Business / Corporate

Expansion brewing for Blue Bottle Coffee in Japan

Kyodo

Blue Bottle Coffee Inc., a U.S. coffee chain dubbed by some the “Apple of coffee,” is considering expanding further in Japan, according to the company’s founder and CEO.

James Freeman, who heads the chain known for using fresh beans within 48 hours of roasting, said in a speech in San Francisco that the company may open a fourth cafe in Tokyo, in the city’s Roppongi district. Many foreign embassies are located in the area, which is popular among locals and foreigners for its nightlife.

Founded in 2002 by Freeman, who was influenced by Japanese kissaten (coffee shops), Blue Bottle Coffee chose Japan as the site of its first outlet outside the United States.

The company’s three existing Japanese investments are all in Tokyo: It opened a first cafe in Kiyosumishirakawa in February, a second in upmarket Aoyama, and a third one is scheduled to open soon in the city’s Daikanyama district. The chain has acquired a strong following among Japanese coffee connoisseurs.