How To Read Before The Coffee Gets Cold

Imagine stepping into a quaint little café, where every sip of your coffee brings you an unforgettable tale of life, love, and the human condition, with a twist of time travel in every cup. That’s precisely what the acclaimed “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” series offers.

Beautifully penned by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, this series strikes a delicate balance between the ordinary and the extraordinary, pushing the boundaries of our understanding of time and relationships.

Before The Coffee Gets Cold
Contents show

Before The Coffee Gets Cold Series in Order

Before The Coffee Gets Cold Series in Order
Before The Coffee Gets Cold Series in Order
  1. Before the Coffee Gets Cold (2015)
  2. Tales from the Café (2017)
  3. The Miracles of the Namiya General Store (2019)
  4. Time for the Future (2021)

How Many Books Are in the Before the Coffee Gets Cold Series?

The “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” series has four books. However, authors sometimes add new installments to their series, so it’s always a good idea to check the most recent listings to see if any new books have been added.

Here’s a summary of every Before The Coffee Gets Cold Book:

1. Before the Coffee Gets Cold (2015)

Before the Coffee Gets Cold (2015)
Before the Coffee Gets Cold (2015)

“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” is the first book in the series. The story unfolds in a modest café in Tokyo where the extraordinary meets the ordinary. This café provides its customers a unique opportunity to travel back in time. However, time travel comes with its own set of peculiar rules.

The most critical one is that they must finish their journey before their coffee gets cold, or their faces are turned into a ghost. Through four interconnected stories, we meet four café visitors a heartbroken lover, a troubled woman, a mother, and a curious observer, all of whom decide to venture into the past, facing their own unique challenges and gaining unexpected insights.

2. Tales from the Café (2017)

Tales from the Café (2017)
Tales from the Café (2017)

In “Tales from the Café,” the second book in the series, we return to the same time-travel café but meet new customers with their personal stories. Each tale explores different themes, such as love, regret, and acceptance, as each customer takes their journey back in time.

From a man wishing to convey his feelings to his best friend, a woman yearning to meet her estranged husband, to a mother longing to hold her child once again, these narratives weave a rich tapestry of human emotions and the complexity of relationships, all the while highlighting the transient nature of time.

3. The Miracles of the Namiya General Store (2019)

The Miracles of the Namiya General Store (2019)
The Miracles of the Namiya General Store (2019)

In the third installment of the series, we step out of the café and into ‘The Namiya General Store.’ The store has a peculiar mailbox that connects people across different eras. Three delinquent teenagers who seek shelter in the deserted store stumble upon this magical mailbox.

As they start responding to these letters, they find themselves dispensing wisdom and advice to people from different periods, helping them navigate through various life challenges. Along the way, they learn about empathy, wisdom, and the ripple effect of kindness.

4. Time for the Future (2021)

In the last book, ‘Time for the Future,’ we are back in the time-travel café. The final installment offers us a fresh set of customers, each with unique stories and distinct perspectives about time.

From a woman who hopes to change her future, a man yearning to redo his life, to a girl wishing to extend a moment, each narrative explores the profound effect time has on human lives and relationships. This final leg in the series encourages readers to appreciate the beauty of the present moment and the bittersweet nature of life’s transience.

What was the first book written in the Before the Coffee Gets Cold series?

The first book written in the ‘Before the Coffee Gets Cold’ series is indeed titled “Before the Coffee Gets Cold.” It was originally published in Japanese in 2015 by Toshikazu Kawaguchi and later translated into English.

Quick Fact: The novel, which introduces readers to a special café in Tokyo that offers a chance to travel in time, sets the stage for the intriguing narrative that unfolds throughout the series.

What order do you read before the coffee gets cold?

The “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” series should ideally be read in the following order to follow the progression of the narrative and the development of the themes:

  • Before the Coffee Gets Cold (2015)
  • Tales from the Café (2017)
  • The Miracles of the Namiya General Store (2019)
  • Time for the Future (2021)

Although each book features different characters and stories, the thematic threads connecting the books are best understood when read in sequence.

Is there a sequel to Before the Coffee Gets Cold?

