Aomori is a great city, but it has no guesthouses that I was able to find. So when I went to Aomori from my awesome guesthouse in Sendai, it was a bit too sudden of a shift from very social to staying alone at a hotel in a small city. Little did I know that there was good coffee to be had in Aomori, and it’s just a few minutes from Aomori Station. Sadly, as my luck would have it, I found it on my last day in the city so I was only able to try one.
Cafe Des Gitanes is a good looking place, it’s apparently been there for almost 10 years and has a pretty good following. The style is certainly that of your third wave cafes but also ever so slightly apes Italian cafes, though not to any detrimental degree. I didn’t go for the espresso, sorry if you were drinking something and spat it all over your computer, and the reasoning is a bit judgmental on my part. Cafe Des Gitanes uses almost the same setup I had in New York, a good “prosumer” home espresso machine and a Rancilio Rocky. Anyone who says that setup can’t make great espresso deserves a swift punch from me, but it also doesn’t seem to be this cafe’s focus and is a bit unfair to judge when I only had one chance to try some coffee. Of course you’re free to make your own decisions but in the right hands a “prosumer” machine and Rancilio Rocky can be far better than a La Marzocco and a Mazzer in the wrong hands.
So we fall back on my second staple, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. It’s becoming quite common that I’m using African coffees, especially Ethiopia as a sort of second standard, I’m not sure if it’s because it’s kind of an average level of difficulty to extract or because I’m just biased. My cup was perfectly extracted, 10/10 and all the wonderful fruity flavor notes were really prominent. The location of the cafe makes it both great and horrible for me to recommend. If you will ever find yourself in Aomori City, even for only an hour or so, I would highly recommend going there. However the nature of Tohoku and lack of other great cafes means that coffee geeks might rarely find themselves that way. It’s a shining beacon of deliciousness in a wasteland of Dotours and Mister Donuts.