Archive | September, 2014

Specialty Coffee Shops in Tokyo! vol.2

26 Sep

Bear Pond Espresso @ Shibuya

Located right in the heart of Shibuya,  Bear Pond Espressois also worth visiting. It’s not really a Specialty coffee bean place but is specialized in espresso.

Bear pond no.8

The photo is not allowed inside the shop, so I show you the outside^^. We ordered their Espresso and Cappuccino for take away. It was really nice! The coffee was freshly roasted at their shop so we bought back a packet of beans as well!

I have been making lattes with their house blend in my home espresso machine and it taste very nice, well grounded, fruity and not too bitter:)

Bear pond

Sarutahiko Coffee @ Ebisu

Ebisu, 1 stop away from Shibuya on train, there is this another excellent coffee shop called Sarutahiko Coffee.



This shop is very small with a few tables and high chairs, and my family could barely fit in… (my husband had to carry our son on carrier while I squeezed in one person space with my daughter), but their service and coffee was excellent that everything was alright! We went on a rainy day and the shop lady helped us put the stroller outside and fold the umbrella. I know that Japanese hospitality is quite good, but this shop was beyond our expectations. I bet regulars come back because of this.


Like these two senior men.

Excuse me on this photo shot, but I couldn’t help taking them because it was such a heart warming scene of two men, one with a retro hat, chit-chatting over a cup of coffee before they start the day. Sometimes the customers add the scenes to the coffee shop and makes the whole experience nice and memorable.

We ordered their specialty Iced coffee in hand-dripping style. You can see the pour over tools in front of the man in the second photo. Their house roast is rather dark and is suited for iced coffee and it was really nice!


We visited a couple more coffee shops but these are the Specialty Coffee Shops we went. I enjoyed the beans we brought back from Japan, and some with my students! I hope to visit back some of the shop and other coffee shops in my next Japan trip!

Thank you for always visiting my blog & Have a great weekend!



Specialty Coffee Shops in Tokyo! vol.1

25 Sep



Speaking of Specialty coffee, I would like to introduce some of the coffee shops I visited in my last Japan trip!


The Roastery @ Omotesando (Harajuku)




First is The Roastery in Harajuku, Tokyo.

Harajuku, Omotesando and Shibuya areas are known to have nice cafes and coffee shops. Many popular pancake shops are also located here and recently, Magnolia Bakery, the famous NY cupcake shop, opened their first branch in Japan as well! It’s a trendy and hot spot for the cafe lovers!

The Roastery is located in one of the small stretch of road that leads from Omotesando Harajuku to Shibuya.






The shop reminds us of some cozy cafes in the west coast of the U.S., and being part of a large restaurant & cafe group, it’s quite spacious for a cafe in Tokyo.




They serve New York Ring here! It’s a donuts made from croissant dough and is popular as ‘cronuts’ in the U.S.!

Their coffee menu is quite simple and you choose from Americano, Espresso and Cappuccino from the two types of coffee beans. They change the beans on a weekly basis, more or less. The beans are roasted in the shop itself, as you can see from the first photo, and they share the same Specialty coffee beans with NOZY coffee, another famous coffee shop in Tokyo.





We tried their cappuccino and espresso, together with the N.Y. Ring! The espresso had a very powerful flavor, and even with cappuccino where normally milk makes the coffee tastes blend, I could feel the strong characteristics of the Specialty coffee beans. We liked the coffee beans so much that we bought back a few packets of COE and Specialty coffee beans that were available in the shop. Price range from JPY1,200/200g to JPY1,800/200g (RM40-RM70).

As for their Americano, they were using French Press and not hand-dripping (pour over) style.


Coutume @ Omotesando (Aoyama)

Just 10 minutes walk from The Roastery, in same Omotesando (Aoyama) area, we found another Specialty Coffee shop called Coutume. This shop, which is newly opened in April 2014, is a Paris found cafe. It has various kinds of coffee but especially specializes in French Press.




Look at this French Press machine! It is completely computerized and looks very stylish!

I honestly don’t appreciate French press as much as the hand dripping style, but some people say that French press can extract the nice coffee oil which the hand dripping will take away from using filter paper.




In contrast with the wooden feel of previous cafe, The Roastery, Coutume was a bright and white stylish cafe! Fashionable like Paris!




Even the way they serve was cute and stylish, with some details of the coffee bean explained in the transparent cube that came along with the coffee.




We ordered their specialty French press hot and ice coffee. My friend ordered their Pour over coffee and it was served in this cute glass pot.



