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Cafe Unite, Tsukishima

If you’re in Tsukishima and you’re looking for great coffee, you’re going to have to do some hunting or walking, or both. Craft coffee places in the area are few and far between. There used to be Cafe Sicilia on Monja Street, but it didn’t survive the shortage of business during COVID-19 and has since been converted into another Monjayaki shop. If you google for coffee in Tsukishima, you’ll probably be directed to Tully’s or some Japanese-style kissaten (some are good, more on that in future articles). Slightly off the beaten path that is ubiquitously known as Monja Street is Cafe Unite, a tiny little coffee stand that serves specialty coffee and crepes.

Cafe Unite - Barista

I call Cafe Unite a coffee stand mostly because they just have a storefront and a couple of seats placed on the sidewalk if you want to enjoy your coffee or crepe right away; there is no place to sit inside the store. You can always take your coffee to go and walk to the nearby riverside walkway and park to enjoy your coffee along the Sumida River. Cafe Unite blends right into the surrounding storefronts, so keep an eye out, or you will miss them. It might be easier to find if you look for the scone shop (Little Spice) that has a more contrasting and easier-to-find facade across the street (they also serve coffee, but skip it, it’s not as good).

Cafe Unite - single origin specialty coffee menu
Cafe Unite - echire butter crepe menu

Cafe Unite serves coffee made from Passage Coffee Roastery beans. They also use a great water conditioning system to help get the best flavor from the coffee. Combine the high-quality beans with a knowledgeable, skilled, and amazingly friendly barista, and the coffee is guaranteed to be good. You can choose from drip coffees or espresso-based drinks, and both are equally well-made and great tasting. For drip, they have a selection of beans to choose from that have great depth of flavor and a variety of processing so you can choose what you like. I often rotate between a washed Colombia Geisha when I want that smooth, sweet, and clean cup, and a natural process Ethiopia when I want that juicy and fruity cup of coffee.

Cafe Unite - iced coffee

Normally, I’m not a big fan of crepes. The lines of people in Harajuku and Asakusa waiting for a mediocre crepe filled with sweets always had me wondering why people like them so much. At Cafe Unite, while the coffee is handled exclusively by their barista, the crepes are crafted by their super nice crepière. She will ask you if you want it soft and chewy or more crispy. I’ve never been given this option, and I immediately asked for the crispy version. The texture contrast is definitely one of the reasons why I like Cafe Unite crepes more than any other crepe I’ve ever tried. I mentioned their water conditioning system, and this even plays a part in the making of their crepes, as they only use the conditioned water to make the crepes here. It makes a big difference. Probably the other biggest difference in the crepes they make here is that they only use Echiré butter when making the crepes. This specialty French butter has a higher butterfat content and is especially decadent. I tried a cinnamon sugar Echiré crepe and a pistachio crepe, and both were the best I’ve had, and I actually want to come back and eat crepes from here, something I have never wanted to do before.

Cafe Unite - pistachio crepe

If you’re in Tsukishima and find yourself wanting (or needing) a coffee, Cafe Unite (3 Chome-3-3 Tsukishima, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0052) is the only game in town. Thankfully, everything here is well-prepared and high-quality, meaning you don’t have to compromise on taste. I won’t forget to recommend their “best I’ve ever had” crepes. Check out Cafe Unite on Instagram. If you like this article, please consider following CoffeeRyokou on Instagram also.

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