“Before the Coffee gets Cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi | Book Review

Book Review | Rating – 5/5 | Genre – Magical Realism

This made up one of two books that I bought a month back on a spontaneous trip to the bookshops in town. Honestly, I couldn’t really help myself, I hadn’t bought any books in a while so it was bound to happen. As for the thing that attracted me to buying this particular book; was the interesting plot, love a magical realism story. So, moving quickly onto what I thought…


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…

From the author of Before the Coffee Gets Cold comes a story of four new customers each of whom is hoping to take advantage of Cafe Funiculi Funicula’s time-travelling offer. (Check it out here).


What did I think?

I loved this book from the moment I started it. There was something beautiful about the way everything was described; even the simplistic details that made up the cafe, helping me immediately envision this magical yet normal looking place. It was also this short and sweet description that helped me to picture the multiple characters that appeared in each story.

Speaking of characters; I found that it was very easy to love the characters that made up Kawaguchi’s world. Even with more focus on the magical aspects of the cafe, it was easy to see how the characters changed as the story moved on. I immediately fell in love with the people who ran the cafe, wanting to know more about their lives.

It was also the format of the book that made it such an easy read. The concept worked super well; with the book split into four smaller stories centred around the concept of time-travel in this one small cafe. The stories were always kept super tight, focusing entirely on the emotion that drove the characters to time travel in the first place.

Reasons to read Before the Coffee gets Cold…

  • Beautifully written: As I said before, the way these four stories are written is so wonderfully descriptive. It keeps the stories tight and easy to understand without getting too bogged down by the intricacies that time travel can sometimes bring about.
  • Unique concept: Once again, as i’ve said, it was such a unique way of writing about time travel. The rules were very easy to understand and laid out immediately to avoid confusion. It was also a great way to help the characters explore painful moments that happened in their past without the complication of actually changing their lives.
  • Wonderful characters: Having got to the end of the book it was easy to see that there were a lot of characters across these stories. However, each one was given enough detail to easily remember and distinguish each one. It was also sweet to see how these characters were dealing with their own pain and used the cafe to help heal themselves.

At the end of the day…

It was such a beautiful book to read, and I can’t wait to read another of Kawaguchi’s books. That shouldn’t be long as I’ve only just realised that this was a seond book in a group of three. However, having said that, I can now say that I’m definitely going to make an effort to go out and find the other two books so that I can experience more of Kawaguchi’s work.

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