Normally known for a spot to get a sugar-fueled caffeine fix, Starbucks recently opened a new outlet in Tokyo that is serving alcohol. The new coffee shop is part of a concept line of cafés the company is establishing in Japan to offer customers something a little different from the usual Starbucks experience. In addition to serving upscale coffee drinks and homemade desserts, this shop will be selling wine and beer after noon in the fashionable Shimokitazawa neighborhood.
Starbucks has a policy of seamlessly blending their coffee outlets into remote tourist locations around the world. So when two brothers in Bangkok set up their street-side coffee cart business under a familiar looking green logo, Starbucks was quick to assert that this was not one of their operations.
Damrong and Damras Maslae are now in hot water as the global coffee franchise is coming down hard and suing them for copyright infringement.
We here at RocketNews24 know that time is money and sometimes you need more than 24 hours in a day. Until we figure out how to manipulate time, we will be relying on our energy drink expert, Energy Man, to find out which beverage gives us the most bang for our sleep-deprived buck. Energy Man downs at least one or two (sometimes four, he admits) of these stimulant-laden drinks a day and wants to share with us his new favorite drink to wake us all up.
Energy Man recently saw a new drink on the market that he had to try. Being a connoisseur of these jolting beverages, Energy Man wondered if the world needed Wonda Power Blend Coffee in the already crowded energy drink market. Click the link to read why our Energy Man found himself saying “bravo!” to the new coffee drink.
It’s safe to say that no one you see at Starbucks is there because they want to stretch their java-buying budget. With locations in more than 60 countries (and seemingly every branch in the Tokyo area at maximum capacity every day between 3 and 7 p.m., the Seattle-based chain must be doing something right, but sometimes it’s hard not to feel a bit surprised at the prices they charge.
But the next time you’re sitting in a Starbucks in Japan or America, pretending to sip from an empty mug because you’re not quite ready to disconnect from the free wi-fi but don’t feel like laying out the cash for another cup, consider yourself lucky. You’d be paying a lot more for your latte if you were at a Starbucks in China.
Regular readers and those familiar with Japan’s much-loved Yuki Jirushi brand of coffee will no doubt be aware of a contest to find a new mascot character for the drink that began back in April. After receiving hundreds of entries, the work was then whittled down to six potential designs, which were in turn put to a public vote for best character between July and August. To spice things up a little, some very cute girls in the cosplay/idol group Steam Girls also dressed up as the six finalists’ designs in a promotional event that caused quite a stir.
Looking at the effort involved and level of detail in each of the six designs, we here at RocketNews24 knew that choosing an overall winner would be tricky. We’ve been counting the days for the results to be announced, and today we’re thrilled to give you the full lowdown! Come and meet the Yukiko-tan crew!
Kohei Matsuno is no ordinary barista. What started as his way of sprucing up an ordinary cup of complimentary coffee for patrons at his part-time job has blossomed into a form of creative expression that has people around the world smiling. Known as “Mattsun” by his Internet followers, Mr. Matsuno brings life and whimsy to an otherwise ordinary cup of joe. Come with us now for a sneak peek at the work that goes into some of Japan’s most beautiful latte art.
There has been a lot of latte art featured on the Internet lately, but the coffee created by Japanese barista, Yuuichi Ito, are some of the best we’ve seen. Mr. Ito is serving works of art by the cupful at Belcorno, an Italian restaurant located in Ichinomiya City, Aichi Prefecture. Taking on the role as owner, chef, and barista at Belcorno, Mr. Ito is able to recreate popular characters from Disney, anime and manga out of foam, adding colorful accents and shading. Much like chalk drawings, it’s understood that latte art is not permanent, but it still seems a shame to destroy such beautiful masterpieces. At least we have the following pictures to enjoy!
Starbucks and virtually every other coffee shop worthy of faux hipster attention (the real hipsters having moved on to places that use siphons and play accordion music) have become synonymous with scenes of people using laptop computers in recent years, with rows of patrons sipping from paper cups while idly clicking, scrolling, pinching to zoom and staring lazily at their screens. Some even make temporary offices out of their few square feet of space, paying their rent in cups of joe and watched by hawk-eyed staff whose warm smiles drop a millimetre for every second a small cafe latte is nursed just that little bit too long.
For the rest of us, though, these table-hogging laptop luggers are a source of genuine intrigue. “What on earth could they be doing?” we wonder to ourselves, irked that they’ve taken all the good seats. “Are they actually working over there or are they just scrolling through photos on Facebook and tapping LOL into comment boxes?”
Japan’s My Navi News too was keen to know exactly what the folks who camp out at Starbucks are actually doing while the rest of us are engaging in conversations or staring awkwardly at the floor after making eye-contact one too many times with the cute barista, and put together a survey to find out. Let’s take a look at their findings.
In Western countries, they say that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Oddly enough, Japan uses the similar phrase: “Otoko gokoro wo tsukamu ni wa ibukuro kara,” or “you can snatch a man’s heart if you start with his stomach.” A local Twitter user managed to find a store in the Okubo area of Tokyo that might have taken this phrase a step too far, however.
Included on the store’s outside sign board, where normally you’d find today’s specials, was the coffee shop’s secret recipe for catching a man:
Tea is the first beverage that comes to mind for most people when they think of Japan, followed closely by sake, beer, chu-hi, and a plethora of other alcoholic beverages for those who spent time at a Japanese university. There are plenty of coffee drinkers in the country too though, with Yuki Jirushi (“Snow Mark”) Coffee’s café au lait being a steady seller in supermarkets and convenience stores for 50 years.
