Rich in texture, refinement, and centuries-old techniques of pleasing the sweet tooth of its people, the world of Japanese traditional sweets offers so much to explore. Here are five classic Japanese sweets that you may have never thought would go well with coffee—but I assure you they do and invite you to try for yourself. Once you’ve had a taste, you might be snacking a bit more than sipping on your freshly brewed java.
Literally translated as “black stick,” this traditional snack from the Kyushu region uses raw sugar, eggs, and flour to create a sublime partner for a strong coffee. Basically like a stick of sponge cake that has absorbed raw sugar, Kurobo remains soft and aerated on the inside though its exterior is covered in a crisp sugar coating. This is the perfect Japanese sweet for dunking, especially into a strong cup o’ joe where the bitterness will balance the deep, rich sweetness of the raw sugar. The contrast of crispy exterior and soft, foamy interior makes each bite a textural joy. Although it won’t win any beauty contests, kurobo wins my vote for best Japanese coffee partner.
Where to buy: In the regional treats section of supermarkets and department stores.
How much: Around ¥300 for a pack of 10.
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