Over the years, Japan has seen an amazing array of vending machines. From sushi to bras, there have been some truly peculiar ones. But most serve drinks. One, however, serves latte art.
Located at Tokyo's Haneda Aiport, the "Yojiya Cafe Selection" vending machine claims to be the first in the country to offer "latte art." Heck, it even says so on the machine: "Nihonhatsu" (日本初) or "the first in Japan." One cup of creative Joe costs 200 yen (a little over US$2).
The machine debuted a few years back, but was featured this week on Japanese television. Instead of using foam to create the latte art, it sprinkles the Yojiya logo on the coffee in a similar fashion that Let's Coffee machines in Taiwan sprinkle images.
Yojiya is a famous Kyoto cosmetics company, known for its mirrors, traditional blotting paper (aburatorigami or あぶらとり紙), and natural skin care products. The Yojiya stores also have cafes, which serve latte art featuring the company's logo. Below, you can see the kind of food and coffee the cafes, which are mostly located in Kyoto, offer. Note that none of them come out of vending machines!
Granted, this latte art is nowhere near as complex or artistic as the human creations you'll see in Japan—or at an actual Yojiya Cafe. But if you are in an airport and want a cup of vending machine coffee, this beats boring old black.
In nearby Taiwan, coffee machines able to "print" (well, sprinkle) photos on coffee were rolled out in Family Mart.
To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.