Yes, there are sequels to “Before the Coffee Gets Cold.” After the first book, Toshikazu Kawaguchi continued the series with three more books:

  • Tales from the Café (2017)
  • The Miracles of the Namiya General Store (2019)
  • Time for the Future (2021)

Each sequel presents new characters and narratives, with the common thread being the unique concept of time travel as seen in the original book.

Is Before the Coffee Gets Cold the first book?

Yes, “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” is the first book in the series by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. The novel sets up the unique premise of a café in Tokyo that offers its patrons the ability to time travel while drinking coffee. This intriguing concept is the foundation on which the subsequent books in the series are built.

It is therefore essential to start with “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” to fully understand and appreciate the world that Kawaguchi has crafted.

How does the concept of time travel function in the “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” series?

In the “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” series, time travel functions in a unique and intriguing manner. It happens within a quaint café in Tokyo, where customers can journey to the past while sitting in a particular seat. However, this time travel is bound by a set of strict rules. The most significant one is that the traveler must return before their cup of coffee gets cold.

If not, they turn into a ghost, trapped between times. The other limitations include that they cannot change the present by altering the past and can only meet people who have visited the café. The time-travel concept is used as a narrative tool to explore profound themes like regret, love, loss, and acceptance across the series.

What themes are explored through the series?

The “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” series explores a variety of themes. One of the most prevalent is the concept of time, especially its impermanence. The strict time-travel rules emphasize the fleeting nature of moments and the permanence of past decisions.

Relationships form another central theme, particularly the complexities of love, friendships, and familial bonds. The series delves into the nuances of human emotions and how these relationships shape us. Lastly, the series also explores the themes of regret, acceptance, and reconciliation.

Characters are often confronted with their past choices, leading to poignant realizations and emotional growth.

How does the narrative evolve across the series?

Across the series, the narrative evolves both thematically and structurally. While the central premise of time travel remains consistent, each book offers different perspectives through its unique set of characters and stories.

Starting from personal, intimate stories in “Before the Coffee Gets Cold”, the narrative expands to include a broader range of experiences in ‘Tales from the Café.’ In “The Miracles of the Namiya General Store,” the setting shifts from a café to a general store, introducing a new magical element that further deepens the narrative.

Quick Fact: Finally, “Time for the Future” provides a fitting conclusion by revisiting the café and presenting narratives that echo the themes of the series, but with an evolved understanding of time and relationships.

How does Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s writing style contribute to the series’ appeal?

Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s writing style significantly contributes to the series’ appeal. His writing is marked by a blend of simplicity and depth, allowing the reader to easily follow the narrative while engaging with its deeper thematic implications.

His descriptions of the café and the characters are vivid and detailed, creating a strong sense of place and realism in an otherwise fantastical setting. Moreover, his sensitive portrayal of human emotions and relationships adds a profound layer to the stories, making them emotionally resonant.

Finally, his use of time travel as a narrative device allows him to seamlessly blend the ordinary with the extraordinary, making the series both relatable and intriguing.

Who are some memorable characters across the series and why?

There are numerous memorable characters across the series, each contributing to the narrative’s depth and appeal. For instance, in the first book, “Before the Coffee Gets Cold,” there’s Kazu, the café owner, who is a constant throughout the series, serving as a guide to the customers and readers alike.

Fumiko, a woman who time-travels to spend a few more moments with her boyfriend before he leaves for America, is another unforgettable character, her story poignantly exploring love and separation. In “Tales from the Café,” we meet Hirai, a mother who journeys back in time to hold her daughter again, her narrative striking a deep emotional chord.

Each character, with their unique stories and journeys, adds to the series’ richness and diversity.

How does “The Miracles of the Namiya General Store” differ from the other books in the series?

“The Miracles of the Namiya General Store” stands out in the series as it steps away from the familiar setting of the café and instead takes the readers to a magical general store. Here, the focus is not on time travel but on a mystical mailbox that connects people across different periods.

The store, much like the café, serves as a medium for people to connect, communicate, and seek advice across time, adding a new layer to the series’ exploration of time and human relationships.

What lessons can readers take away from the ‘Before the Coffee Gets Cold’ series?

