Do you ever go out to have a cup of tea or coffee in the streets? We can find various shops on the streets, and we want to decide where to stop by according to the mood of the day, don’t we? However, it’s sometimes difficult to tell the exact differences between “Kissaten（喫茶店）”, “Cafe（カフェ）”, and “Coffee-ten（珈琲店）”, isn’t it? Now, let us introduce the differences between those shops.
Kissaten（喫茶店） is a shop that comprises counter and box seats, and a master or waiter brings drinks and food to your seat. Most kissatens serve soft drinks, mainly coffee and tea, snacks, and some kissatens also serve light meals such as sandwiches. It might be possible to find retro kissatens that are still offering showa retro menus that match their retro interior.
In a clear definition, it is defined as a shop that has a Kissaten-license. This type of license allows shops to serve only nonalcoholic drinks and light meals such as toasts and cakes. The served menu, coffees and teas, toasts, and etc., remind us of a classic kissaten, however, the repertoire of the menu is rather limited since kissatens are not allowed to cook inside the shop.
The major difference between Cafe and Kissaten is a difference in images, for instance “Friendly and vivid Cafe” and “Retro and refined Kissaten”. However, they aren’t just two different categories of shops, but each of them has a different type of license, and services and menu that shops can offer vary by the type of license.
Regarding a clear definition, Cafe has a restaurant business license, and the license allows shops to cook on-site, and to serve drinks other than coffees and teas including alcoholic drinks. In addition, there are some Kissatens that offer curry rice or spaghetti as a popular menu item, but those kissatens, despite their name, actually have restaurant business licenses.
Although Coffee-ten doesn’t have a clear definition, it is rather similar to the kissaten. Based on a breakdown of a menu, probably we can call a shop “Coffee-ten” when 50% of its sales is dominated by coffee items. In addition to that, Coffee-tens are likely to place a great importance on their coffees, so any shops that are serving coffees with special attention could be categorized as Coffee-ten too.
We have explained the differences between “Kissaten”, “Cafe”, and “Coffee-ten” so far. Although There are some clear definitions such as types of business licenses, definitions could still vary as everyone has different senses and also every single shop has a different atmosphere.