CR 19

It seems like we’ve been spending every spare moment we have snatching up fukubukuro, the lucky bag bundles that shoppers in Japan buy at New Year’s without knowing what’s inside. As a matter of fact, by the time we stopped and took count, we’d grabbed eight different fukubukuro from cafés near our office.

As a result, we’re pretty much stocked up on coffee for the next couple of weeks. Honestly, we’ve got so much we’d be happy to pour you a cup, if only the RocketNews24 offices had a visitors’ lounge. But since it doesn’t, instead, we’re going to give you the information you need to pick the best café lucky bag for yourself, as we present the RocketNews24 Ultimate Café Fukubukuro Ranking 2015.

We’ll be ranking each fukubukuro in three categories: rarity (how hard it is to get your hands on), surprise factor (how well it can surprise us after a whole year of working with the always unpredictable Mr. Sato), and overall satisfaction (whether or not it’s worth the price). All three are rated on a scale of one to five.

8. Café de Crie (3,000 yen [US$25])

CR 17

Contents: Coffee beans, honey peach tea, stainless steel tumbler, drink discount coupons, five free drink coupons, portable coffee dripper (estimated total value: 6,000 yen / $50)
Rarity: 2
Surprise factor: 2
Satisfaction: 2

CR 18

Just by itself, the tumbler usually sells for 2,000 yen, so this is a pretty impressive value. On the downside, the free drink coupons are only redeemable at the same Café de Crie branch where you buy the fukubukuro, which makes them pretty inconvenient if you’re the type who likes to grab coffee wherever you happen to be rather than making a special trip to your local café.

7. Saint Marc Café (1,000 yen [$8])

CR 15

Contents: Five chocolate croissants, five free coffee coupons (estimated value: 2,500 yen / $21)
Rarity: 1
Surprise factor: 1
Satisfaction: 3

CR 16

The fukubukuro for Saint Marc Café, which is famous for its chocolate croissants, is pretty much the same every year. As a result, there really wasn’t any surprise at all when we opened ours up. On the other hand, chocolate croissants.

6. Starbucks (3,500 yen [$29])

CR 13

Contents: Coffee beans, powdered coffee, stainless steel bottle, greeting card with free drink coupon (estimated value: 8,000 yen [$67])
Rarity: 5
Surprise factor: 3
Satisfaction: 3

CR 14

Starbucks’ fukubukuro are so popular that they disappear from Tokyo branches in a flash. We’re not sure if their track record of success inflated some people’s expectations, or if they’re just disappointed that it didn’t include as many non-coffee goodies as last year’s, but we noticed more than a few grumbles about this year’s version online. Still, if you like Starbucks coffee, this lucky bag represents a pretty big discount over the regular prices.

5. Doutor Coffee (two types, both 1,200 yen [$10])

CR 11

Drip coffee set

Contents: Drip coffee (four types, 25 packs in total) (estimated value: 2,000 yen [$17])
Rarity: 2
Surprise factor: 1
Satisfaction: 3

Coffee beans set

Contents: Two bags of coffee beans (estimated value: 2,000 yen [$17])
Rarity: 2
Surprise factor: 1
Satisfaction: 3

CR 12

Doutor Coffee gives you coffee…and absolutely nothing else. But hey, they do this every year, so you pretty much know what you’re getting, and their fukubukuro are a little easier to track down than most other chains’.

4. Ueshima Coffee (3,000 yen [$25])

CR 8

Contents: Bottle, four bags of coffee beans, 500-yen prepaid Ueshima Coffee card (estimated value: 4,000-5,000 yen [$34-$42])
Rarity: 1
Surprise factor: 2
Satisfaction: 4

CR 9

CR 10

Coffee beans. Coffee beans. More coffee beans. And finally, yet another bag of coffee beans. We really shouldn’t have been expecting anything else from a chain operated by UCC, one of Japan’s oldest coffee companies. And while we found ourselves craving a little more variety, given the suspect quality and design of the bottle that came as part of the package, we honestly would have been happier with a fifth bag of beans.

3. Eikokuya (3,000 yen [$25])

CR 6

Contents: Coffee beans, blended tea, drip coffee, Eikokuya beef curry, two drink discount coupons (estimated value: 5,000 yen [$42])
Rarity: 3
Surprise factor: 3
Satisfaction: 4

CR 7

In contrast to Ueshima Coffee, Eikokuya threw us a pleasant curve with tea and curry! Granted, they’re all the same things you can walk into Eikokuya and buy any time, but still, we appreciated the comprehensive representation of the café’s product lineup.

Eikokuya’s fukubukuro actually went on sale in late December of 2014, and we’re guessing the same thing will happen in 2015, so this is a good option is you want to get your lucky bag shopping out of the way early.

2. Tully’s Coffee (5,000 yen [$42])

CR 4

Contents: Two bags of coffee beans, drip bag, coffee candy, coffee mug, eight free drink coupons redeemable at any Tully’s Coffee in Japan, teddy bear, point card (estimated value: 10,000 yen [$84])
Rarity: 4
Surprise factor: 3
Satisfaction: 4

CR 5

While we figure curry makes for a pretty universally popular surprise, we’re not so sure how many people who love coffee also find themselves in need of a new teddy bear. Still, the inclusion of coupons you can use nationwide is a big plus, and this bundle is popular enough that some Tully’s branches only sell them by prior reservation.

1. Tully’s Coffee (3,000 yen [$25])

CR 2

Contents: Coffee beans, drip bag, coffee candy, coffee mug, five free drink coupons redeemable at any Tully’s Coffee in Japan, five free drink coupons redeemable at same branch where fukubukuro is purchased, point card (estimated value: 8,500 yen [$71])
Rarity: 3
Surprise factor: 3
Satisfaction: 5

CR 3

Like we said, some people, us included, don’t really care about getting a Tully’s teddy. At 2,000 yen less, the 3,000-yen lucky bag also tosses in some coupons for wherever you bought the bundle at, and is our overall king of the café fukubukuro, at least until next year.

Well, that wraps up the RocketNews24 Ultimate Café Fukuburuko Ranking 2015. We’ll see you all next year, and if any of you get bored in the meantime, feel free to give us a call, even if it’s late. With all this caffeine, it looks like we’re going to be up all night.

Photos: RocketNews24
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