Coffee in Japan
So lets start with Doutors, a homegrown coffee shop with wooded interior. They brew a decent Cup of Joe. Simple menu and is one of the cheapest places for a blend, and a fairly straight forward one. The point card is 300 yen or 3USD and you pick it up at the counter of any Doutors with a zero balance. To activate it, just log on to their website - in Japanese. You can navigate your way around the site if you have some Japanese abilities, if not, a J-dictionary should help. When entering your name on the sign-up page you will need to enter it in furigana and hiragana, then enter your address and done. Then you will be able to charge the card at any Dotours or Excelsiors and you will get points for using the card. Having points makes you eligible for discounts and other rewards. As you can see in this picture below a chart.
There is a ranking system and after reaching a certain amount of points, like in my case 17,480 I can become a Gold Rank which would make me eligible for certain discounts on coffees and or merchandise. You're probably asking is it worth it...? I would say "no" if you are only getting coffee here once a week. The Doutor value card can be used at 3 different coffee stores. There's Doutors of course, then there's Excelsior Cafe, and lastly is Cafe Lexcel! You can use the card at either location to accrue, charge, and use the card for discounts on coffee.
So let's break it down:
- Doutors - Low priced caffeinated and decaffeinated beverages; decent coffees and teas; they sell kraut dogs that are hot and crispy which go well with hot blended coffee.
- Excelsiors- About the same in every way as Doutors, but offer more hot sandwiches and subs here.
- Cafe Lexcel - Is the real winner as they offer premium select single lot coffees that cost the same as what you would pay at Starbucks. The possibilities for accumulating lots of points is very possible. The coffees come from Central America and are the bomb.
Below is the menu for if and when you want to order coffee online, and it's in English.
Another post at the bottom about on my passion(s) and how coffee came to be for me.
I've been a Japanese sake God for most of my life and have ruled my quadrant with zeal and fervor for years. Father of the Bonyu Underworld. The last of Mishima Yukio, the creator of the Jukujo; lover of life and onsen. I am he. However, I have found myself in a state of quandary. And as perplexing as this may sound I am left with the realization that Japanese sake is now an exported beverage far gone from its shores and on to the tables of Western food and wine aficionados forever. It is no longer a Japanese drink made for the gods, but for the Kings of England and Dukes of France. And with that said, the beverage itself has undergone change in form and flavor, and ultimately appeal.
On the flip side of things, when Japan imports goods from other countries it tries to put its own touch on it, like with American favorites like fried chicken and macaroni and cheese; they still don't get it right. However, the only thing the Japanese never try to reinvent is coffee! Yes, that's right ladies & gents. Coffee is the only single beverage in Japan that has retained its purity, charm, and character. No matter how many beans the Japanese import, they consistently make and sell good good coffee. And as of late I have been exploring coffee houses. The faggot(eers) of Japanese sake dropped the ball here. A points system with a history of the coffee one purchases would be an excellent idea by sake restaurants and bars.
I have two coffee shops I highly recommend. First is Doutors and the second is Maruyama Coffee. In this post I will explain about the card and point system and coffee in general for each of these cafes, and why I chose them. If you've lived here for a bit then you'll know the big chain coffee houses / franchises: Starbucks, Doutors, Komeda, Maruyama, Excelsior, and Cafe Lexcel...,etc.
I don't mention Starbucks because it's an American franchise that has suppressed and exploited the coffee market world-wide and with many Japanese coffee houses suffering as a result.
I have had the coffee bug for 25 years when my father used to mail me a $10 USD note and write in the card " This is coffee money for your birthday." I guess on a DNA level coffee runs in the blood since my father is the one who turned me on to it way back in the day. I've been loving the bean juice ever since. I have evolved into a coffee snob, but am not as sexy looking when drink Japanese sake; puckered lips on the small sake cup looking at ( you ) in YOUR dreams...