Friday 14 August 2020

Before the coffee gets cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi


Paperback, 213 pages

Published September 19th 2019 by Picador (first published December 6th 2015)

Original Titleコーヒーが冷めないうちに

Edition Language: English

Geoffrey Trousselot (Translator)



Series: Before the Coffee Gets Cold #1

At first I was interested, but it missed something. Maybe it was just too straightforward, because in the end I come out of it with only a sense of it being ok.

There is a café, if you sit in a certain seat you can travel in time. But only to that seat. So yes, why bother. You can only sit in that seat and only for a moment. And people accept this as truth, and some travel.

And that is what this book is about. People travelling in time. A woman who wants to see her ex again. A man and woman who wants to meet again. Someone looking for a missed opportunity. And then we get some of their pasts too, but it is a short book. A short glimpse into the past and future.

I mean I did like it, but at the same time, yeah, only ok.

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 . . .

Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?


  1. It seems like the limitations of the time travel element ultimately limited the narrative itself. What a bummer.

  2. Yeah, if you have to stay in that seat what's the point? Doesn't seem like it would do any good. If you travel back in time to see someone what if they don't come to that cafe?

  3. Sounds like a really cool premise... but wait, when they travel in time, they don't leave the seat... how do they see those they wanted to see?

  4. Hmm, wonder how much was lost in translation, sometimes certain sayings, idioms, etc. just don't translate too well either.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  5. My coffee is ALWAYS getting cold! ;) Bummer this was an okay read, but it doesn't seem like there's too much going on. Fingers crossed your next read is amazing!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

  6. Ethan
    Sadly yes, I mean cool concept, but it lacked something

    Yes only stay in that seat, and the only way to meet someone is if they have been there, and you can make them come to that seat then

    Also if you leave your seat or the coffee gets cold u die 0_0

    THey can only meet people who have been to that cafe, and then they need the exact date and time since well coffee gets cold

    Might be the case, and that is why I stopped reading in my own language

    I mean, well nothing happened, nothing at all

  7. That's kind of a cool idea to travel in time, and can think of a few places I'd like to visit. (lol) Hugs, RO

  8. Ok books just don't really make the cut!

  9. Sounds interesting but I don't think it would be for me.

  10. Hmmm... interesting premise! Sorry it was a little disappointing...

  11. RQ
    Sadly you can only visit a chair in a cafe


    It happens

    Yeah it could have been more

    I am sort of glad I read it, but still


    No, they can not



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