A coffee shop’s confusing menu items both baffle and delight us.

About a month ago, our Japanese-language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma visited a local cafe chain called Saza Coffee in the business neighborhood of Shinagawa in Tokyo, where he found a delightfully delicious dish called “The World’s Tastiest Coffee Jelly.” After raving about it on social media, a representative from Saza Coffee contacted him to let him know that, at the Kitte Marunouchi branch at Tokyo Station, they serve a dish called “The World’s Most Delicious Coffee Jelly.”

Masanuki resisted the temptation to reply, “Are they not the same?” but he had already made up his mind that they were. With names like that, how could they be different? But since he couldn’t resist a chance to ferret out the mystery, Masanuki paid a visit to the Kitte Marunouchi Saza Coffee.

It just so happened that on the day he arrived, they were in the middle of the “Geisha Fair”, which offers Geisha Coffee, Japan’s most expensive coffee, for reasonable prices. Since Geisha Coffee is sought after by coffee fans throughout Japan, there was understandably a line out the door.

While waiting in line, Masanuki browsed the menu. On special offer for the fair were a Mocha Tasting Set and two blends of Geisha’s seasonal and prize-winning “Geisha Hunter” coffees. Since he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it, Masanuki decided to order some Geisha Hunter with his coffee jelly.

Then Masanuki looked for the coffee jelly on the menu, only to find…

Both coffee jellies!!

“The World’s Most Delicious Coffee” and the “The World’s Tastiest Coffee” were both listed on the menu, one after the other, and to make matters more confusing, they were both simply labeled “Coffee Jelly” in English. Not even native Japanese speakers would know the difference between the two dishes, so how would anyone know which one to order?

The “Most Delicious Coffee Jelly” had only one size for 1,000 yen (US$7.31), while the “Tastiest Coffee Jelly” had two sizes, medium for 520 yen and large for 640 yen. The “Tastiest Coffee Jelly” that Masanuki had loved so much in Shinagawa was cheaper than the “Most Delicious”…So did that mean it would be even better quality? With soaring expectations, Masanuki placed his order.

About five minutes later, the “World’s Most Delicious Coffee Jelly” arrived, served in a champagne glass. It made Masanuki feel like a celebrity. It was beautiful, and he was sure it was going to taste amazing.

Beside it was the Geisha Hunter coffee. Apparently, this coffee gets its name from the fact that in the Panamanian coffee industry, the Saza Coffee representative is known as “the Geisha Hunter”, which is a name they proudly wear. Masanuki thought that was pretty cool.

Masanuki is no coffee expert, but even he could get a sense of the Geisha Hunter coffee’s supreme quality. It had a bright, fruity aroma and flavor that he found delicious.

Back to the coffee jelly. It was topped with fluffy whipped cream, which had a very luxurious and delicate texture. Eaten together with the coffee jelly, which Masanuki was able to dig up like a jewel, it was so delicious he almost couldn’t stand it. Just like the coffee, the jelly lacked any bitterness and had a fruity flavor.

That makes sense, as Masanuki later learned that Geisha Coffee was used for the “World’s Most Delicious Jelly”, which is distinguished by its bright flavor profile. After tasting it with the whipped cream, he couldn’t help eating spoonful after spoonful, but after about half was already gone, he decided to slow down and really appreciate the flavor and experience of digging it up.

It was certainly different from “The World’s Tastiest Coffee Jelly”, which came in a plastic cup and had chocolate syrup drizzled over the whipped cream.

“The World’s Tastiest Coffee Jelly” isn’t made with Geisha Coffee, so it also had a little bit of the bitterness and acidity of most coffee brands. This isn’t a bad thing, because it paired delightfully well with the sweet whipped cream and chocolate syrup. But “The World’s Most Delicious Coffee”…nothing could beat its exquisite, luxurious smoothness.

Who would have thought that two things that are essentially the same dish could be so radically different? Perhaps it was with kindness that Saza Coffee distinguished their coffee jellies with two different names.

By the way, you might have also noticed the “Rainbow Mille Crepes” on the dessert menu shown above. It’s a mille-feuille crepe cake whose layers have been dyed with a rainbow of colors. We’ve tried it and can guarantee that it’s just as delicious as it is pretty, so if coffee jelly isn’t your thing, there’s still a reason to stop by a Saza Coffee near you!

Images © SoraNews24
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