Coffee is loved all over the world. Japan is no exception. According to a survey, nearly 70% of Japanese are coffee lovers, overwhelming green tea and black tea. Why is coffee so popular in Japan, the country of tea? We consider the Japanese coffee culture that has developed independently.
History of coffee in Japan
Coffee was introduced to Japan in the early Edo period. It is said that the Dutch merchant brought it to Dejima, Nagasaki, the only place that was allowed to trade with other countries when Japan was in national isolation.
The first coffee drinking experience in Japan was written by Ota Nanpo, a literary figure representing Edo culture. In his essay "Keiho Yutetsu," he commented, "I cannot stand the taste because of its burnt smell." As this sentence symbolizes, at first it didn't fit the Japanese taste and was not accepted.
Japanese coffee culture flourished in the Meiji era. When the country opened and the wave of westernization rushed in, coffee was actively adopted because of the longing for Western culture. A number of coffee shops opened and it is said that cultural people all visited there.
Since then, as the number of coffee shops has increased all over the country, the habit of drinking coffee has gradually taken root.
Why do Japanese people like coffee?
The Japanese, for better or for worse, have a national character of "like new things" and have a temperament to actively incorporate the cultures of other countries while valuing traditions. Furthermore, they are not only good at incorporating new things, but also good at customizing it to own style.
Coffee, which was a symbol of Western culture, probably tickled the hearts of Japanese people. Coffee is now an indispensable beverage for many Japanese.
Stopping by a coffee shop you'll have a variety of choices, from hot to ice, drip to espresso, black coffee without sugar or milk to heavy sweets.
The level of canned coffee sold at vending machines and convenience stores is also high. There is a wide variety of products such as black, sweetened, and milk.
At homes and offices, "instant coffee" which is simply added with hot water and mixed, and "one cup brewing drip pack" which allows you to enjoy authentic taste without special tools, are also popular.
The reason why coffee has developed uniquely in Japan in this way maybe that the spirit of manufacturing to pursue perfection in every detail is at the root.
Drip coffee is the mainstream in Japan
While the espresso style is popular in Europe, drip coffee is the mainstream in Japan. In the old-fashioned coffee shop, coffee is carefully brewed one by one with a hand drip.
It is a famous story that Blue Bottle Coffee from the United States, the igniter of third wave coffee and also called "Apple in the coffee world", is influenced by Japanese coffee shops. It sticks to the style of brewing coffee one by one by hand drip.
Why is drip coffee the mainstream in Japan? Perhaps it is because the aesthetics of the "hospitality" of the tea ceremony remain strong. At the tea ceremony, we make tea in front of the guests and do our best to serve the best cup.
The best part of the tea ceremony is not just drinking tea, but also enjoying the arrangement of the tea room and the beauty of the vessels. Many Japanese coffee shops, which have evolved from the tea ceremony, are rich in individuality, with particular attention to interior decoration, furniture, and even a single cup.
If you stop by a Japanese coffee shop, you may be surprised at the detailed service. That hospitality may have come from the desire to make customers happy.
There are various ways to enjoy coffee in Japan that are not found in other countries.
How about finding a new way to enjoy coffee, following the Japanese coffee culture? It must make the break time more fulfilling.