In 2013, Kenneth Shoji started coffee brand % Arabica as a small café in Hong Kong. Then, in 2014, the brand opened a global flagship store in Kyoto, Japan, under its "See the world through coffee" motto. One decade later, there are now more than 130 % Arabica stores all across Asia, the Middle East, and in major cities like New York City and London. The striking % logo and store design capture the spirit of Japanese minimalism, which advocates for the purging of unnecessary things. Indeed, the brand’s strategic location selection in iconic places coupled with its coffee quality control system are seen as qualities that helped % Arabica quickly become a rising global franchise.
Coffee is widely perceived as a favorite food. This is based on the assumption that the best coffee varies depending on the taste of who is drinking it. Some say that any coffee that gives them a jolt of energy is the best while others might say a quick cup served right away from a convenience store or an automated coffee kiosk is the best. Whether it’s a slowly brewed cup at home or a blended coffee topped with rich whipped cream, coffee can be perfectly tailored to suit each individual—a unique facet and, dare I say, privilege that only exists with coffee. The multilayered aspects of coffee have gained so much attention after the so-called third wave elevated the status of coffee in the world of gastronomy. Starbucks, Nespresso, and specialty coffee brands all have a role to play here. Just as a higher level of the culinary culture of a country does not mean that street food or fast food loses value, coffee is also diversifying to better serve these different needs rather than compete for ultimate superiority.
% Arabica’s target customers are cosmopolitan. I thought our café should be in a location that our global trotting customers found interesting, which is why we opened our global flagship store in Arashiyama, Kyoto. We never open a café in a place where there is nothing impressive. - Kenneth Shoji, Founder of % Arabica -
When it comes to the daily life vibe, the café space usually focuses on creating comfortable, home-like place so that customers can stay long. % Arabica, however, somewhat intentionally creates non-daily elements with an aim to facilitate revisits or leave a specific impression on customers. In other words, the specialty coffee brand clearly shows where to focus in terms of the appropriate length of stay. - Keita Aono, Chief designer and director, no.10 -
MAGAZINE B ISSUE NO.92 % ARABICA LANGUAGEENGLISH SIZE170 X 240 MM PAGES172 DATE 2023. 02. 16. ISBN 9791198108500