked open (bottom right picture).
I walked up to the door and asked if they were serving coffee today to which he replied that they were and moved so that I could enter. To my immediate left was a door frame covered with a curtain; I figured it was a storeroom for coffee beans because I saw some stacked by the door frame. The coffee-bean roaster took up about a third of the shop, namely the front (top left picture) and can be seen from the outside; the rest was the kitchen with a counter of two stool seats (center picture). On the counter were the iced coffee drippers with bags of the shop’s original blends (top right picture). There was a small table with a chair up against another wall but I wasn’t sure if it was used to seat customers since there were unroasted coffee beans on the table.
I sat at the counter; in front of me were containers of coffee beans used to prepare the coffee served at the shop, about five kinds of beans.We discussed what coffee I would like to have and based on my preferences he recommended the shop’s original blend based on Mandheling called Saffron, ￥500, which he prepared with a nel (center left picture). It had a deep flavor with a tinge of bitterness; it was definitely good alone but for a glutton like me😜, it would have been offset even better with something sweet.☺
We talked about how I hardly have coffee using lightly roasted beans, so he said he would give me a cup prepared with Yemen beans on the house (top center picture)…I told him if I liked it, I’d pay the ￥500 for it to which he agreed. It was a little tart but wonderfully fragrant and quite easy to drink…of course I paid for it.☺
Although the conservatively yet stylishly dressed owner appeared somewhat reserved at the beginning, we ended up talking quite a while (about three hours!), until another (male regular) customer came to have a cup of coffee, about all kinds of topics…coffee (all his knowledge is from self-study, no apprentice here), cafes (our recommendations as well as the service industry and the staff’s relationships with customers), where we’re from (he’s originally from 長崎Nagasaki), English (he knows quite a bit of English), etc.
I realized that the room I thought was a storeroom was another space for those who wanted to drink coffee at the shop when the male regular customer decided that’s where he wanted to sit…there was one small table and another counter space for about three people which I noticed when I was shown to the restroom which is past a door into probably the owner’s home and up to the second floor (bottom left picture).
After the owner got the customer his coffee, I decided to call it a day and head over to 平野神社Hirano Shrine to see if I could get some 花見hanami (cherry-blossom viewing) in before going home…from our conversations, he knew I would walk there along 西大路通Nishioji Street, so he showed me out of the shop and how to get out to 御前通Gozen Street by which I can get to Shijo Street.
A delightful chat over good coffee, I can’t wait to experience that again.☺
Update: Less than two weeks later when Iori-san and I met on our days off to visit cafes, Iori-san mentioned wanting to go to Matsuda Coffee…he had tried before but gave up when he couldn’t find it. Since I knew the way now, I suggested we go after we had some ohagi at かさぎ屋Kasagiya.
When we arrived, the shop lights were dim, so I wondered if it was open at first. I opened the door and greeted the owner, Matsuda-san, who was inside alone and he turned on the lights for us as we took seats at the counter. I ordered the original blend, Plaisir, ￥500 (center right picture). It was fragrant and a bit bitter but flavorful.
Since Matsuda-san and Iori-san are from Nagasaki but left the area after their schooling, they had some things in common about which to talk; they also have mutual acquaintances in Kyoto as well. Halfway through our stay, a female customer came and when she expressed interest at seeing how the coffee was made, Iori-san gave her his seat and took one at a small table close by, which brought her into our conversation as well. We left when it got dark and only because I was hungry and wanting to get some dinner. Hopefully Iori-san won’t have trouble finding it next time.☺
Update: I was shocked to find Matsuda Coffee closed when I went in August 2016 although there had been no word of it. After researching a bit, I realized that he had moved shop to 群馬県前橋市Maebashi-shi, Gunma-ken. It’s a shame that I won’t be able to visit when I’d like but it’s a comfort to know at least one place to get good coffee if I ever visit.
Address: 京都市中京区壬生森町Kyoto-shi. Nakagyo-ku. Mibumorimachi 51-14
Telephone number: 075-201-9214
Access: 京福西院駅から徒歩7分minutes from Keifuku Saiin Station or 阪急西院駅から徒歩10分minutes from Hankyu Saiin Station
Business hours: Monday, Wednesday-Saturday- 12:30-10:00pm (last order until 9:30); Sunday, national holiday- 10:30am-7:00pm (last order until 6:30)
Cafe holiday: Tuesday
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/matsudacoffee/