Don’t worry. FUK COFFEE really does love coffee.

Coffee is a beverage that’s enjoyed by a wide variety of people for many different reasons. For some, it’s a jolting liquid eye-opener, something gulped down at the start of the day. For others, it’s something to sip when your schedule allows for a leisurely afternoon spent in a cozy chair with a good book. And for other still, it’s the perfect capper to a great dinner after a busy shift at work.

But regardless of which facet of the drink’s allure inspired them to open a cafe, you’d expect that one common trait among anyone running a coffeehouse is that they love coffee, right? So it might be a little startling if you’re in Japan and come across a cafe that a sign out front that says FUK COFFEE.

And yes, the official rendering of the cafe chain’s name is indeed in all caps, so it’s not just “Fuk Coffee,” it’s FUK COFFEE.

Now, it’s true that, partly by way of the Japanese language not having much in the way of outright profanity, people in Japan can sometimes use some startling harsh English vocabulary. It’s also true that misspellings can often slip through the cracks on English signage in Japan. However, FUK COFFEE’s name isn’t the result of a disgruntled owner who’d really rather be brewing tea then coffee. Instead, it’s a tip of the hat to the cafe’s hometown, Fukuoka City, the capital of Fukuoka Prefecture on the island of Kyushu.

As for why they went with the FUK abbreviation, there’s a hint in some of the cafe’s latte art.

See those little airplanes? The three-letter code for Fukuoka Airport is FUK.

As a matter of fact, since starting FUK COFFEE the cafe’s managing company, 3Letter Co., has also opened up an OSA COFFEE in Osaka, HIJ COFFEE in Hiroshima, and NGS COFFEE in Nagasaki, all using their respective cities’ airport codes.

But FUK COFFEE came first, and it really does make you wonder whether or not the owners were aware of the possible confusion. On the one hand, though it’s not commonly used as a loanword, many young Japanese people are aware of English’s F-bomb and its connotation. In terms of location, FUC COFFEE’s branches may be located within Fukuoka City, but it doesn’t have any branches inside Fukuoka Airport.

On the other, hand, FUK COFFEE looks to be a pretty classy place. It isn’t leaning into the potential misunderstanding by selling “I need FUK every day!” T-shirts or similarly cheeky merch, and 3Letter is only using the FUK COFFEE branding within Fukuoka while continuing the airport code-motif elsewhere without any sort of double-entendre. Finally, while the cafe’s official pronunciation for the FUK part of its name is Fukku, with the same short-U vowel sound as “Fukuoka,” when the English F-word is pronounced in Japanese it gets a short-A sound (fakku) instead.

So while they maybe could have avoided some suspicion by just capitalizing the first letter of “Coffee,” it looks like FUK COFFEE really is innocent of any implied vulgarity. Though if you’re the kind of person who really does intensely hate coffee but your friends are dragging you to the place…

…it looks like they sometimes have some really delicious-looking green tea drinks and sweets too.

Related: FUK COFFEE official website
Images: PR Times
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