Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawagushi

Before the Coffee Gets Cold
Before the Coffee Gets Cold, book 1
by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

At a small café in Tokyo, patrons can travel through time to meet with someone of their choosing, but they must return before the coffee gets cold.

The way this book was described when I first heard about it, I expected four separate stories that would likely all be rather emotional. What I got was even better. There are four separate people who make use of the café’s peculiar service, but the book as a whole ties everything together into a story about the café over the period of time when those people visit. Once a character’s main story is over, they can still reappear later, plus the employees of the café are present in each part.

Everyone who uses this café to time travel know who they want to talk to, and they usually think they know what they want out of their brief meeting. When they arrive, however, and are face to face with that person, they usually find that what they wanted was something less definitive. They can’t change the way things happened, or will happen, but they can get their closure, validation, and hope.

I loved this. It was an interesting imagining of what someone may say or feel if they get one last chance to talk to someone who was important to them. It’s not overly emotional, but still heartfelt and sentimental in all the right moments.