Book Review: “Before the Coffee Gets Cold”


Elly Herrick

“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” was released in Dec. 15 and was translated into English in 2019. The biggest lesson from “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” is that the moments we shared with one another is a once in a lifetime experience. No moment or day is the same.

Elly Herrick, Online Editor

This hidden coffee shop offers more than your typically caffeinated drinks. 

“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi has sold over one million copies and is known not only as a LA Times Bestseller but also as an International Bestseller.

Now a four-book series, the story of “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” began as a play in 2015 and was later adapted into a novel later that same year. The four-chapter book was translated into English in 2019 and has been selling out in bookstores globally since 2020. 

This 272-page book is divided into four chapters, The Lovers, Husband and Wife, The Sisters and Mother and Child. 

Since his first book in 2020, Kawaguchi has continued to write three more books to the series with a similar structure. Each chapter introduces a unique character with a passion to be able to travel to the past to see their loved one again.

Having this miraculous power does not come easy. 

In the first chapter, we are introduced to Fumiko who is meeting her boyfriend for a serious conversation. Walking to a cafe, she was hoping for a ring but was figuratively slapped across the face when her lover wanted to break up. As her former lover moves to the US for work, Fumiko is left at the cafe.

Stuck and lost, Fumiko ends up visiting the cafe more and more. Workers at the cafe, feeling sorry for her, offer their ears to listen. Fumiko then pleads to go back in time to fix her relationship.

Learning that going back in time is an actual possibility, Fumiko is more than excited to go back. Her enthusiasm is suddenly halted as there are many rules in order to go back. The main rules are, no matter what you do the future won’t be changed and you must come back before your coffee gets cold.

Having learned that she can go back in time, it is up to Fumiko whether or not she can bearbare this burden. 

Each chapter has an equally enticing story that highlights different types of relationships.

From the start to the end of each chapter, I saw a little bit of myself in the characters. I found myself rooting for each character to get the happy ending they hoped for, but was met with the reality of the present. Even if you go back in time, it will not change the future. 

I found this book just when I needed it. The biggest lesson I got from “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” is that the moments we shared with one another is a once in a lifetime experience. No moment or day is the same. It shares this lesson in a genuine and original way;. iIt serves as a reminder to keep pushing. 

Kawaguchi writes it best in the last chapter of the book, “No matter what difficulties people face, they will always have the strength to overcome them. It just takes heart.”

This novel pinpoints how people handle the loss, physically or psychologically, of a loved one. While we could not go back in time to spend it with this person before they are lost, the book comforts us and forces us to come to terms that what has happened is something every human alive has the strength to overcome.

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