Coffee in Japanese // A Complete Guide to Ordering Your Favourite Cuppa

Coffee in Japanese // The Essential Vocabulary

Coffee in Japanese

If you’re in Japan and are looking to learn more words about coffee in Japanese, you’re in the right place.

We most often associate Japan with the traditional tea ceremony, but nowadays Japanese people actually drink a lot of coffee too!

Even though we have to admit, coffee is mostly drank at coffee shops and restaurant, and is not usually consumed at home.

Are you ready to dive in?

Coffee in Japanese | Types of Coffee

Coffee in Japanese | How to Order

Coffee in Japanese | Cup Sizes & Iced Coffee

Coffee in Japanese | Customising Your Coffee

Coffee in Japanese | BONUS Cheatsheet

Coffee in Japanese | Vocabulary Quiz

Here’s the most important word to learn before anything else:

コーヒー (kōhī)

Types of Coffee in Japanese

Coffee arrived in Japan in the 1700’s via Dutch and Portuguese trade ships, and Japanese people have been drinking it ever since.

However, the culture of coffee shops in Japan really exploded and became popular starting the 1960’s with businessman drinking this Western beverage in a more daily basis, with coffee establishment opening all around the country.

A wide range of coffee drinks are served in coffee shops, but due to its convenience and price canned coffee is the most widely consumed in the country.

All over Japan you will find vending machines offering both hot and iced canned coffee, from a wide range of coffee brands.

Here are the most common coffee drinks:

EnglishJapaneseHiraganaRomaji
Americanoアメリカーノあめりかーのamerikāno
Cappuccinoカプチーノかぷちーのkapuchīno
Espressoエスプレッソえすぷれっそesupuresso
Flat Whiteフラット ホワイトふらっと ほわいとfuratto howaito
Latteラテらてrate
Mochaモカもかmoka
Macchiatoマキアートまき あーとmakiāto

Alternatives to coffee

We’ve got the basic coffee drinks covered, but we don’t all drink coffee!

Let’s pay attention to our non-coffee drinking friends, and share some more interesting drinks:

EnglishJapaneseHiraganaRomaji
Hot Chocolateホット チョコレートほっと ちょこれーとhotto chokorēto
Matcha Latte抹茶ラテほうじちゃらてmatcha rate
Teaお茶おちゃocha
Milkshakeミルクシェークみるく しぇーくmirukushēku
Hōjicha (Roasted Green Tea)焙茶あぶ ちゃhōjicha
Genmaicha (Brown Rice Tea)玄米茶げんまい ちゃgenmai cha

How to Order Coffee in Japanese?

Let’s learn a few sentences to help you order coffee in Japanese.

Here’s the most basic sentence for “I would like a coffee please”:

コーヒーをください

kōhī o kudasai

The structure here is simple:

Drink + をください

Drink + o kudaisai

Input whatever drink you’d like to get to make a full sentence to order coffee in Japanese.

  • ラテをください
  • rate o kudasai
  • I would like a latte please
  • 抹茶ラテをください
  • matcha rate o kudasai
  • I would like a matcha latte
  • お茶をください
  • ocha o kudasai
  • I would like tea

More Coffee Related Vocabulary

We’ve seen the most common type of coffee drinks and how to order a cup of your favourite beverage.

Now let’s go a bit further with even more useful vocabulary.

Coffee Sizes in Japanese

Depending on the coffee shop and the chain, you might be asked upon ordering: “big cup or small cup?“.

Here’s what you might hear in Japanese:

サイズは大か小かどちらがよろしいですか?

saizuwa dai ka syō ka dochira ga yoroshīdesu ka?

The size of the cup will depend on the shop, as we all know Starbucks for example always does things differently.

Hot and Cold in Japanese

So, Japanese iced coffee is a major thing.

A quick Google research will provide you with multiples recipes, explain the differences between iced coffee and cold brew coffee, give advice on what type of beans are best, etc.

If you go to Japan, getting an iced coffee at least once is a must.

The essential vocabulary to know here is:

Hotホットほっとhotto
Coldアイスあいすa-isu

Drink In or Take Out

Another question you might be asked at the coffee shop is this one:

店内で召し上がりますか?

ten’nai de meshiagarimasu ka?

Meaning, “would you like to drink in or takeout?”

To which you can reply with either:

Drink in店内てんないtennai
Take out持ち帰りもちかえりmochikaeri

Customising Your Coffee

First of all here are a couple useful sentences to help ask for a change or additional ingredient.

To add something in your coffee:

Ingredient + 追加でお願いします.

Ingredient + tsuika de onegaishimasu

  • ミルク 追加でお願いします.
  • miruku tsuika de onegaishimasu
  • I would like to add milk
  • 砂糖 追加でお願いします.
  • satō tsuika de onegaishimasu
  • I would like to add sugar

To change something in your drink to something else:

Ingredient + に変えてください。

Ingredient + ni hen kaete kudasai.

If you are lactose intolerant for example and would like to replace cow milk to soy milk you can say:

  • 豆乳に変えてください。
  • tōnyū ni kaete kudasai.
  • Please change to soy milk.

Check out these additional ingredients:

Milkミルクみるくmiruku
Sugar砂糖さとうsatō
Shot of coffeeコーヒーショットこーひーしょっとkōhīshotto
Soy milk豆乳とうにゅうtōnyū
Caramelキャラメルきゃらめるkyarameru
Hazelnutヘーゼルナッツへーぜるなっつhēzerunattsu
Vanillaバニラばにらbanira

BONUS Cheatsheet – Download here

We compiled all the vocabulary from this article into a smart cheatsheet, just for YOU!

Download it right here, and make sure to use it during your next coffee run in Japan.

Japanese Coffee Cheat Sheet

Hopefully you’re now able to order your coffee in Japanese like a pro, but if we missed your favourite one let us know right now in the comments section.

Check out these articles for even more Japanese vocabulary:

And do not miss out on our great Japanese Grammar Bank.

Happy studies!


COFFEE VOCABULARY QUIZ

Take this short 5 minutes quiz to test your knowledge, and share your results with other students in the comments.

Welcome to Coffee Quiz! Enter your First name and email to begin. Don't worry you can unsubscribe at any time!

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How to say Espresso in Japanese?

What is ミルクシェーク in Japanese?

How to say Tea in Japanese?

How to say Vanilla in Japanese?

How to say Milk in Japanese?

What is 玄米茶 in Japanese?

What is アメリカーノ in Japanese?

How to say Coffee in Japanese?

What is 店内 in Japanese?

What is 豆乳 in Japanese?

COFFEE IN JAPANESE – FAQ’s

How to say Coffee in Japanese?

Coffee in Japanese is コーヒー (kōhī).

How to say Cappuccino in Japanese?

Cappuccino in Japanese is カプチーノ (kapuchīno).

How to say Tea in Japanese?

Tea in Japanese is お茶 (ocha).

Do Japanese people drink a lot of coffee?

Coffee is nowadays a common beverage in Japan, and many people go out for a cup with friends in a coffee shop, just like in Western culture.

The difference would be that Japanese people don’t usually drink coffee at home, but rather always outside.

When did coffee arrive in Japan?

Coffee arrived in Japan in the 1700’s via Dutch and Portuguese trade ships, and Japanese people have been drinking it ever since.

However, the culture of coffee shops in Japan really exploded and became popular starting the 1960’s with businessman drinking this Western beverage in a more daily basis, with coffee establishment opening all around the country.

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