Love Crepe

The best coffee I have ever had in Japan

By JapanTravel Guest    - 4 min read

Love Crepe is a special class of café. One whose uniqueness, both in style and quality of product, obliges me to make it my top recommendation for anyone who may come within 10 kilometers of Saijo City. There is so much to say about this little café (an intimate 14 seats). It is a pillar of local entrepreneurial spirit and a proud member of the local business community, it uses only the best products, it does everything on its own and with flair, and its price somehow manages to be reasonable.

'Love' Crepe was established by a lifetime Ehime resident, Yuuji, who runs the place entirely by himself (unless his wife has time to lend a hand, of course), 6 days a week. Building the shop with the help of friends and personal contacts, he designed the shop and its labels to be very contemporary, simple, and aesthetically elegant. Though small, the management of space and avoidance of excess work together in such a way that one does not feel crowded. Good lighting, cleanliness, and a variety of seating await anyone who wishes to relax for a spell. There is even a stack of books with inspirational quotes on the subject of love, caring, family, and friendship, written in both Japanese and English. A speaker system arranged throughout the shop will always be playing lively music, usually jazzy beats, soul, and other relaxing yet upbeat music. Yuuji opened his shop on Valentines Day 2008. You can be sure that he will always greet you with a smile, and he makes sure to remember everything about his regulars. If you wonder why its called 'Love' Crepe, you will only be wondering before your first visit.

Now for the crepe of Love Crepe. Everything that can be is Saijo local: the rice flour, eggs, kiwis, strawberries, lettuce, onions, and of course the local artesian spring water of which Saijo is famous. Most everything else comes from within Ehime. The crepe recipe is all mixed and made by hand. With various brandies, liqueurs and a few secret ingredients, the quality and authenticity of the crepe literally cannot be topped by any shop, restaurant, or café outside of metropolitan areas.

The crepe fillings come in an astounding variety. A dozen kinds of top quality gourmet gelato, a variety of fruits, all manner of creams, chocolates, syrups, sweet beans, mochi, and candied toppings abound. There are often seasonal offerings as well. As for non-dessert crepes, there are also savory crepes all including lettuce, onions, and sauces. For these, there are offerings such as hot dogs, hamburger, salmon, tuna, egg salad, and more. There are many specials (for different times of day), where one can buy a crepe and drink together in a set.

The drinks are a store in themselves. The coffee and espresso machine are both Italian. The machine, a La Marcozzo, is top of the line. The coffee, Illy, is sold in import stores in Japan for 3 times the price of the UCC that nearly all other coffee shops sell. Despite the quality, the price of a drink is absolutely average. He does iced, with milk or cream, hot, drip, frappacino; everything. There are also fresh squeezed juices, blended fruit drinks and smoothies to choose from. Because Love Crepe is open late, you can even buy some Heartland beer, or a variety of mixed cocktail drinks.

Love Crepe is a contributor to local business and culture. All of its product is purchased from or through local companies. Yuuji is raising his family in the same neighborhood as his shop, and carries the neighborhood's float during Saijo Matsuri ever year. Love Crepe is a member of several local business associations, and also does events and special campaigns with the nearby high school. All in all if you are going to be in Saijo, there is the perfect place to stop by whenever you are in the heart of town.

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