Translated by Ellyn Barnes
Paul Bassett Shinjuku: Coffee of Champions
Welcome to our series introducing Shinjuku through the eyes of foreigners in Japan. We speak to coffee connoisseur Vaughan from Melborne about Paul Bassett.
Written by MATCHA
Welcome to our series introducing the multicultural city of Shinjuku through the eyes of foreigners living in Japan. Continuing with our coffee theme, we once again talk to coffee-crazy Tokyo Cafe expert Vaughan from Melbourne, the mecca of coffee and cafe culture.
Q: You recently went to Paul Bassett, a popular cafe in the center of Shinjuku's business district. How was it?
Most of my favorite coffee places don't open until late morning, so I really appreciate that Paul Bassett is open early. The main barista here is Juichi Sasaki, the first ever Japanese winner of the World Aeropress Championship in 2014. The coffee is reasonably priced and guaranteed to taste good, and the shop has a friendly atmosphere. It's also raised some great baristas - many people have spent years training here, and then gone on to be independent and open up their own place. I really like that sort of positive space.
Q: What is it about cafes that makes you so drawn to them?
It's because in a cafe, you can relax and spend some time with yourself. You can take the time read a book or think about things. Then again, even if you don't think about anything, just sitting down and resting is meaningful in its own way, I think. Living somewhere as hectic as Tokyo, especially in a crazy city like Shinjuku, it's nice to know there are calm spaces. The difference between the two is also interesting.
Q: What was it that made you come to love coffee so much?
Back in my hometown in Australia, cappuccinos are normally drank with chocolate powder sprinkled on top. When I was a kid, I remember my mum would spoon off the foam with the chocolate powder and share it with me. The combination of the bitter coffee and sweet chocolate was really tasty. So I have fond memories of it. Then when I became a high school student, I spent my youth going to cafes after school. Now, I have a list of over 200 cafes that I want to go to. I also find it interesting that throughout history, many scholars, writers, and artists have been inspired by the time they spent in cafes.
Q: Has anything memorable ever happened to you thanks to coffee?
Yes, I actually had the honor of interviewing a real legend of the coffee world, who at the age of 101 is still running his coffee shop. When I met him, he had this awe-inspiring air about him, a strong aura that I can't quite put into words. It's an experience I'll never forget.
Japan might not be known as a country for great coffee, but the creativity and passion for quality that the Japanese people are known for is also thriving in their cafes - Paul Bassett Shinjuku being a prime example.
Why not drop in for a coffee when you're next in Shinjuku and discover a new side to Japan?
Paul Bassett Shinjuku
Address: Shinjuku Nomura Bldg B1F, Nishi-Shinjuku 1-Chome 26-2, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Hours of Operation:
Sundays, Holidays 09:00-19:00
Open all year
Wi-fi not available
Credit cards not accepted
Japanese-speaking staff only
English menu available
Nearest station(s): Shinjuku Station (JR Line; Toei Shinjuku Line; Keio Line; Odakyu Line) Nishi-Shinjuku Station (Tokyo Metro Maronouchi Line)
Access: 6-minute walk from Shinjuku Station, 4-minute walk from Nichi-Shinjuku Station
Price range: ¥1,000
Phone Number: +81(0)3-5324-5090
Official website:：Paul Bassett Shinjuku (Japanese only)