I’m going to be straight with you: Kiki Coffee is hard to find. It’s a nightmare for people like me who can’t find their way out of a paper bag even with Google Maps. The reason? Not only is it in a narrow (and I mean NARROW) side street that doesn’t really look like it’s a street, it’s also in the very middle of said side street, making it easy to pass by three or four or…well, never mind, times. But. That being said. Kiki is most assuredly worth seeking out, and here’s why. [日本語]
Kiki Coffee isn’t quite a coffee stand and isn’t quite a cafe; it’s somewhere in-between. There’s two small counters, a large table in the middle, and a small kitchen behind a counter where cookies, poundcakes, scones, bars of Onomichi-born bean-to-bar chocolate Ushio Chocolatl, more sit atop a showcase filled with different sandwiches. The space has a very modern DIY feel, decorated with posters featuring the distinct Kiki logo, as well as colorful handmade bags. I order my go-to latte and, after much deliberation, a scone as well.
I choose a good old corner seat by the glass door and wait for my latte. Kiki uses renowned Yakushima roaster, Issou Coffee Roastery’s coffee exclusively, and I’m eager to try it. My latte and scone arrive on a beautiful, deep blue tray, the latte in a thick, robin’s egg blue mug. It’s the perfect color to encapsulate the atmosphere at Kiki: light, whimsical, and natural. The scone, to my surprise, is laden with strawberry jam and lightly whipped, unsweetened cream. It’s a nice touch, especially when I was just expecting to be given the scone as I saw it at the counter, packaged in plastic.
The latte is a little on the milky side, creamy and soft. The coffee doesn’t boldly make itself known; instead it blends effortlessly with the milk for a balanced and smooth finish, perfect for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. On to the scone. Actually, a word about scones:
I have an unusual amount of anxiety and trepidation about scones in Japan, mainly because it seems like no one can make a decent one. Ordering a scone is like playing Russian roulette in reverse, where 9 times out of 10 you end up with a desert-dry hockey puck parading itself as a scone that sits like a stone in your stomach. So to say I’m wary is putting it mildly. Picking up the top half of the scone, I spread on a little jam and cream and with an air of “here goes nothing”, take my first bite. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.
The scone is rich and moist, crumbling into big buttery pieces perfectly punctuated by the cloying (in a good way!) sweetness of the strawberry jam and the rounded creaminess of the cream. But at the same time, it’s not heavy at all, remaining light and airy while still being sturdy enough to support the jam and cream. It’s an honest scone, a real, actually properly made scone! And it goes so well with coffee. My friends, Kiki has cracked the code.
Perfect for relaxing on a lazy afternoon, or even an afternoon on-the-go (fear not, you can get your coffee to-go), Kiki might be hard to find, but if I can find it, I guarantee so can you. And you should. They’ve also got this wicked looking an-butter toast (thick-cut toast with anko and butter) that I’ve got to check out… maybe I’ll see you then. Follow Kiki on Instagram wherever fine apps are sold.
Opening hours: 11:00-19:00
Closed: Thursdays and Sundays
Address: Ōtemachi 3-3-3, Naka-ku, Hiroshima City