Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Before the Coffee Gets Cold (Before the Coffee Gets Cold, #1)” as Want to Read:
Before the Coffee Gets Cold (Before the Coffee Gets Cold, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

(Before the Coffee Gets Cold #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  68,850 ratings  ·  10,895 reviews
What would you change if you could go back in time?

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.

In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of th
Paperback, 213 pages
Published September 19th 2019 by Picador (first published December 6th 2015)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Before the Coffee Gets Cold, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Cat Although the book has elements of magical realism and the whimsical pretense of time travel, the book moreso focuses on a collection of characters dea…moreAlthough the book has elements of magical realism and the whimsical pretense of time travel, the book moreso focuses on a collection of characters dealing with adult relationships (Girlfriend/Boyfriend going abroad for work; Mother/daughter; aging Wife/Husband with dementia; etc) and reflections on those relationships that a middle schooler might find trivial or tedious.
From what I could remember, there wasn't explicit content.
A middle schooler might be able to read it, but whether or not they'd enjoy it, or find it relevant, is another question.(less)
Laureline I think it is better to read it in order. While you'll not feel lost if you don't, you'll get a better understanding of the characters if you do.…moreI think it is better to read it in order. While you'll not feel lost if you don't, you'll get a better understanding of the characters if you do.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  68,850 ratings  ·  10,895 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Before the Coffee Gets Cold (Before the Coffee Gets Cold, #1)
Despite the appealing subject, the writing ruined the reading for me. It is written more as a theater play than anything else, with the right setup and characters. Everything is explained and the whole story takes place in the coffee shop.

The blurb is very accurate, so I won’t get into details. However, nothing in it to keep my interest. The characters are like puppets, their dialogues disjointed, the actions artificial.

The time travel part is more of a disguise here, I wouldn’t classify it in
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Despite a tantalizing premise the execution of time travel with ever added on new rules is sloppy. And the underlying morale of the four stories is basically highly conservative in my opinion.

The underlying messaging that grated on me
To kick off in respect to my last sentence I mean the following:
(view spoiler)
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing

No question this is as good as everyone keeps saying. Absolutely beautifully simply written, incredibly unique especially on such an over used idea like time travel, absolutely tragic but also incredibly happy and dealing with some tough subjects almost everyone can empathize with, honestly one of the few books I can call INSPIRING.

Absolutely loved this wow
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
A slow-moving, but beautifully paced novel about time-travel and questioning the idea that if you were given an opportunity to visit the past, would you? Even though there is nothing that you can change? Even if there are strict measurements set in place making it seem almost pointless to even take part in the activity?

This story left me slightly overwhelmed. This was such a character-driven story with so much heart and puts you in the shoes of those characters and you become connected to their
Dr. Appu Sasidharan
Oct 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Summary (Throwback Review)
This is a beautifully written novel happening inside a retro cafe where time travel is possible. It has four different stories interwoven together with characters who have their individual existence yet perfectly complement each other.

Three things I learned from this book

1) The effect of Alzheimer’s disease in marital and family life
In Alzheimer’s disease, the subtle and sporadic deterioration of patients brain function will be a very arduous phase in
This was pretty lovely.

At times, it was very lovely. My very favorite things are lovely things, and simple, wonderful magical realism is my favorite hard-to-find-done-well genre, and for a while it seemed like this could qualify as being both of those things.

But then...a severe damper arrives. My parade is rained on. Stormy weather comin' in. Insert other precipitation metaphors.

Unfortunately, I have to tuck away the thing that threatened to ruin it all in little ol' spoiler tags:
(view spoiler)
demi. ♡
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
❥ 4.5 / 5 stars

Damn. If you read this book and you don’t cry, you’re freaking heartless.
Amalia Gkavea
‘’The cafe’s name was Funiculi Funicula. It had become famous, with long queues each day, an account of time-travelling. But it wasn’t possible to find anyone who had actually gone back in time, because of the extremely annoying rules that had to be followed. The first rule was: ‘’The only people you can meet while in the past are those who have visited the cafe.’’ This would usually defeat the purpose of going back. Another rule was: ‘’There is nothing you can do while in the past that will ...more
Feb 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
This book reminds me of an old Italian car, perhaps an Alfa Romeo, or a 1970s Ferrari.

