I played Coffee Talk in a basement, quarantining from my family, while moving across the country in April 2020, and loved every minute.
Coffee Talk places you as the barista-owner of a small late-night coffee shop in a fantastical, alternate universe version of Seattle. It always still rains, but customers may be elves, orcs, and other tailed anthropomorphic creatures. Coffee Talk was the epitome of cozy, and its sequel, Coffee Talk Episode 2, delivers more of the same.
The Gameplay of Coffee Talk Episode 2
Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly was released a few weeks ago by Indonesia-based studio Toge Productions. Players are back in the coffee shop where they listen to customers’ woes and craft the perfect drink to help soothe their souls. Choose the right base, such as green tea or coffee, with the right combination of add-ins, like lemon or cinnamon, to create a beverage that hits just right.
Coffee Talk Episode 2 encourages people to think about the little ways they can make the world around them a better place, one drink at a time.
A vegan vampire orders a red tea that reminds him of an old flame as he considers moving back to town. A banshee who dreams of an opera singing career opens up about her need to be vulnerable when getting a delicious latte. A tired detective wants something relaxing to help him on a stressful case.
Research says that holding a warm beverage can help people open up and feel safer. By making the right drinks, Coffee Talk Episode 2 players can help their customers finish art projects, work through interpersonal struggles, build self-confidence, and heal community wounds. Politics and culture are (still) messy in the other Seattle, but Coffee Talk Episode 2 encourages people to think about the little ways they can make the world around them a better place, one drink at a time.
The Coffee Talk games capture the coziness of the perfect coffee shop. Brick walls and plants. Impeccable lo-fi beats (courtesy of Andrew Jeremy). The quiet conversation of regulars amid the steaming of milk and pulling of espresso shots. The aesthetics of everything are just right.
A Great Sequel
Coffee Talk Episode 2 adds to its predecessor’s formula. Now, just like in a real coffee shop, there’s a lost-and-found inventory system, which adds some new gameplay elements to customer interactions. There are two new herbal teas (Hibiscus and Butterfly Pea) that add a range of drinks to create. Among familiar faces, a few new customers arrive as well.
I don’t think Coffee Talk 2 reaches the same emotional crescendos as the original, but it articulates its vibe so well that it might not matter. For anyone who has ever dreamed of feeling like a regular, Coffee Talk delivers.
I wouldn’t recommend playing Coffee Talk Episode 2 (2023) without playing Coffee Talk (2020); there are enough referential storylines that are more enjoyable with an understanding of the original. But perhaps by hearing about how good the sequel is, you’ll give the first one a shot.
Coffee Talk Episode 2 is a love letter to friendship and third places.
Is Coffee Talk Episode 2 a Good Game?
Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly is a great game for anyone who needs something cozy. Coffee Talk and Coffee Talk Episode 2 are perfect games on the Nintendo Switch, but they’re also available on PC, Mac, PlayStation 5 & 4, and Xbox Series X/S & One.
The game includes two relaxing endless modes as well as a beautiful gallery, the latter of which includes a dedication to Mohammad Fahmi, the writer and lead developer of Coffee Talk, who passed away this time last year.
Any indie game is a labor of love, much less one made through such difficult times. Coffee Talk Episode 2 is a love letter to friendship and third places.