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What's your favorite coffee shop chain in Japan?

42 Comments
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42 Comments
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Simply and thankfully for the fact that it is non-smoking and I can thus bring my tender lungs and those of my children, I choose Starbucks. Getting a seat is tough though.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

After mouthfuls of smoke, who cares what coffee tastes like. That is, if one can taste it at all..

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Actually favor the Segafredo cappucino, but the smokers keep me mostly away. At least in my neighborhood Segafredo the smoking section is upfront so your clothes and lungs breathe in the foulness while you're waiting for your espresso. Ugh!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Just a question, does anybody frequent a good local, independent Cafe on a regular basis?

If so, where is it?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I think Starbucks has become popular in Japan because of the fact they ARE non-smoking, which many people in Japan now prefer. Maybe this may finally force all the family-run kissaten shops to do the same in regards to banning smoking.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Excelsior or Cafe de Crie.

Cafe San Marco at times.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

falseflagsteve: "I dunno, seems like these places are mostly full of women when i see them."

What a shame, eh? being surrounded by women. :)

Anyway, I voted Starbucks. I much prefer the sandwiches made at Doutor, truth be told, but I don't like the fact that the place reeks of tobacco while I'm trying to eat it. While the chatter at Starbucks can sometimes lead to what was meant to be a relaxing time being an annoyance, I still like the atmosphere and the fact that there's no smoking allowed. Don't like the way they often group the tables in Tully's, but the products are not bad (still usually have a smoking section, though, and sometimes one you have to walk THROUGH to get to the non-smoking section). Seattle's Best isn't mentioned at all, and it's not bad (again, though it has smoking sections).

3 ( +6 / -3 )

People turn up their noses at Sutaba because they are the biggest chain and it reeks of a monopoly. But they are the only chain in Japan that is entirely non-smoking. They also tend to have larger stores, comfy chairs, and I would say a pretty decent drink selection.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Pronto is a coffee chain?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Barstucks for the reliable WiFi; the ¥100 second cup and clean air.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

anywhere that has a smoking section.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I love me some "Staba"! But Hachioji Eki is about to open its fourth Starbucks. There are two in front of the station, one in the back, and a new one will open INSIDE the station very soon. Is that really necessary?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

McD's.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"Dennys is very good, it has a choice of coffee and other drinks, from Y220 inc free refills"

Free refills of coffee at Denny's? I did not know that, I will go there tomorrow and have 4-5 cups!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If smoking wasn't permitted in Dotour, I would have chosen them. The food isn't bad for the price.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

NO SMOKING. ANYWHERE. My first criteria. Smoking chambers help but it is still not good as nicotine clouds escape and the staff still has to breath in that chemical cloud. The total self-centeredness of smokers never fails to depress me.

I've been finding local individually owned coffee shops with zero smoking as much as possible. Amazing that the chains don't see the huge popularity of Starbucks with its non-smoking policy and convert immediately. Smokers can just get their drug fix at home or somewhere else, not inside a building with other people's lungs and children etc.

I really wish there were signs on the doors to indicate 100% non-smoking places.

Anyway, thanks to the comments mentioning other places I have not heard of.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think Tully's has better decor, but I have voted for $ because they're easy to find, I like what they sell, and they're non-smoking. Tully's and $ both sell coffee beans, but the former doesn't (or didn't used to) have any rainforest alliance/ organic options like the latter does.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Shouldn't there be one more choice-- no chain. Mass produced coffee is just that, and we can't expect it to be delicious or more than bland monoculture.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Until they start enacting and enforcing loitering laws, my answer is none. Can never get a seat because of all the patrons who buy the smallest item there then study, read, whatever for hours on end taking up space that other paying customers could use. Gets my ire everytime.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I quite like Doutor these days. But when I first came to Japan I hated it due to intense amount of smoke billowing out of it . I hated that smoke and then I was smoker! The Doutor in Shibuya I used to go to was like entering a raging tire factory fire, it was so bad. You could literally spot the shop from several blocks away due to the pall of smoke perpetually hanging over it. I actually quite smoking for a few months.

These days most of their stores seem to have smoking rooms so you can at least breathe in them. Plus their drinks and food aren't grossly overpriced unlike Starbucks.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Of these chains, I like Doutor. But my favorite chain coffee is Kohi Kan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

don't drink coffee, but i voted doutor coz i did enjoy grabbing a ice chocolate to sip while on a shinkansen.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Dennys is very good, it has a choice of coffee and other drinks, from Y220 inc free refills, their seats are very comfortable, staff come to your table, free wifi, fast service, and fast turnover if there ever is a Q.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Personally, I don't believe in over-priced coffee (anything more than 150yen)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I said Segafredo, (and Tully's would be my second) although I probably go to Starbucks the most, since there are so many of them and they are all non-smoking.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Coffee and decor-Tully's occasionally *$ is okay... Depends on the location tho sandwiches-Doutor

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dotour!!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Saza is the best in Kanto.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"People turn up their noses at Sutaba because they are the biggest chain and it reeks of a monopoly. But they are the only chain in Japan that is entirely non-smoking"

Never heard of Starbucks, eh?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

My kitchen is my favorite coffee shop in Japan. Most coffee shops don't brew great espresso, while I do.

Hmmm, think I'll go and brew a few cups...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Does Starbucks sell coffee? I thought they just sold luke-warm milkshakes with coffee extract. Well that's what it all tastes like. Coffee for people who don't like coffee.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Never heard of Starbucks, eh?

They WERE talking about Starbucks. Sutaba is the Japanese pronunciation

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Starbucks has the best vibe but I think Tullys tastes better.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"starbucks buys the lowest bean grade then sprays coffee flavor on them............"

Are you serious? I can believe it, but it's still surprising...........

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I have barista / latte art / coffee roasting qualifications, and a Rocket Giotto at home (¥300,000+ machine) and can safely say the best shops are notchains. $tarbucks is an offensive take on the word "coffee" - although it is convenient. They call them "baristas" yet more often than not manage to burn the milk! They would not be hired at a real cafe back home. Did you know they use a coffee bean that's much lower in caffeine than usual?

The only acceptable chains would be Illy or Renoir (amazing cold drip brew).

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Why isn't Miyakoshiya listed here? It serves up the very best brew in Japan! Most of their coffee shops are located in Sapporo, although they do a few shops in Tokyo.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

They all make pretty ordinary 'chain-style' coffee. True aficionados of coffee wouldn't be caught dead in a coffee chain store. On saying that...Japan is the only place I've ever had kopi luwark and the service in Japanese Starbucks is excellent. But, if it is great coffee you want it is down to the barista and you'll just have to find the right one through trial and error.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I dunno, seems like these places are mostly full of women when i see them. My wife and mother in law like Doutor. I don 't usually drink coffee while out, i will sometimes indulge in the odd Blendy drip coffee at home.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

why support a american garbage coffee maker, starbucks buys the lowest bean grade then sprays coffee flavor on them............

this is just sad

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Only the true connoisseur knows that nicotine plus coffee is the best combination of all.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Despite the fact that their CEO has decided to get the company involved in the gay agenda, Starbucks (in Japan at least) is my favorite out of the bunch.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Kissaten is my favorite.

Starbucks is a crappy, cattle-herding institution whose 'coffee' tastes like ****! It's like a cubicle coffee shop! Excelsior (Dotour) is light years better than Star Bucks and their smokers lounge is better than any cafe's non-smoking area!

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

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