How To Order Coffee In Japanese

The Japanese word for cafe is Kissaten (喫茶店)

Whether you love coffee or just arrived in Japan and trying to recover from Jet lag. Follow this guide to gain the confidence and skills you need to order any cup of coffee you want in Japan. Best of luck!

All the phrases below are written in Romaji and Hiragana (H:) as it’s helpful to learn how to read native Japanese characters as they will often appear in Japan. You will also find katakana and kanji (K:) versions to familiarize yourself with how these items would often appear on a Japanese menu.

THE JAPANESE CAFE SURVIVAL GUIDE

How to order coffee in Japanese, the ordering process step by step.

STEP ONE - QUANTITY

EnglishJapanese
1 Coffee pleaseKōhī wo hitotsu kudasai
H:こーひー を ひとつ ください
K:コーヒー を 一つ ください
2 Coffees pleaseKōhī wo futatsu kudasai
H:こーひー を ふたつ ください
K:コーヒー を 二つ ください
3 Coffee's pleaseKōhī wo mittsu kudasai
H:こーひー を みっつ ください
K:コーヒー を 三つ ください

TIPS

  • Often coffee (Kōhī) is written in katakana like this コーヒー. 
  • When counting coffee and other general items, the counter commonly used is the tsu (つ) counter. 
  • You will often read numbers on a Japanese menu in kanji like this: 
    • 1: 一つ 
    • 2: 二つ 
    • 3: 三つ

STEP TWO - SIZE

When it comes to ordering the size of coffee, there are multiple ways to do this. The easiest way is to simply say: 

  • S for small.
  • M for medium.
  • L for large.
 Version 1 Version 2 Version 3
SMALL
S saizuSumouru saizuChīsai saizu
H:S さいずH:すもーる さいずH:ちいさい さいず
K:S サイズK:スモール サイズK:小さい サイズ
MEDIUM
M saizuMidiamu saizu Emu saizu
H:M さいずH:みでぃあむ さいずH:えむさいず
K:M サイズK:ミディアム サイズK:えむサイズ
LARGE
L saizu Laghi saizu Ōkī saizu
H:L さいずH:らーじさいずH:おおきいさいず
K:L サイズK:ラージ サイズK:大きい サイズ

PRACTICE PHRASE

one medium coffee please.

kohee wo (midiamu) saizu de (hitotsu) kudasai.

H: こーひーをみでぃあむ さいずでひとつください

K: コーヒーをミディアムサイズで 一つ下さい

*(quantity) (size) coffee please.

TIP

Chīsai saizu and Ōkī saizu is more rarely used when ordering coffee.

STEP THREE - ROAST

In Japanese there are two words used for roast, Rōsuto and Baisen. See below for how to order the roast you like.

EnglishRomajiHiraganaKana, Kanji
Roast (V1)Rōsutoろーすとロースト
Roast (V2)Baisenばいせん焙煎
Light (V1) Laitoらいとライト
Light (V2)Asairiあさいり浅煎り
Medium (V1)Midiamuみでぃあむミディアム
Medium (V2)Chuuiriちゅういり中煎り
Dark (V1)Dhaakuだーくダーク
Dark (V2)Fukaiiriふかいいり深煎り

CONVERSATION PRACTICE

Barista: What roast would you like?

Baisen no fukasa wa ikaga nasaimasu ka?

H: ばいせんのふかさはいかがなさいますか?

K: 焙煎の深さはいかがなさいますか?

I would like a medium roast please.

(midiamu) rōsuto de onegai shimasu.

H: みでぃあむ ろーすと で お願いします

K: ミディアムロースト で お願いします

*(TYPE) Roast please.

TIP

Speaking vs Reading Roasts

  • When speaking its more common to use Laito, Midiamu, and Dhaaku. The other methods are more so used when in written form at specific coffee shops or on packaging.

STEP FOUR - HOT OR COLD?

In Japan, especially in the summer coffee is often ordered cold. So it's quite common to be asked if you would like your coffee hot or cold.

EnglishRomajiHiraganaKana, Kanji
Hot (V1)Hotto Kōhīほっとこーひーホットコーヒー
Hot (V2)Atatakaiあたたかい 温かい
Cold (V1)Aisu Kōhīあいすこーひーアイスコーヒー
Cold (V2)Tsumetaiつめたい冷たい

CONVERSATION PRACTICE

Barista: Would you like that warm or cold?

