A Yen For Coffee

Written by Lori Thiessen

When I think of Japan, I have a tourist’s romantic view. Visions of kimono-clad ladies, cherry trees in full-bloom, the beautiful and elaborate tea ceremony cloud the reality of modern Japanese life. Apparently, coffee drinking has become quite fashionable there. In fact, Japan is the 3rd largest importer of coffee, just behind the USA and Germany.

The Dutch brought coffee to Japan in the late 1800’s. The Japanese found it appropriate to drink coffee, considering it is a Western drink, when discussing Western topics. But these days, the Japanese prize coffee for itself and for the caffeine boost.

Coffee is available in many ways in Japan; through vending machines, and coffee shops called kissaten. The Japanese brew their coffee strong and they don’t generally offer milk for those who are faint of heart.

Starbucks began their conquest of Japan in 1996 and they set a new standard in coffee quality. More and more Japanese coffee drinkers are demanding higher quality in their coffee and they are willing to pay for it. A cup of coffee at a kissaten can cost as much as $8.00US.

But there are more coffee chains alive and well in Japan other than Starbucks. Doutor Coffee is one of the biggest coffee shop chains and it is Japanese owned. It serves coffee priced well below Starbucks and there is a shop at nearly every train station.  As for other chains there are Beck’s, Tully’s and Caffe Veloce all which are there to serve and encourage the Japanese taste for coffee.

But coffee is more than just a taste, it is a performance in some upscale cafe’s. Here is a video of the now popular syphon method which was derived from the old vacuum style of brewing coffee. Enjoy!

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Until Next Time,

May Your Coffee Always Be Freshly Brewed!

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