The Dario Hernandez blend from Guatemala is strong. Delightful, with a hint of…tomato?
Nope. The package says tangerine, orangina, and melons. Odd, for coffee.
This doesn’t appear to be unusual for Bar Zingaro’s coffee selections. The Fulgen Expresso nearby lists ingredients like dark chocolate, red apple, citrus, and almond along with the coffee beans. I sampled the Karatu blend next. It’s from Kenya, from the Gitwe Co-operative. Blackberry, gooseberry, currants, and watermelon are mixed with the coffee. It is still strong, but smoother. Good coffee, and it had better be for ¥530 a cup.
Bar Zingaro is located on the second floor of the Nakano Broadway building. It’s only been open a year, according to the barista/bartender, Eo. “Like ‘Captain Eo,'” he says. He is young and skinny and has a number 3 tattooed on his left hand in the web between his thumb and forefinger. Not a hiragana “ro”, as I originally thought. He doesn’t explain what it means, and I don’t ask.
Instead, we converse in that odd Japlish mishmash language that evolves in Japanese establishments frequented by foreigners. The bar/coffee shop/art gallery is a collaboration between artist Takashi Murakami and Fuglen, a small chain of coffee shops and cocktail bars in Oslo, Norway. Bar Zingaro features a laid-back aesthetic of comfy couches, wooden tables, and intimate spaces with which to enjoy a cup of java (or something stronger) with friends. Art is also a strong presence in the space, a comfortable addition that does not overwhelm the viewer nor disturb the cozy atmosphere.
Despite our relative language difficulties, Eo makes good conversation. We talk a bit about the coffee and other drinks on the menu. The coffee is from all over the world, by way of the roasteries of Oslo. The tea likewise has exotic origins, primarily from China, but also India and elsewhere. I’m not sure what makes cola “organic,” but they have it. And if the coffee is any way to judge the quality of Bar Zingaro’s offerings, it has to be good.
There is also a decent selection of beer, sake, and wine. Not everything above the bar appeared to be on the menu, so you’ll have to ask if you want a snootful. I amused Eo with a tale of my first encounter with the Denki Bran brandy, which went down smooth but returned with a mighty technicolor yawn one foggy New Year’s Eve. Similar tales might have been spun, but business began to pick up–Bar Zingaro appears to be a popular place. And with coffee that good, I’d say that popularity is well-earned.
Bar Zingaro Location Information
Nearest Station: Nakano Station (plan your route at the link and click on the Google Map below for walking directions). Nakano Broadway 2nd floor, access through the Sunmall at Nakano train station.