Removed from the hustle of the central business district lies Akam Coffee Works, a coffee roaster and coffee stand run by Atsushi Matsumoto, a barista whose passion for coffee led him to quit his proverbial day job and open his own store. But Matsumoto is no amateur; after perfecting his own personal brewing techniques, he took them one step further by learning the art of coffee roasting in Mie Prefecture before Akam Coffee Works was born. Freshly roasted coffee beans are the cornerstone of the small and streamlined modern store.
In fact, the coffee roaster is the first thing customers see upon walking in, or even walking by. Gleaming in silver and yellow, the pristine machine sits at the very front of the store like a badge of pride. The space is minimalist: glass walls and a simple color palette of black and white make the candy yellow roaster and bright green of monstera deliciosa plant pop.
Past the roaster, an indigo espresso machine sits regally behind a solid counter. Taking my seat (because only the cool kids sit at the counter), I order a latte, excited to see Matsumoto’s version. Matsumoto is friendly, more than willing to explain his personal preferences when it comes to roasting (a bit on the dark side) and his experiences as a barista while he works with an expert hand. The finished latte is served not in a traditional mug, but in something akin to a French cafe latte bowl, set atop a small wooden tray.
The deep, complex flavors of dark roasted espresso immediately make themselves known, kept gently in check by the milk. It’s a bold cup that proudly proclaims a deep understanding and respect for coffee. Matsumoto not only knows coffee; he’s friends with it. He knows their personalities, their eccentricities, and their weaknesses, which is why he knows how to bring out their best.
Akam Coffee Works might be new to the Hiroshima coffee scene, but it has the confidence of an old hand. Matsumoto also teaches regular workshops on hand-roasted coffee from beginner to advanced (the advanced classes get the chance to use the aforementioned coffee roaster!). Be sure to check out the official Instagram , Facebook, and website where he profiles and sells fresh-roasted coffee beans.
Akam Coffee Works [アーカムコーヒーワークス]
Opening hours: 11:00 to 20:30 (L.O. 20:00)
Address: Kokutaiji 1-9-7, Naka-ku, Hiroshima City