Coffee culture shock… in Japan

A Grande dry cappuccino,with whole milk, long shot! Extra hot! and Cinnamon on top!

That is how I liked to order my cup at a starbucks in New York! And the barista made it for me without questioning nothing…

Now I ask the same in a Starbucks in Japan and either the barista looked like I just spoke unknown words, or I am asking impossible task to a person who is just working for a coffee shop… the other day some barista who used to live in the US told me there is no long shot available at Starbucks coffee in Japan…

What!? I can not believe it!! (Long shots mean that when you make espresso, you put a bit more hot water to make a shot.) The barista told me they just push buttons to make their coffee so the amount of hot water cannot be adjusted..-

OMG really? Starbucks Coffee!? You are not the same in Japan!! how dare you!?

I wonder if coffee is a local thing… Even starbucks could not offer the same for the world…

Actually, there are a few other things I am shocked by the Japanese coffee culture. Here are some examples…

  • The opening time of the coffee shop is late. Too late indeed.
  • In coffee shops, they often roast delicious coffee beans in-house, and it is not that rare to find out the barista studied the most beautiful method of making coffee… but then they do not offer real milk… they often offer this thing called “coffee fresh” which is just a hydrogenated oil. Yuck!!
  • Their coffee cups are small.

First of all, the coffee drink I know is a drink that we often drink in the morning. The early morning should be the prime time of a coffee shop… but not in Japan.

People line up at a New York’s Starbucks before work. Even ordinary coffee shops start early in the morning. That’s just how it is in NYC…

A little while ago, I was supposed to meet with co-workes at 7 am to go on a business trip together. I arrived the meeting place maybe 20min. to 7am, so I had a bit of time… and I saw a coffee shop there, a well-known franchised coffeeshop Mr. Donut… I walked over to the store to only know it was closed because they open 9am or 10am, something like that… I remember I stood there a few second because I could not believe what I just read… Who is going to buy coffee at such a time! ! ! ? ? And I remember feeling a bit of anger on top of frustration at that time…

OK, now, let’s image google “morning commute in NYC”… here are some pics I found immediately.

https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/29/post-irene-commuting-tales/

A coffee cup in hand!!!

I am feeling the culture shock … specifically the coffee culture shock in Japan…

And what’s that creamer which does not even need refrigeration and have such a long shelf life … It ’s not milk, what is it then??? Not so sure… so you would still use that in your artisanally hand dripped coffee!?

In the US, it is not rare that coffee shops offer all types of milk… from organic milk to all percentage of fat to … various alternative options such as hemp, cashew, and almond milk.

I live in a Colombians neighborhood where the coffee is their vital culture… the coffee of course is great and the real milk is carefully steamed even in a diner or at a “Bodega” coffee stand in a corner! I must say they know what they are doing!!

And finally, in Japan, just like everything else… the Ordinary coffee cup also is small. Very small…

If you come to New York someday, let’s have breakfast and have coffee in a diner ~. I’m sure you will be shocked but in a good way!

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