Overall we had a good experience! My husband liked the modern and minimalist design and of course the automated French press machine was very impressive! Ok, I will talk about other cafes in my next post! Have a good day!

Thank you for visiting my blog!



BEAM @ Sri Damansara

23 Sep


The other day, I had a chance to visit a cafe called BEAM at Sri Damansara, thanks to my dear student who recommended me of this newly opened shop! It opened in end of July. I wouldn’t have known of this shop otherwise because the coffee and cafe business in Malaysia is expanding vast in the last couple of years. (My student has joined our coffee & macaron master course, by the way. I am glad to be sharing such information with students lately^^…)


As soon as I entered the cafe, I immediately liked this spacious yet cozy ambience. It seemed that this shop lot was a former warehouse, thus the table and chairs were displayed spaciously and had couple of areas in theme. This corner close to the door caught my eye as I entered, and before I even checked their menu I was impressed by how various coffee items and tools they carry for sale. They had the same kettle, coffee filter, syphon machine and others that I have, and they also had some unique coffee tools. I even found two sets of water-dripping machine on the high table (this was of course not for sale).

And then we came to the counter to order our coffee.


Specialty coffee and… Kopi O?

First, I was surprised that they handle Specialty coffee beans here, which is still quite new and difficult to find in Malaysia. Then I was surprised that they also serve the local coffee as well because normally those two do not exist together in the same cafe. But soon after we order our Macchiato and Hand-drip Specialty Coffee (Papua New Guinea bean), the man who made us a hand-drip coffee explained to us all.


It seems like this cafe was built by a coffee wholesale company who has been supplying local and Arabica coffee beans, and now Specialty coffee beans, to cafes and coffee shops in Malaysia since 70’s.

No wonder!

That explains why they have so much knowledge and sources of coffee beans, not only the local beans but also the other kinds. When he mentioned, “We made this cafe to educate people on Speciality coffee beans”, I was clapping hands in my mind(!) because I was just trying to teach my coffee & macaron course graduates what Specialty coffee beans are and how good the tastes are through my Specialty Coffee class.

WP_002205 (1)

He poured the coffee carefully and steadily… very similar to how I make mine, but slower and with more using his whole body.

He gave us a nice and informative talk. Thanks!


Specialty coffee beans are rather limited and hard to get, and in Japan it costs about RM70/200 gram. But now you can get here in Malaysia with around RM28/150gram!

They had various raw beans and a roaster which if we request they will roast for you (it takes about 20-30 minutes) at the shop. Their main roaster factory seem to be just around the corner from this cafe.


Specialty coffee beans are picked carefully so it normally indicates details such as farmer, altitude, the way they dry the beans and the aroma you can taste from each beans. After we carefully looked at the list of beans here, we bought back a packet of Tanzania Specialty coffee beans (Tembo Farm), which was roasted only 2 days ago in their factory.


After we went back home, we straight away made a coffee from this bean. It was really fresh and had a nice fruity flavor…

I really enjoyed the experience there, and although it’s a little bit far from my house, I cannot wait to go back there!


Thank you for always visiting my blog ^^!

October 2014 Class Schedule*

15 Sep

Hi there! Today I would like to post our October 2014 class schedule! This month we continue to focus on seasonal autumn fruits such as Pear and Chestnut! We have a new menu, Mont Blanc Rollcake, which is French adapted Japanese rollcake with a sumptuous chestnut cream filling. I am also teaching a class on Charlotte Poir, which is a pear mousse cake. I will also be repeating some classes from previous months.

I will be going back to Japan at the end of October for two weeks again, so our classes this month is somewhat limited! Enjoy!

1. Charlotte Poir & Apricot Sable – Basic Class –

charlotte poirCaramel mousse cake filled and decorated with comported pair. We will also make the biscuit cake.


Simple biscuit sandwiched with apricot jam.

DATE:        October 5th (Sun.) 2:00pm-5:30pm – FULL

                  October 15th (Wed.) 11:00am-2:30pm – FULL

FEE:           RM195 (RM149 for members)

2. Mont Blanc Rollcake & Creme Burlee Chocolat – Premier Class –

Mont Blanc Roll

Kokutou rollcake with rich chestnut cream inside. Caramelized hazelnuts.

Creme Burlee Chocolat

Rich chocolate creme burlee

DATE & TIME:    October 12th (Sun.)   11:00am-3:00pm – FULL

                           October 18th (Sat.)     2:00pm-5:30pm – FULL

FEE:                    RM210.00 (RM169.00 for members)

3.  Green Tea Layer Cake et Poire & Sable au Chocolat – Premier Class – *Repeat Lesson*


Moist genoise cake decorated with green tea*white chocolate cream,

sandwiched with comported pear and tropical fruits jelly.