The “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” series while being an enchanting tale of time travel, also offers several profound lessons. The recurring theme of time’s transience serves as a reminder to appreciate the present moment and the people in our lives. The exploration of regret and reconciliation encourages readers to make peace with their past and move forward.

The series also underscores the importance of communication in relationships, showing how misunderstanding and distance can often be resolved through honest conversations.

Lastly, the series inspires readers to accept life’s imperfections, teaching that while we may not be able to change the past, we can always change our perspective toward it, leading to personal growth and acceptance.

How does the series incorporate elements of magical realism, and how do these elements impact the narrative?

The “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” series brilliantly incorporates elements of magical realism, a genre that blends realistic settings with fantastical elements. The café in Tokyo serves as a grounding point in reality, with its everyday customers and the familiar aroma of coffee. The magic is subtly introduced with the concept of time travel, bound by peculiar rules.

This blend creates a unique narrative space where characters navigate through their ordinary lives while grappling with extraordinary circumstances. Magical realism allows the author to address deep, universal human experiences like regret, love, and loss in a novel and impactful way.

How do the unique rules of time travel in the series affect the character’s decisions and actions?

The unique rules of time travel in the series significantly influence the characters’ decisions and actions. Knowing they cannot alter the present no matter what they do in the past, the characters are forced to confront their issues instead of trying to escape or change them.

Moreover, the condition that they must return before their coffee gets cold adds a sense of urgency and highlights the fleeting nature of time. These rules make their journeys more about introspection, acceptance, and personal growth, rather than about changing their realities.

How does the series depict the city of Tokyo, and how does this setting contribute to the story?

The series vividly depicts Tokyo through the intimate setting of a small café tucked away in a bustling city. The café’s nostalgic atmosphere contrasts with the fast-paced urban life outside, creating a unique setting that mirrors the series’ themes of time and human connection.

The distinctive features of Tokyo its culture, rhythm, and spirit imbue the narrative with authenticity and enrich the reading experience.

How is the theme of love explored throughout the series?

Love, in its many forms, is a central theme in the “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” series. From romantic love to familial bonds, from unrequited feelings to friendships, each form is explored with sensitivity. Love is often shown as a driving force for the characters to time travel, even if they can’t change their present situations.

It’s through their journeys that they learn about love’s complexities, its power to heal, and the pain it can sometimes bring.

What role does the café owner play throughout the series?

Kazu, the café owner, is a significant character throughout the series. While she doesn’t time-travel herself, she serves as a guide to those who do. She enforces the rules of time travel and often provides wisdom and insights to the customers. Her presence adds a layer of stability and continuity to the ever-evolving narrative.

How does the series handle the concept of regret and reconciliation?

Regret and reconciliation form a critical thematic underpinning in the series. Many characters visit the café burdened with regrets. However, the café’s unique time travel rule one can’t change the present forces the characters to confront their regrets rather than erase them.

This leads to powerful moments of reconciliation, as characters learn to make peace with their past, accept their mistakes, and move toward emotional healing.

How do the different narratives across the books connect to each other?

While each book features different characters and stories, they all revolve around the central premise of time travel in the café (except “The Miracles of the Namiya General Store” which involves a magical mailbox in a general store). Each narrative is a standalone tale, but they are all connected by recurring themes, such as time, regret, love, and acceptance.

Moreover, some characters, like the café owner Kazu, appear throughout the series, providing a sense of continuity and connection.


The “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” series by Toshikazu Kawaguchi is a unique blend of the ordinary and the extraordinary, painting a captivating picture of life’s complexities and the human condition.

Through the enchanting concept of time travel and its peculiar rules, the series explores profound themes of love, regret, reconciliation, and the relentless passage of time. The series takes us on an emotional journey through the lens of its diverse characters and their personal narratives, reminding us to cherish our present and make peace with our past.

It’s a heartfelt reminder that while we cannot change the past, we can change how we perceive it, and in doing so, find our own path to acceptance and healing.

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About Ben Hudd

Hi, my name is Ben, and I am part of the writing crew for TheWritersHQ!

I have a roaring passion for books and writing, and have written 2 books throughout my life! I am now excited to share my writing and book knowledge with the world!