Atatakai no to tsumetai no dochira ni nasaimasuka?

H: あたたかい の と つめたい の どちら に なさいますか

K: 温かい の と つめたい の どちら に なさいますか

TIPS

Vending Machine vs Ordering in person.

  • Atatakai and Tsumetai, is more commonly found on a vending machine than ordering from a real cafe. (Cold is blue, Hot is red)
  • Hotto coffee and Aisu coffee is more commonly used when ordering in person.

STEP FIVE - CUSTOMIZE

Can't drink dairy? Have a food allergy? Learning how NOT to order something specific will really allow you to customize your order.

PRACTICE PHRASES

Do you have non dairy milk?

Gyūnyū wo tsukatte nai miruku wa arimasu ka?

H: ぎゅうにゅう を つかって ない みるく は ありますか?

K:  牛乳 を 使っていないミルク は ありますか?

I would like (object) please.

(object) wo kudasai.

H: (object) をください

K: (object) を下さい

I don’t need (object).

(object) wa irenai de kudasai.

H: (object) は いれない で ください

K: (object) は 入れないで下さい

CONVERSATION PRACTICE

Barista: Would you like cream or sugar?

Kureemu to satou wa otsuke Shimasu ka?

H: くりーむ と さとう は おつけしますか?

K: クリーム と 砂糖 は お付けしますか?

Sugar please.

Satou wo kudasai.

H: さとう を ください

K: 砂糖 を 下さい

No sugar please.

Satou wa irenai de kudasai.

H: さとう は いれない で ください

K: 砂糖はいれないで下さい

Cream please.

Kureemu wo kudasai.

H: くりーむ を ください

K: クリーム を 下さい

No cream please.

Kureemu wa irenai de kudasai.

H: くりーむ は いれない で ください

K: クリームはいれないで下さい

Cream and sugar please.

Kureemu to satou wo kudasai.

H: くりーむ と さとう を ください

K: クリーム と 砂糖 を 下さい

No cream or sugar.

Kureemu to satou wa irimasen.

H: くりーむ と さとう は いりません

K: クリーム と 砂糖 は いりません

TIPS

WA or WO?

You may have noticed the wa (は) particle being used when asking NOT to have something and the wo (を) particle was used to ask FOR something. A simple rule when choosing which Japanese particle to use is when asking TO HAVE something use the wo (を) particle. When asking TO NOT HAVE use the wa (は) particle.

Kureemu or Miruku?

In the examples above I had stated cream as (Kureemu), which is correct in most cases at a cafe. However in places like convenient stores they may refer to cream as milk (Miruku).

STEP SIX - HERE OR TO GO?

CONVERSATION PRACTICE

Barista: Will that be for here or to go?

Kochirade meshiagari masuka? Soretomo omochi kaeri deshouka?

H: こちらで めしあがり ますか? それとも おもちかえり でしょうか?

K: こちらで 召し上がり ますか? それとも お持ち帰り でしょうか?

For here please.

Kokode itadakimasu.

H: ここ で いただきます

K: ここ で 頂きます

To go please.

Mochikaeri de onegai shimasu.

H: もちかえり で おねがいします

K: 持ち帰り で お願いします

TIPS

You may also hear...

  • Tennai Desuku? Tennai meaning for here.
  • In this case you can respond with Tennai Onegaishimasu. (Here please.)

 

VOCABULARY REVIEW

EnglishRomajiHiraganaKana, Kanji
CoffeeKōhīこーひーコーヒー
RoastAtatakaiろーすとロースト
SugarSatouさとう砂糖
Cream Kureemuくりーむクリーム
Cow MilkGyūnyūぎゅうにゅう牛乳
MilkMirukuみるくミルク
WarmAtatakaiあたたかい温かい
ColdTsumetaiつめたい冷たい
DecafDekafeでかふぇデカフェ
CafeKissatenきっさてん喫茶店
LatteRate (rah-teh)らてラテ
ExpressoEsupuressoえすぷれっそエスプレッソ
TeaOchaおちゃお茶
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