Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

before the coffee gets cold

Rating: 4/5

What It’s About:

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 the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.

But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .


The Review

Before the Coffee Gets Cold was a pleasant book to read. I got lots of cozy vibes and loved that it was a short read (only 227 pages). The book follows a set number of characters who frequently visit the cafe for regular coffee. Each section focuses on a different character that decided to use the time travel booth. The author builds upon each character’s story by including background information and sharing inner thoughts. The one flaw that bothered me is that there is a repetition of the time travel rules each time a person uses the booth, but that can easily be skimmed through.

My favorite thing about Before The Coffee Gets Cold is that it highlights the complexities of relationships with the people we love (romantic, familial, and friendship). Often feelings and actions between loved ones are miscommunicated or misunderstood. In this book, the characters use the time travel to share things left unsaid in the past. This book hit me in the feels, but wasn’t overwhelmingly heartbreaking. It was just right for the mood I was in. The characters also realize that even though revisiting the past in this booth won’t change the future (which is one of the rules), they still have the ability to change their lives in the present and future. It helped the book end in a sweet and optimistic view that was satisfying.

If you are looking for a feel-good emotional story, Before The Coffee Gets Cold is a great choice! It also looks like this book was based off of a full feature Japanese film called Café Funiculi Funicula (also written by Toshikazu Kawaguchi). I might give it a try.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought.

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