Located on the second floor of the Tsuzuki building in Nakamura district of Nagoya, Cafe Tsuzuki serves “Japan’s highest cafe au lait.” Yes, as you hear it, and here they are specialized in serving it from above. Surely you are wondering how is that? Well, read on a bit more and I’ll explain it to you.
A brief history
Cafe Tsuzuki opens during the Showa era (1946). Shortly after the war. At a time when coffee in Japan was considered a fashionable drink.
The history of this peculiar cafe au lait starts with Mr. Tsuzuki, the owner of this coffee shop. Mr. Tsuzuki, to study how coffee is served in Japan travels around all the country, from Hokkaido, in the north, to Kyushu, in the south.
One day, walking through the streets of Ginza (Tokyo), he found a coffee shop where the coffee and milt were brought to the table separately.
Mr. Tsuzuki was so surprised that he returned to Nagoya and began to develop his own peculiar way of serving cafe au lait. He began to try to serve it from a high position to improve the flavor and quality of the coffee foam. For this he tried to climb a double ladder or scissor ladder. In this way he achieved a double-soft flavor and a spongy enough foam to last a long period of time. And the idea of serving cafe au lait as it is currently served in this place.
The entrance is so subtle and small, and also as it is on the second floor, it is very common not to find it the first time.
Near the stairs you can see different photographs of the coffee shop and surroundings hanging on the wall from the time it was opened. So you can get an idea of what the coffee shop and the surroundings were like before.
Inside the coffee shop
You can access the second floor using stairs, but for people with reduced mobility there is an elevator. Inside, the atmosphere is pleasant and colorful. From the stairs to the entrance, there are lot of pots with plants and flowers. I’m sure the owner is a gardening enthusiast. Entering to the coffee shop nobody would think that they were going to do any kind of coffee performance.
A cafe au lait, please
As soon as you order the coffee, one of the waiters (or if you are lucky, it is possible that the owner himself will serve you) comes and places an empty cup on the table. Then he disappears for a moment and returns with a double ladder and places it next to the table, near the empty cup. Next, he climbs the ladder to a height where you can almost sit on top, all while holding the milk server and the coffee server one in each hand. Then, he brings the servers as close to the cup as possible and begin pouring. The milk and coffee flow and pour into the cup without spilling the slightest drop. Slowly, he raises the two servers to touch the ceiling. Depending on the audience the performance may vary a bit.
At the entrance to the ground floor there is an inscription that says:
We are a coffee shop where we work day and night to serve a unique coffee.
I am sure that to do this type of performance they have to practice a lot to get it right in the cup and not make a mess.
This coffee shop is so popular that customers come from all over the country and even national television celebrities and artists. There are photos and autographs everywhere.
Another popular dishes
Another popular dishes that are very good, and I recommend, are the fruit parfaits. These are made with fresh fruit, served with flan or ice cream. The photo is of a normal size parfait. There are many larger ones and with the most elaborate and beautiful decoration. The sandwiches also look great.
Avoid going on weekends. The owner of the place told me that on weekends long queues are formed to see the cafe au lait show.
Take the Sakura Doori subway line. Get off at the Nakamura Kuyakusho station. From the exit number 1 you will arrive within 8 minutes walk.
Or you can take the Higashiyama subway line. Get off at the Nakamura Nisseki station. You will arrive in around 15 minutes walk.
If you prefer you can walk from the Nagoya train station. It takes around 20 minutes.
6-1 Taikotori, Nakamura-ku 2F Tsuzuki Bldg, Nagoya
Open every day 7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Breakfasts: 7:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Lunch: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
up to 900 yen
*Credit cards are not accepted