One of the first and only sentences I mastered in three years of (not) learning German was “Wo ist der Bahnhof?” (“Where is the station?”) I never thought I’d have a chance to put this into practice in Japan, but my hopes were raised when I heard about Bahnhof, a specialty coffee shop. Sadly, as it turned out, finding Bahnhof was easy. Unsurprisingly, it is located near Noda train station.

They take coffee pretty seriously at this small cafe; several of the staff are even certified “Coffee Meisters.” On a recent visit, one staff member was hunched over next to the in-house roaster, sifting through a tray of green coffee beans looking for anything improper prior to roasting. This process is repeated again after roasting. It’s painstaking but purposeful work.

The food menu is based around cakes and sweets — roll cake, chiffon cake, cheese cake and madeleines — but we opted for French toast.

Bahnhof’s version is small without any of the usual over-the-top sweetness that is often the norm in Japan. As for the coffee, Bahnhof has gathered beans from nations all across the world, so it’s worth asking the friendly staff for recommendations or perusing the menu before deciding. We went with two specialty blends: one from Costa Rica (deep roasted) and the other from Sumatra (a medium-deep roast). Common to both was a smooth, rich flavor. For any budding “meisters” Bahnhof also runs coffee brewing classes.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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