How long does it take a business to achieve cult status in Tokyo? Years or decades in most cases. For Omotesando Koffee it was barely a matter of weeks.

First there's the setting. Where else in the city can you find a contemporary espresso counter tucked inside a traditional tatami-matted room more suited to the tea ceremony? Hidden away in the residential heart of Harajuku, it also has a tiny Japanese garden with benches. It really is one of a kind.

Owner-instigator Eiichi Kunitomo mixes his obvious design savvy with his calling as a barista — he trained in the Naples region of Italy, no less — and dispenses his machiatos and lattes with understated panache.