For an outsider, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a non-alcoholic beverage in Japan is tea. But did you know that Japan is one of the fastest rising coffee consumers in the world?
And did you also know that a Japanese person consumes an average of 11.13 cups of coffee per week? Well, that’s just some of the many bits of coffee trivia about Japan. But here is some important coffee trivia in Japan that you should not miss.
Although Japan’s first coffee consumption can be traced back to the 17th century in Dejima, Nagasaki. Dutch folks only imported a few loads of coffee to Japan at that time. However, during the 19th century, coffee began to be exported in bulk and the first coffee shop was called Jiyu Te which opened in 1863 in Dejima in front of the Irabayashi Shrine.
However, the culture of coffee did not really take off towards expansion as importation ban during and after the Second World War was imposed. At present, the shop was relocated in Glover Garden which serves original coffee and Castella sponge cake.
By 1960s, the importation ban was already lifted. Coffee consumption then started to increase in the 1970s and by 1980. The first coffee shop franchise Doutor opened in Harajuku with 1490 shops all over the country.
The first canned coffee was introduced in Japan in 1965. It was Miura Yoshitake who became the pioneer of this canned coffee taking inspiration from the canneries in his town in Hamada, Shimane Prefecture. But, the first company to mass produce canned coffee (kan kohi) in 1969 was UCC which is owned by Ueshima Tadao. Today, there are more than five million vending machines in Japan that offers 100 varieties of canned coffee.
In 1996, the US took a major leap to open a branch of Starbucks in Tokyo Ginza-the first Starbucks branch outside the US, and the first Starbucks branch in Japan. By now, Starbucks has expanded in all 47 prefectures of Japan and it is expected to be seen growing in the future as coffee consumption continues to grow in Japan.