Rich chocolate sable with a hint of cinnamon spice

*Different recipe from Vanilla viennois. 

DATE & TIME:    October 19th (Sun.)   11:00am-3:00pm – FULL

FEE:                    RM210.00 (RM169.00 for members)

4. Japanese Roll Bread & Apple Strudel Bun – Basic Class – *Repeat Lesson*


Soft Japanese roll bun!


 Apple bread with cinnamon and raisin

*Both recipes are different!

DATE & TIME:     October 1st (Wed.)    10:30am-1:30pm *New!*

                             October 11th (Sat.)    11:00am-2:00pm – FULL 

FEE:                     RM180.00 (RM149.00 for members) 

To register please contact me by email: (Tomoko). Thank you and looking forward to seeing you soon!!!

Green Tea Layer Cake Class*

10 Sep




Our new menu – Green Tea Layer Cake class is coming soon!

Our goal for this class is to practice genoise (sponge cake) making and cake decorating. The decoration part is simple, but I’d like to introduce you a nice decoration cream recipe that is slightly easier to handle than the normal whipping cream! Just so you know, I am planning to have “Foret Noir (Black Forest) Cake” class and “Strawberry Short Cake” class in the coming months, so this will be a good start for you to practice on cake decoration! As for the genoise cake, we have “Tiramisu” class this month. All the recipes for the genoise will be different.


green tea layer cake



Speaking of Green Tea Layer Cake, the photo is the cake I baked in Japan when apricot was in season. In the class, we will be using comported pair instead and I will demonstrate you this process. Also, this cake has a passion fruits jelly inside which will give you a nice contrast of sweet and sour.





The second item for this class will be a simple Sable au Chocolat. We practice two kinds of piping using the flower nozzle. For the round shape size, we will bake together with almond nuts.


Sable au Chocolat


Currently both classes in September is full (September 13th & September 28th). I am planning to conduct this class again in October weekend. (*I will be posting October class on 15th, Monday).

Thanks for visiting my blog and see you soon!!!





My son’s 1st Birthday Party!

5 Sep



Last weekend I held a party for our son’s 1st year Birthday!!! It was a tea-time party on Murdeka Day and we invited couple of our friends and family to our house. Unlike my daughter, who is now 3 years 9 months old and is into all the princess stuff, my little boy still doesn’t have any character or toy that he likes. So I decided to go with baby blue color and a whale theme (just in my head… ^^). 

I made my signature!? macarons in pastel blue & white color,




made “pinata” in a whale shape, 


 Yes, this is papa & mama hand-made pinata!


And my son wore a Japanese whale costume called “jinbei (甚平)“. Well, this was a coincidence…


Hitting pinata was quite an exciting thing.


Each kids took turn to hit the pinata.


So did my daughter.


But my son seemed to have enjoyed the most!


DSC_0441 DSC_0442 

The kids were mostly between 1 ~ 4 years old and they were too young to break it open.  



So I had to help them in the end and finally…


The goodies came out! Hooray!


We also did some other games and kids enjoyed playing around the house.




As for my birthday boy, he enjoyed eating, following other kids to play,



And singing karaoke. 


I was so happy to see everyone’s happy face, especially my little boy! He might not remember this moment but as a parent, I was very happy that we held a memorable party for my little son! Happy Birthday Dylan!



Apple Caramel Pound Cake*

3 Sep


It’s September! How was your Murdeka weekend? As for me, I held my son’s 1st Birthday Party on Murdeka Day and had a great time with my family and friends! (I want to make this post later ^^…)


I baked Apple Caramel Pound Cake. This is one of my favorite recipes in Autumn season and I bake every year around this time. I am having this class tomorrow but couldn’t wait to taste this cake… yum yum…


DSC_0616In Japan, apple called “Kougyoku (紅玉)” comes out during Autumn season. It’s a vivid red color apple with juicy and lightly sour taste and is very suited for baking that every pastry shops and bakeries get busy trying to reserve this apple. “Tart tarte-in” (upside-down apple pie) is also made only with this apple! Unfortunately I cannot find this apple in Malaysia, but I found out that Pink Lady and Grannie Smith Green Apple tastes good as well, so I will be using them in the coming Apple classes! (Apple Caramel Pound Cake & Apple Strudel Bun Classes…) So please look forward to it!



Happy Baking!