On the surface it looks great, but when you start it up... oh dear. At best the poor thing limps along well under the speed limit, an ominous cacophony of clunking sounds and grinding noises issuing from under the hood.

I was expecting much more as this is a book that has a lot of fans.

I can see why - the central concept is a nice one, and the stories are cute, in a way that is quite charmingly Japanese. In an o
Reading_ Tamishly
Nov 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
The writing and the characters are really annoying.

Because it is the umpteenth time I picked it up and yet, it's time to accept the fact that this book is just not for me.

I just couldn't be patient with what the story was coming to with all that repetitive lines and the writing in the first half. The characters seem rather dull. I did try to finish up the book but I started having a headache because I was doing something I didn't want to and had to close the book and delete it after taking the
Jan 06, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010s, japanese, reviewed
I went into this one with some hesitation as when I looked at my friends reviews, a grand total of two of them seemed to like it and everyone else didn't (some disliked it quite a bit). Still, I received it as a Christmas gift and who am I to pass on a free Japanese novel?

After I got to the half way point, I had to agree with a few things I saw many reviewers commenting on; the book is repetitive and that it’s overly sentimental, both of which are negatives for me. Now when I say overly sentimen
Nov 11, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: emotional, japan
I was so absorbed in the things that I couldn’t change, I forgot the most important thing.

If you could return to the past, but knew you couldn’t change anything, what would you go for? Before The Coffee Gets Cold, the debut novel by Japanese playwright Toshikazu Kawaguchi and translated into English by Geoffrey Trousselot, is a warm and quirky time-travel story all confined into the singular space of a small Tokyo coffee shop. Originally a play, which may have been a better medium as the book
Sam Quixote
Apr 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
Who wouldn’t want to time travel? Well, you probably wouldn’t if you had to follow these very precise, arbitrary and convoluted rules - yes, even more so than the usual! So the characters in this story can time travel but only to the relatively recent past and they have to sit in a specific seat at a specific table - which they can’t leave once they time travel, which means they can’t leave the cafe - and only for the duration it takes for a coffee to cool, after which you have to drink it down ...more
Olivia (Stories For Coffee)
Like a nice cup of coffee on a rainy day, this book warmed my heart and put a smile on my face. Split into four parts, Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a wonderful, quick read that will transport readers to a mysterious cafe where its patrons are able to time-travel but must return before the coffee gets cold. There, we follow along with four different stories of characters wanting to reconcile past arguments, find closure, or assure loved ones through the use of time-travel.

While this book is sl
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
4.5 stars

This was a case of love at first sight. I had no idea what this book was about. I only read the first line in the synopsis and then I randomly got it. Time travel is such a fascinating subject to me. In this book it was done in such a unique, heartwarming, and a really touching way. It’s a book that made me both happy and sad. It put such a sad smile on my face.

A Cafe that gives you an opportunity to time-travel, if given the chance who would you like to meet? With a set of rules that
Tan Markovic
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A new favourite 😍💖
Elsa Rajan Pradhananga
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I fell in love with the blurb of this book. Before the coffee gets cold is a collection of 4 interconnected stories set in a cafe that offers its customers the unique experience of traveling in time. My mind was preoccupied with thoughts on the many possibilities as I placed my order for this book. But I won’t say I was elated when done with it because the rules the time travelers had to follow came in the way of my high spirits.

#1. The only people you can meet are those who’ve visited the cafe
Jim Fonseca
This was a DNF for me so I’m not giving it a rating. To be fair, I should say that it was a downloaded audio book, unusual for me. I listened to it several times for almost two hours of its 6+ hours length and I just couldn’t get into it. On audio I had trouble distinguishing among the various Japanese names so at times I wasn’t certain who the narrative referred to and it’s a lot more difficult to ‘go back’ on an audio book to check a name to figure it out.


It’s a science fiction book about goin
Jul 17, 2020 rated it did not like it
I wanted something light to read. This was so light it blew away. Seriously poor. 200 pages of my life I will never get back. Nothing more to add.
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was very interesting and definitely different. I really liked the setting, the writing style and how the concept of time travel was done. The characters' stories were very touching, though maybe too much for me at times.

