Cafe culture in the West usually revolves around creatives and like-minded patrons gathering in coffee shops. Whether they use the space as a meeting spot or a temporary office, these shops are characterized by self-service and wifi. Although coffee culture has also reached Japan, the Japanese have their own cafe institution – the kissaten.
A kissaten 喫茶店 is a place to gather and drink (usually tea or coffee) and listen to vinyl records. Although they are established as ‘tea houses’, kissatens can also serve small dishes, such as eggs and toast for breakfast, sweets, and pasta for lunch.
Service at a kissaten is extremely personal as the owner is usually around to host and take care of guests. Drinks are brought to the customers’ tables and the coffee or tea served is usually a reflection of the owner’s personal preferences.
During the 60s and 70s, kissatens that focused on music grew in popularity, with playlists of jazz and classical music. Music is still played in kissatens today and high-quality sound systems provide the perfect ambiance to unwind and relax.
Want to check out Hong Kong’s first kissaten? Join our Beverage Director Elliot Faber’s Kissaten at the Music Room at Potato Head Hong Kong on December 1st. Get more info here.