The Unique Coffee Culture of Japan
Once you step into the cozy streets of Japan, you’ll discover a unique coffee culture that perfectly blends age-old traditions with new and exciting trends. The love for coffee in Japan is a rich mix of history, modernization, and varied experiences, ensuring every cup tells a story.
The coffee bean first arrived in Japan in the mid-1800s. The Dutch introduced it and started what would become a deep and unique coffee culture. Despite the early hesitancy, characterized by criticisms of its overcooked taste, pioneers like Tadao Ueshima gradually transformed perceptions.
Ever since, coffee has become a regular part of life in Japan.
Coffee Experiences: From Solitude to Socializing
Interestingly, coffee and tea in Japan cater to different social contexts. Coffee is often enjoyed in solitude, whereas tea ceremonies knit social bonds and promote togetherness. Traditional coffee houses, known as “Kissaten”, provide a peaceful retreat for individuals to enjoy a cuppa, accompanied by a plethora of delightful snacks and desserts.
Various Kissaten harbor different themes – from classical music to the vibrant world of manga, offering a diverse coffee experience.
Click here to learn more about the unique differences between Japan’s coffee and tea culture
A Palette of Unique Coffee Flavors
Coffee lovers are fascinated by the variety of choices in Japan.
1- Filter Coffee: A soft, sweet coffee made with a paper filter.
2- Egg Coffee: A mix of coffee, a raw egg, and sometimes banana or avocado. It’s like a smoothie!
3- Coffee Jelly: Jiggly coffee-flavored jelly in a glass of milk
4- Cloudy Coffee: Fluffy cotton candy melts into the coffee, making it sweeter in taste
5- Japanese Iced Coffee: Strong coffee dripped over ice to make it cool and refreshing
A Quick Coffee on the Go
Japan is always ahead in trends, and coffee is no exception. Since the 1990s, people in Japan have enjoyed drip coffee – easy and quick to make just by adding hot water. In big cities like Tokyo and Osaka, you can even grab a can of hot or cold coffee from a vending machine if you’re in a hurry!
Minding Your Coffee Manners
Even with all these fun and modern coffee options, there are some traditional rules on how to drink coffee in Japan.
– The spoon should not be left in the glass after stirring, but placed on a saucer.
– You don’t drink the coffee as long as the food is in your mouth.
– Coffee is consumed silently, in small sips.
– If you’re drinking coffee with milk, the saucer should be left on the table and the cup must be brought to the mouth with the right hand.
– The saucer should be held in the left hand if the coffee is without the milk.
– Do not put a finger through the ear of the cup and do not push out your little finger.
– Cookies and other desserts should not be dipped in coffee.
Latest Coffee Trends in Japan
Today, Japan stands as the world’s third-largest coffee importer, bringing in a hefty 450 thousand tons each year. It has secured its place among the top 7 global retail coffee markets, as per Euromonitor data. Despite its climate being unsuitable for coffee bean cultivation, the industry continues to flourish and climb global rankings.
Adapting to the evolving demands of consumers, companies annually invest in premium coffee varieties, for instance, acquiring up to 90% of “Jamaica Blue Mountain” and several varieties from Indonesia, Vietnam, and Ethiopia. Resourceful business minds are even purchasing coffee plantations and utilizing their technological advancements to cultivate coffee.
Moreover, Japan is recognized by experts for producing top-notch coffee equipment, including espresso machines, crucibles, siphons, cold brew racks, and various accessories.
Time to Grow your Business in Japan
Japan’s coffee market is an exciting industry that provides a lot of opportunities for businesses looking to expand their reach. We are committed to helping you enter the Japanese market with our End-2-End Japan Market Entry Services.