In the United States, we are used to seeing Starbucks almost in every city.
In Japan, while Starbucks can also be seen in major cities, you can also find coffee shops everywhere and one prevalent coffee shop is Doutor Coffee.
Founded by Toriba Hiromichi, there are over 900 locations throughout Japan and 1,200 shops all over the world.
The original goal of Doutor Coffee was to bring a European styled cafe to Japan and the first was opened in Harajuku in April 1980, serving food and beverages. An provided coffee for 150 yen and priding itself in affordability.
As the business grew, Doutor Coffee acquired their own plantation in 1991 at Kona Island, Hawaii. And a second plantation in 1995.
As for roasting, instead of using hot air, the company uses open flame roasting, which retains the flavor of the coffee beans. It does take much longer and back then, only so many beans could be done at one time. So, the company focused on research and development in creating open flame roasting equipment.
While the company currently owns different shops such as Doutor, Excelsior Caffe (Italian-style), Cafe Colorado (coffee shop that sells beans and equipment), Mauka Meadows, Le Cafe Doutor (located in major shopping areas and is French-style) and Cafe Lexcel (Japanese fusion coffee shop).
As for Doutor Coffee, one can purchase seasonal sandwiches (starting September the latest promotion is for the company’s honey grilled bacon BLT sandwich with Setouchi lemon cheese cream sauce, their popular Milano sandwich (avocado and shrimp or tofu hamburg and lotus root)), hot dog, hot sandwich, toast, sweets and more.
And of course, for hot drinks which include their popular Doutor blended coffee, cafe latte, honey cafe au lait, soy milk latte, caffe mocha, cappuccino, espresso coffee, tea and more. And their cold drinks which include the luxury marron latte, lemon iced green tea, peach tea jelly in ice coffee latte (or soy), iced coffee and many more.
And similar to Starbucks, you can purchase bags of coffee beans as well.
If you are in Japan and are in need of caffeine or on a budget and want affordable sandwiches and drinks and are looking for a coffee shop nearby, keep an eye on the Doutor Coffee signs which you will see quite frequently.