Plus the perfect old-school coffee to drink with it.

It might seem a little weird that the theme of Starbucks Japan’s newest menu line is kissaten, since kissaten is just the Japanese word for “coffeehouse.” Since Starbucks itself is a coffeehouse, shouldn’t that make its whole food and beverage lineup kissaten-style?

However, even in Japanese people understand the word “cafe,” and kissaten has more of an old-school ring to it. The word rings to mind an era before cafes also offered all sorts of chocolaty and fruity treats, and so even Starbucks’ new kissaten cake provides a double-dose of coffee flavor.

The Coffee Gelatin Cake (or “Coffee Jelly Cake,” as it’s called in Japanese) is a sophisticated indulgence. Scattered throughout the slice of café au lait-style coffee mousse are morsels of bitter coffee gelatin, and serving at the base is a brownie crust. Up above is a topping of whipped cream, with a single espresso bean perched atop the dessert.

Lifting a forkful to our mouth, we found the sensation to be moist, rich, and deeply satisfying. The whipped cream, coffee mouse, and brownie crust blend harmoniously together, delivering a taste that’s neither too harshly bitter nor artlessly sweet, and so the best strategy is to make sure you get all three layers in a single bite.

The perfect accompaniment to Starbucks’ coffee cake is its new kissaten-inspired Vienna Coffee, which once again is a mix of strong coffee and smooth creaminess. A variation on the chain’s standard drip coffee, the Vienna Coffee starts off black, with no milk or sugar, and then adds in whipped cream for a relaxing, comforting flavor.

▼ Even the logo for Starbucks’ kissaten line is retro, with an understated logo and throwback Japanese font.

The Coffee Gelatin Cake is priced at 440 yen (US$4), while the Vienna Coffee starts at 340 for a short size, making them reasonably priced treats for the mature customers they’re designed for.

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