Specialty coffee: Japan in cool caffee shops of Milan
It is now a fact: Milan has been invaded by the fashion for specialty coffees, i.e. those high-quality coffees selected according to a strict international protocol based on terroir and fine beans.
This term was used for the first time in 1974 by Erna Knutsen to describe the best beans produced in special microclimates in Tea & Coffee Trade Journal.
In Milan today there are several (trendy) establishments that offer this special coffee, proposing it with different extraction methods. In accordance with the format of this blog, therefore not dealing with the subject of coffee with specific skills, I wanted to discover the best specialty coffee places that also offer excellent Japanese products on the menu.
Very nice bar (but also bakery) in the Ortica area where you can have an incredible breakfast, or a quick lunch or an aperitif, in Japanese style. Pan is an idea of chefs Yoji Tokuyoshi and Alice Yamada (both known for the highly appreciated Katsudanderia at Sidewalk Kitchens), the baking part is taken care of by Nishikata Ken (whose legendary shokupan has been available for months at Terroir): a fantastic team which has given life to a corner of peace in a decentralized but very nice area.
To drink filter coffee, cold brew and matcha latte. The food offer is the workhorse, the proposals are all delicious and, among those tasted, I indicate the gigantic croissant with strawberries and tomato (you read correctly, it is pure magic), the sweet sesame knot and the legendary anpan, which will make you fly to Japan. I will definitely come back to try the lunch proposal, in the meantime I continued enjoying one of the best curry pans ever tried: fragrant, spiced at the right point, in short, infinite goodness.
Small and cozy bar where you can enjoy delicious breakfasts and snacks in the Risorgimento area. What immediately strikes you about this place is the kindness of the owners, as well as their enthusiasm.
The choice of specialty coffees is varied (so much so that the house one, called "scary espresso", changes every week), as are the extraction methods: espresso (single or right), flat white, hand brew (V60). There is no shortage of matcha latte, infusions and chocolate.
To eat "toast giusto" or "paura", savory croissant and then of course the sweet proposal: snail with raisins, empty or filled croissants and the legendary heart that I advise you to fill with gianduja cream. I tasted the (for me) already iconic cinnamon and miso roll.
The whole dessert section is created by the Japanese baker Nishikata Ken - of whom I had already told you about Katsusanderia, always present at Sidewalk Kitchens, where Bar Paura is also located.
Loste is the project launched in 2021 in the Risorgimento area by Lorenzo Cioli and Stefano Ferraro who, after an important training experience at Noma in Copenhagen, decided to open this space dedicated to specialty coffees and pastry in pure Northern European style.
An intriguing format that includes the classic Italian espresso and cappuccino, but also flat white (coffee with microfoam on top), filtered coffee and cortado coffee (espresso coffee with a small addition of hot milk). The pastry is made up of super buttery delicacies including cinnamon roll (the best eaten in town: literally finger-licking!), pain au chocolat, Cotto & ricotto (with a delicious heart of almonds), Kev (shortcrust filled with custard and jam), Salata (with 'nduja and taleggio cheese) and Golosa (banana, almonds and salted caramel).
As far as Japan is concerned, at Loste you can find Quella ripiena, with matcha and bergamot. A small masterpiece: if you love matcha you will love it, my word! It's made so well that if you take it home and taste it the next day, it's as good as freshly bought.
Orsonero Coffee was born from an idea of Brent Jopson (originally from Vancouver and specialty coffee expert) and his wife Giulia Gasperini (Milanese pastry chef) in 2016 in the Buenos Aires area, at a time when the city lacked a reality specialized in alternative extraction. Some examples: cold brew, American filter and aeropress. The specialty blends are obviously the protagonists here, but there is no shortage of Japanese green teas such as the sublime sencha.
Eutopia is an independent pastry laboratory where products are made favoring natural, organic and biodynamic agriculture, also using natural sweeteners alternative to sucrose and wholemeal flours.
Alongside a concise proposal of Italian specialty coffees and cafeterias, the protagonists here are obviously the baked goods: bread, focaccia and sweet single portions. There are also some references to Japan, such as Sazuki: wholemeal cocoa biscuit, compote of seasonal fruit, azuki and bitter cocoa mousse, dates and hazelnuts.
I had already told you about Terroir in Shops with food and Asian products in Milan. It is a shop with a clean and minimalist aesthetic, opened in 2017, the result of research and niche selection by Gabriele Ornati.
In addition to being able to buy excellent Japanese artisanal products (such as umeboshi, seaweed, udon, noodles, wasabi, miso, furikake, soy sauce, sesame and Pan bread), here you will find a coffee corner (very good albeit small, for this reason it is more suitable for a take-away rather than for on-site consumption). Specialties include pour over, cold brew, golden latte, while on the "Japan side" there is matcha tea.
Ambrogia Il forno
Small bakery in the Washington area with a few seats to enjoy an excellent breakfast or snack.
Francesca Gatti Rodorigo and Federica Ferrari are the creators of this delicious project dedicated to baked goods made according to kosher recipes (the strict rules of the Jewish religion) and Lot Zero specialty coffees.
Among the desserts, the cinnamon babka is a must, but equally good and fragrant are the French brioches with custard and whipped cream. The savory proposal includes pizzas, focaccias and obviously different varieties of bread: with walnuts, with olives or even challah (traditional braided Jewish bread eaten on Shabbat).
I also particularly liked their hot green tea, alternatively you can also order vegetable milk or cappuccino.
📍 Piazza Sicilia 1, Milan 💰 $$$
NOWHERE - Coffee & Community
Café dedicated to specialty coffees in the Sant'Ambrogio area. A project by Andrea Prayer and Francesca Cavazza that winks at the independent and Australian aesthetic both in terms of menu and atmosphere: a mix of colours, music and an international clientele that will make you forget you are in Milan.
The dishes, as well as the environment, are decidedly "instagrammable" but the quality of what you will consume will not disappoint you, on the contrary, it is really high. Get advice on the quality of the coffee you want, as well as the extraction methods - the flat white here is very good indeed. If you don't like coffee you can order some excellent soft drinks or a matcha (which I requested with oat milk). Also not to be missed is the Basque cheesecake.
Tone is a bakery in the Città Studi area that takes its name from the large clay oven (present on site) where Georgian bread is baked. The idea of the creator Giovanni Malabrese is that of a bread shop, therefore, also with Nordic influences where to buy and stop for a quick snack or a snack.
In fact, Tone has become iconic for the delicious khachapuri (typical Georgian bread filled with cheese and, optionally, egg) and the babka with chocolate (Jewish sweet in the shape of a braid). There is no shortage of excellent coffee, as well as hot sencha.
LOCALI CHE NON MI SONO PIACIUTI
Kōhī Tokyo 1982
It could have been an excellent opportunity to carry out a really interesting project on the subway, but unfortunately (in my opinion) Kohi turned out to be a flop. A mix of proposals straddling Italy and Japan where there is no real identity and the products do not excel.