With such a long history, however, the company thought the product’s image could use an updating, and they asked artists to submit their designs for a new mascot to be called Yukiko-tan (-tan being an even cuter version of the already cute Japanese name suffix –chan). Six finalists remain in the contest, and Yuki Jirushi recently held a promotional event to help the undecided pick a favorite by utilizing the tentpole that seemingly all major Japanese marketing campaigns are built around: cute girls.
Starbucks Refreshers, fruit juice-based beverages lightly caffeinated with green coffee extract, went on sale last year in the United States and have finally made their way over to Japan. Packaged in 200ml cans, the drink will go on sale at Seven Eleven’s nationwide for 191 yen excluding tax (about US$2) from June 25.
What do you do when it’s late into the evening the day before a big project is due? If you’re a good little worker, you rest easy because everything is already taken care of, but for those of us who have perfected the art of procrastination, it’s time to pull an all-nighter. And what is your beverage of choice when you want to stay awake? For a lot of people, the answer is a strong cup of coffee.
However, what many view as a miracle mug of liquid energy can actually have the opposite effect! In Natsuko Kasai’s book Sweet things are Bad for the Brain, the certified nutritionist and meal counselor explains how drinking coffee has an unexpected side-effect that can wear you out more than wake you up.
With locations all over the world, Starbucks has become many people’s go-to joint for a cup of joe. Even international travelers who find themselves in regions where sanitation standards may not be quite up to their own personal ones feel safe visiting the local branch of the Seattle-based coffee giant, where you can always expect a clean interior, friendly service, and fresh beans sourced from around the world.
Plus, if you visit one particular Starbucks location in Hong Kong, coffee brewed with water from a public restroom.
We’ve fallen in love with some gorgeous latte art in Japan but these new designs take the cake! Coffee craft is rapidly evolving to new heights, with cute, frothy characters now making the escape from 2-D and rising up to greet us from our cups. Kazuki Yamamoto, a pioneer of the trend known as 3-D cappuccinos, works on a new creation every day and has amassed a gorgeous portfolio of cute coffee friends. People in Japan and abroad can’t get enough of these amazing designs!
People in Japan love Starbucks coffee and their cute, branded drinking tumblers. In big cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka you can even buy limited edition tumblers with different local designs. The regional travelling cups are sold at a number of stores though, so they’re actually not that difficult to come across. For die-hard fans looking to get their hands on the Holy Grail of Starbucks drinking vessels, you’d be better off heading to a store at Haneda airport, the one place in the world that sells this very exclusive tumbler.
Latte art, created with a skilled pour of steamed milk and some clever manoeuvres, has been mesmerising coffee lovers for well over a decade. While the most common creations are heart and leaf designs in different shades of mocha, here in Japan we’ve spotted 10 hot, candy-coloured manga characters, of the Sailor Moon variety! We fell in love with these designs and needed to know how the pretty guardians and their pals came to life in coffee form. And, more importantly, whether it’s something we can do at home. Mouths watering and hearts fluttering, we asked the artist directly to find out.
Most Starbucks coffee houses are easily identified by their oversized green umbrellas out on the patio, a huge green and white cap-locked name sign and a twin-tailed mermaid emblem beckoning the caffeine-deprived masses in for a cup of joe. But the following Starbucks coffee houses, some with wooden signs and earth-tone color schemes, are hardly recognizable. In fact, many of these unique Starbucks stores were created in response to opposition from local residents who were concerned that the addition of a cookie-cutter corporate monstrosity would ruin the area’s original ambiance. Take a look at these surprisingly beautiful Starbucks stores throughout Asia.
Starbucks is well-known for taking up residence in some unusual places. They’ve had a pop-up store in Tokyo and they even have a historical western-style house house in Kobe. But in the beautiful mountain village of Ubud, Bali, there’s a more subdued Starbucks. Set up in an old storehouse, and blending perfectly with the environment, you wouldn’t instantly think this was part of a global coffee franchise.
We went to check out this unique coffeehouse and found it to be incredibly beautiful and serene. Out of all the Starbucks stores we’ve visited across the world, this is by far the one we recommend the most. With an exceptionally unique atmosphere, we bring you four reasons why this may very well be the best Starbucks in the world.
Yuki Jirushi Coffee is a brand that pretty much everyone in Japan is familiar with. Available in supermarkets, convenience stores and even vending machines all over the country, Yuki Jirushi (lit. “snow mark”)’s sweet and creamy café au lait has been delighting coffee lovers for 50 years.
In celebration the country’s undying love for the chilled caffeinated beverage and wanting to spruce up its familiar yet somewhat uninspired packaging, Yuki Jirushi Coffee’s makers have teamed up with pixiv to launch a contest asking fans with a passion for doodling to come up with a mascot character to adorn the coffee cartons.
Starbucks prides itself on letting customers customize their drinks and offers a lot of choices: no foam, no whip/with whip, double blended, two pump vanilla, extra shot and extra hot to name but a few. Never one to shy from a challenge, we decided to test just how far Starbucks was willing go in ensuring that visitors to its coffeehouses get just what they want.
Our request? A no caramel, no whip, and–are you ready for it–no coffee Caramel Frappuccino.
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