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Coffee Life in Japan (California Studies in Food and Culture #36)

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  54 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
This fascinating book—part ethnography, part memoir—traces Japan’s vibrant café society over one hundred and thirty years. Merry White traces Japan’s coffee craze from the turn of the twentieth century, when Japan helped to launch the Brazilian coffee industry, to the present day, as uniquely Japanese ways with coffee surface in Europe and America. White’s book takes up ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by University of California Press (first published April 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Darren
Jul 16, 2013 Darren rated it really liked it
For some reason one tends to associate Japan with a tea culture and not coffee. Oh the misleading power of assumption. For those who shared this reviewer's ignorance of Japanese coffee culture, this could be an interesting work to peruse.

Written in an academic style but accessible to a tenacious reader, this book takes a look at the café society in Japan in the past 130 years and how coffee has helped to shape Japanese society in different ways. It might seem far-fetched yet coffee has played a
...more
Tim
Sep 30, 2016 Tim rated it really liked it
This was a super interesting book. Japan is one of the world's major coffee consumers and has a pretty unique history and culture of coffee.

The author does a good job in covering both this historical and social aspects that make Japan's coffee scene unique as well as how coffee unseated tea as the caffeinated beverage of choice in Japan.

I do think it could have stood to be a little expanded. The book mentions Starbucks quite often but doesn't spend much time on how western chains have fit into J
...more
Nina Peck
Sep 10, 2016 Nina Peck rated it really liked it
I went into this with the expectation of an ethnographic text on coffee and cafes in Japan, and that's pretty much what I got. It is dry and academic at times, but interesting nonetheless. Full disclosure: I found this book in the citations of the Wikipedia article for coffee jelly, and I bought it because I really like Japanese cafes, because they don't necessarily serve espresso (bleh!). It was really interesting to read it and kind of compare it mentally with past experiences in Japan, and ...more
Richard Janzen
Jul 06, 2013 Richard Janzen rated it liked it
Academic style of writing. Even though I found the topic very interesting, and learned a lot about the coffee history and culture in Japan, I had to work hard to get through the book. I don't think this is the for the casual reader. It was worth the read for me, as it brought back memories of numerous Japanese who meticulously made cups of coffee for me, the most fascinating method was the siphon method. I will look for more interesting cafes in Japan on future visits!
Colin Roy
Jul 19, 2013 Colin Roy rated it liked it
A great little read about Japan's history with coffee.
A bit breezy and light with it's cultural ideas, it still presents some interesting insights into the role coffee and cafes play in Japan.
It also describes some fascinating cafes, which will be useful to anyone who loves coffee and is heading to Japan.
GustafR
Aug 12, 2015 GustafR rated it it was amazing

Dense and fascinating anthropological study of coffee culture in Japan, and how the various locations/cafes to consume coffee is formed by the context and needs of the surrounding society. Have implications far beyond either Japan or coffee. I'm still thinking about it regularly, three years after first reading it. Highly recommended!
Alana
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Dec 17, 2015
Claire
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Dec 03, 2016
Jenae Monasterial
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Guillermo E. Narvaez
Guillermo E. Narvaez rated it it was amazing
Sep 14, 2015
Robert Hudder
Oct 26, 2012 Robert Hudder rated it liked it
I thought it was interesting and made me think about my relationship to cafes.
Limingz
Limingz rated it liked it
Jul 12, 2015
Ocean Gebhardt
Ocean Gebhardt rated it it was amazing
Apr 03, 2015
Santiago Giraldo
Mar 19, 2013 Santiago Giraldo rated it it was amazing
Great book on coffee in Japan!
Michael Wright
Michael Wright rated it liked it
Apr 01, 2013
Nichalee
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Jan 03, 2014
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Aug 25, 2013
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Jul 07, 2015
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Apr 19, 2015
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Jul 22, 2015
Tiffany Lopinsky
Tiffany Lopinsky rated it it was amazing
Nov 18, 2014
Hua
Hua rated it it was amazing
Jun 28, 2015
Caitlin
Caitlin rated it liked it
Apr 24, 2013
Bruce
Jul 25, 2015 Bruce rated it liked it
Shelves: japan, food-cooking
Enjoyed the topic, but found the writing style a bit of a slog.
Dean Tambling
Dean Tambling rated it liked it
Sep 01, 2013
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