Book Reviews · My Recommendations

Before the Coffee gets cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi || Book Review

Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism
Publication: Picador
No. of Pages: 305
Book Type: Standalone
My Rating: 5/5
Trigger Warning: Death, Anxiety


If you could go back, who would you want to meet?

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there s 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 Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the cafe’s time-travelling offer, in order to confront the lover who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has begun to fade, see their sister one last time and 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 cafe, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold…

Kaju, Kei, Nagare: MC / owner of the cafe


To be honest I didn’t read the blurb before reading the book. I just saw people ranting about how good this book is and I thought I will give it a read. I was completely baffled by this book. Such an unexpected story line. It is my first time reading a book with Time Travel reference. It was fun and heart warming at the same time. A book that will make you learn so many lesson in such subtle text.

Writing and Theme

I was absolutely in awe with the details in the book. The author described the café and it’s ambience in such a way that it felt as if I was there while I read. I also liked how he added certain mysterious elements to the café. It was my second book on Magical Realism, and I enjoyed every bits of it. The way author added so many constraints to the time travelling part – made the journey nerve wrecking and kept the thrill alive. Every time a character went back to the past – I was biting my nails to make sure that they are following all the rules or not. I guess that was the anxious part of my brain working! lol

After reading this book, I felt like I should visit Tokyo once and go to a café for sure.

𝐀𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐚𝐲, 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐮𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬𝐧’𝐭 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞


Each character in this book will tough your heart and will stay with you forever. I absolutely adored the way the Restaurant owners were always friendly to people no matter what, and how they understood them and never judged them for their requests.


  • It was a brilliant book. You can definitely read it in one sitting if you are a fast reader.
  • If you are travelling in a train / or on a vacation and you wish to read a book – this is one which will help you relax.

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