I listened to this on audiobook and I enjoyed the narrator's voice. It went really well with the story.
Interesting premise, poor execution. The writing was too choppy!
Avani ✨
Aug 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Beautiful, Unique Plot, Heartbreaking : all at the same time!
Katie Lumsden
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this a lot - it's a sweet and powerful story, really nicely written and a great quick read. ...more
Richard Derus
Real Rating: 2.5* of five, rounded down because I've seldom felt so condescended to

"At the end of the day, whether one returns to the past or travels to the future, the present doesn't change."

Pseudoprofound nonsense. I disliked it *intensely* and haven't yet found a way not to review it by any other means than the light of its own flames. These are tawdry, brummagem gauds trying to pass themselves off as unpolished gems.
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I have to admit to being a little disappointed in this and not only because of the lack of a cat despite one being shown on the cover. Having recently developed a love of Japanese fiction I was very excited to come across this on Netgalley, particularly when I read the blurb and discovered it was a story involving time travel (I love stories with time travel). Perhaps my expectations were too high as while I loved the concept behind it I didn't really connect to it and it became an OK read rathe ...more
Feb 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
I will love time travel books till the end of time!
The premise of this book is so creative and beautifully crafted! Showing the precious nature of time and love!
Dilushani Jayalath
Oct 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book during one of the hardest times I’ve passed this year. If I am being honest, it was the hardest in the past few years itself. I’ve lost a part of me that is special to me. Someone as close my family. And while I stayed up with him during his hardest time, I read this. And I finished with the last story after he left this earth. Thus this book will hold a special place in my heart.

If I admit I started reading books of the magical realism genre recently and thanks should be g
Tamar...playing hooky for a few hours today

Five stars might be more accurate. This is an interesting book about an underground café that has only about four tables and only about two people working the café. I'm not even sure what period the book spans and I couldn't repeat any of the characters' names - not that I think the names are essential, as long as you can follow what's going on/get the point.

So, this café is famous for enabling people to go back in time (and as it transpires also forward in time). There are plenty of rules: you
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Before the Coffee Gets Cold is about a cafe that has a seat that will transport you in time. There are some rules you must follow though, such as the person you're meeting must have been to that cafe before and you must return before your coffee gets cold, and you cannot change what's happened in the past.

This book is amazing! That's all I can really say. I instantly was transported to this little cafe and absorbed in the different characters and their lives. The stories (four that are interconn
3.5 stars. Quite moving.

In sum, this story indicates that the only thing you can really change is yourself.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Dolores
  • 3 วันดี 4 วันเศร้า
  • Damascus
  • Little Siberia
  • The Strangers We Know
  • Grand Union: Stories
  • I Decided to Live as Myself
  • How It Was
  • The Day We Meet Again
  • ผมบอกรักเธอผ่านหุ่นยนต์
  • 17 Church Row
  • Through the Wall
  • The Land of Roar
  • Tall Tales and Wee Stories: The Best of Billy Connolly
  • I Want to Eat Your Pancreas
  • Unicorn: The Memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen
  • My Little Epiphanies
  • The Woman in the Photograph
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Toshikazu Kawaguchi (in Japanese: 川口 俊 和) was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1971. He formerly produced, directed and wrote for the theatrical group Sonic Snail. As a playwright, his works include COUPLE, Sunset Song, and Family Time. The novel Before the Coffee Gets Cold is adapted from a 1110 Productions play by Kawaguchi, which won the 10th Suginami Drama Festival grand prize.

Other books in the series

Before the Coffee Gets Cold (4 books)
  • Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café (Before the Coffee Gets Cold, #2)
  • 在回憶消逝之前
  • さよならも言えないうちに

News & Interviews

Science fiction and fantasy are the go-to genres for writers—and readers!—who like to explore the wilder borderlands of contemporary fiction....
25 likes · 6 comments
“At the end of the day, whether one returns to the past or travels to the future, the present doesn't change.” 82 likes
“Water flows from high places to low places. That is the nature of gravity. Emotions also seem to act according to gravity. When in the presence of someone with whom you have a bond, and to whom you have entrusted your feelings, it is hard to lie and get away with it. The truth just wants to come flowing out. This is especially the case when you are trying to hide your sadness or vulnerability. It is much easier to conceal sadness from a stranger, or from someone you don’t trust.” 56 likes
More quotes…