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When you drink coffee or tea in Japan, do you prefer the chains like Starbucks, Tully’s, Doutor, etc, or do you prefer the traditional “kissaten?”

48 Comments
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48 Comments
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Kissaten? I dunno what they are like now because I use the chains, but the smoke-filled ones of old only provided a half cup of UCC coffee which was expensive too. Forget that.

15 ( +22 / -7 )

Well, instead of a sarky comment, it is better to educate me, Resident. Kissaten always meant "coffee shop" from the time I first entered Japan nearly 40 years ago. It was the word written on every one of the establishments I describe. What do you imagine it means?

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Way back when, when kissatens were kissatens, I fondly remember sitting down, reading the Japan Times, with gentle jazz on HiFi playing in the background, drinking a sublime individually crafted coffee.

Those were the days!

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Neither. I make the best.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Where's the third choice — independent coffee shops that aren’t traditional kissaten?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

No tobacco no smoking is the first must. Poured coffee is what a I look for in real cups. Brought to the table.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

The cigarette smoke drives me out of Japan's kissaten. StarBucks was a fantastic and radical innovation when it arrived here about 20 years. The only eating-drinking establishment that was smoke free! Yeah, bring it on.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Where's the third choice — independent coffee shops that aren’t traditional kissaten?

Fukuoka has some great hole-in-the-wall small coffee shops that just rock! Excellent quality coffee and the ambiance is great. Don't tell a lot of people because I want to keep it all to myself.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

UCC black out of the vending machine. Like a true salaryman.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Coffee is a subject like beer. Everyone imagines they are some kind of expert.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

My apologies, Resident, I was a bit cutting. I had not had my morning coffee yet. I guess I entered so many of the kind of kissaten I mentioned that I gave up the quest when the chains came around. But, if you know anywhere decent in Kansai, I would be prepared to give it a try.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Whichever is a non smoking one. I leave the moment I sense the tiniest cigarettes reeking smell.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

A bit of both, for different reasons. If I want to enjoy a cup of coffee, I'll go to independent cafes/kissaten. If I just want to get some work done I'll go to a chain store and get one of those big drinks that I can slowly sip over a couple of hours. Expectations are different.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I feel like stopping by some local kissaten who offer some specialty. Glad to know that many "indies" kissatens have been able to survive the covid-hit economic crisis.

The major chain cafes are also ok for me as their products, service and ordering procedures are usually standardized regardless of places, thus carefree. The same latte is available across the country. It looks like Starbucks is popular and dominating in the Japanese cafe market as its cafes are often crowded with visitors.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I make my own tea and am happy to carry a flask of it, on a cold day. If it's warm, water is fine.

If meeting someone, Starbucks, as they do soya milk and are non-smoking.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If you think a proper Kissaten serves you up (or ever served up) half cups of UCC coffee, then you've never been to one.

The only chain that gets any of my money is Segafredo. All the rest just serve muddy dish water.

3 ( +13 / -10 )

Why are Americans so picky about coffee when their coffee is mostly garbage?

3 ( +15 / -12 )

local cafes have more charm and are cozier than famous chain stores.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Back in the day I preferred a retro kissaten with some signature lunch menu. I do not like the plastic ikea-based chains because I personally find them sterile. Atmosphere is important to me in a coffee shop even if you pay more. Just something about them.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

SInce the pandemic I think I've been to a coffee shop once.

We've pretty much stopped going out anywhere. I drink coffee at home in the morning on weekdays and at work in the AM.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Of course the Kissaten, not all, but some. Do you really expect something near to coffee when buying at a big chain that buys cheapest possible to follow cost performance and with the only duty of having to enjoy owners and shareholders? They even drive those fair trade campaigns for a better image. So what kind of coffee beans and quality can you expect to get when buying and selling in mass, but paying the cheapest plus a fair trade percentage so it looks better, but still the sum has to be at minimum cost for ensuring a high profit marge? Exactly, you won’t get even only one tasty coffee bean.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I’d rather see a 3rd choice for the independent family run cafes. You can actually relax and enjoy your experience without the commercialism and feel good that you’re supporting your community.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kissaten coffee in most cases is definitely better tasting, but the atmosphere? No thank you! Some still allow you to smoke even though you're not supposed to be able to, and forget about take-out coffee, of course. So, all told, I stick to the chains. Granted, I sometimes have to fight against students or the elderly who want to spend the entire day in a seat if they can get one, but still.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

 I can not understand how Starbuck survives.

They are in the sugar trade masquerading as a coffee company.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kyushubill does indeed have the most superior alternative.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I've had some great pour-over coffee at The Roastery in Harajuku. Expensive, but damn, it's good.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I can't vote because I go to both depending on what I want and where I am. JT usually offers such a third option. Why not for this poll?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Probably Komeda if I do...but that's very rarely!

Make my own at home !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh, and since I can't vote, I have no idea what the outcome is. Can anyone shed some light on that?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Kissaten's are great but at this point I don't even know where one is located off the top of my head. Look around you, other than restaurants how many single style establishments are still around.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

apart from that produced by my DeLonghi espresso machine..... Spaice Coffee in Katsuura.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nowadays more kissaten are becoming non-smoking. Some of them are quite nice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

dan Mar. 2  07:15 am JST

Probably Komeda if I do...but that's very rarely!

Make my own at home !

Komeda? Surely you jest! Coffee tastes are subjective, but I dunno, Komeda...?

You're likely to stay on a winner with making it at home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Whipped cream and lots of sugar at double the price!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The chains are quicker, and I can charge my phone at the same time, so chains get my vote. I'm not really picky about coffee either.

In fact, I'm in a Dotour right now! :D

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I usually drink coffee at home but if I want one outside of my home/morning window, I just want a cup of coffee; Lawson's or 7-11* for all I care. Starbucks if available.

The last thing I want to do is pay ¥800 to wait 10 minutes while some bohemian makes me 3 sips of coffee in a moonshine still.

*you youngsters are lucky that they actually have coffee machines in convenience stores now where you can get a fresh cup. When I lived in Japan 2003-2007 all they had was that crappy coffee that comes in cans.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I like Nishimura always good cakes.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I only drink coffee at home.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If you mean FamilyMart and 7 & i holding as chains it would be the best off the so called chains. Starbuck is awful coffee. Over priced and under strength compared to 210 yen at the convenience store which has a good strength and is freshly ground in front of you by the coffee dispenser machines. 100% better coffee than the chains. Or I have UCC in a drip Fittler or stove top expresso pot. Still 100% better than Starbucks. I can not understand how Starbuck survives.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

none.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

And what is with the buckets size cups, It easy way to tell the Americans, they all have these bucket in their hands. The same with their suit cases oversize and 30Kg plus.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Not a sarky comment at all @Moonraker. I'm sorry, I can only offer 30 years worth of opinion compared to you. But, obviously what we consider to be a true traditional coffee shop where the coffee made is a source of pride differs.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

自動販売機 is the way to go!

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

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