Neighborhood cafes in Ishikawa can, unfortunately, be really hit or miss. Apart from the big chains like Mister Donuts or Starbucks, most of the coffee shops you’ll find are traditional kissaten. At best these are comfy hole-in-the-walls with quirky brewing techniques. At worst they are filled with old floral prints, cigarette smoke, and clientele upwards of fifty who really aren’t sure what you’re doing there.
These two cafes in Komatsu are hidden treasures. Baisenshitsu (焙煎室) is a cozy nook for coffee purists, while Komatsu Recycle Book Library is great for those of you looking for somewhere a little more eclectic. Both spots are fairly quiet and are great places to study, work, or just have a little time away from home.
Baisenshitsu means “the roasting room” and is one of three cafes in central Komatsu that roasts its own coffee beans. What sets Baisenshitsu apart is the quality of the roast and the atmosphere of the cafe itself. The coffee is rich and mellow, with the oils in tact–not over-roasted at all. The house blend has a nice depth to it, and if you want to try out single-origin coffees, there are plenty of options. You can buy coffee beans from the shop to take home and the owner will grind them for you. The menu is limited to coffee, so don’t show up hungry.
While the cafe is small, the wood interior and high ceiling make it feel warm and spacious. The owner is also very friendly and enjoys playing the guitar (there are four in the shop). Unlike so many other coffee shops where the tables are somewhere below your knees, Baisenshitsu is a comfortable place to spread out and study.
焙煎室 (sign is in kanji only)
Location: 小松市古河町（芦城中正門前）Komatsu City, Furukawa-machi, right across from Rojo Junior High School, near Inumaru Dental Clinic.
Hours: 10 am to 8 pm daily.
Language: The menu is all in Japanese, but the coffee names are in katakana.
Recycle Book Library Komatsu
Tucked in the middle of downtown Komatsu, Recycle Book Library has all the comforts of a modern coffee shop with a very Japanese feel. The cafe itself is limited to just four low tables, but has what so many kissaten lack– free WiFi, accessible power outlets, and a range of coffee-free (and even dairy-free!) beverage options. The cake menu changes and they have some seasonal juices on offer as well. Some of the items on the menu when I visited included matcha tiramisu, chai spice houjicha, a soymilk black sesame latte, and a citrus ginger soda. The staff are young and friendly and don’t mind if you nurse a drink or a cake set for a few hours while you study.
The premise of the Recycle Book Library is really neat, too. You can bring in any books you have finished reading and they will give you points. These points can then be exchanged for other books or even treats from the cafe. While the English book selection is very limited at present, it does exist. There is also a large multipurpose tatami room upstairs that is free for anyone in the community to use.
Recycle Book Library Komatsu (sign is in English)
Address: 小松市竜助町１０２番地 Komatsu City, Ryuusuke-chou, 102 banchi. Next to the Fukui Bank.
Hours: 10 to 7 pm, closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Language: The menu is in Japanese, but various signs about the library are in English.
Lauren is a second-year ALT in Komatsu city. She’s drinking Baisenshitsu coffee right now and is an editor of this blog.