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Origami Coffee


Clearly I’ve been living in Japan too long. When I saw “Starbucks Origami Personal Drip Coffee” at the local super and discovered it’s only being marketed here in Japan, I got really excited! I thought it might be the caffeine equivalent of this:

The Issey Miyake skirt that folds down into a beautiful flat chrysanthemum.

I ripped open the package as soon as I got home, but instead of an awesomely clever and elegant design…


…what’s this thing that looks kinda like a Burger King birthday crown? But, okay, let’s give it a try.

Step 1: Pull open the filter bag.

Maybe I’m especially inept, but because there are tabs all over this thing except where you’re supposed to grab them to pull it open, I tore a big hole in the side of the filter bag on the first one I tried to use. Grr. Into the Burnable Trash. Let’s try again. This time I discovered that if you pry apart the skinny lips at the top and grasp each side between your thumb and forefinger and pull, it opens with a sort of perforated paper sound. After that, it wasn’t hard to prod it into the right shape and settle it atop my cup.

Step 2: Add hot water.

Okay, I’m a total champion at this. Full marks, not even any spillage.


Step 3: Drink

It looked good. It smelled good. It tasted…kinda meh. But better than instant. A lot better than instant. Maybe about as good as coffee maker coffee. To be fair, it’s possible I just didn’t like the blend. I’ll try one of the other varieties and see if they’re better.

As for the product design, though, I admit: WAHHHH. I am disappoint.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car with a pair of strangers. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more

Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

4 thoughts on “Origami Coffee Leave a comment

  1. I was fortunate enough to have a friend bring back some of these. I found out you can only get a tiny “acceptable” cup of coffee. Right under 5 ounces of water or 140 ml makes a decent cup, strong enough to add cream. These are handy if you’re traveling and need a fast fix of caffeine.

    • You know, that’s probably what I did wrong – I used too much water! If I’d made a Japanese-size cup, it would have been stronger and probably tasted a whole lot better. And you’re right about these being a traveler’s salvation – it’s WAY better than the coffee that’s stocked in most hotel rooms.

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