Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly (PC) Review

New flavors of that great tasting Coffee Talk

Coffee Talk was a sleeper hit of 2020. A visual novel where you are a barista of a late night coffee shop in Seattle. The conversations live and die by the drinks you serve them. Giving them exactly what they want will push the conversations into new and intense places, but serve them the wrong drinks and watch the conversations dry up. Just get to brewin’ and enjoy the ride!

The world of Coffee Talk is a fantastical version of Seattle where creatures of lore have come into contact and coexist with humanity. So your customer base is that of werewolves, vampires, fairies, cat spirits etc., all of whom are just normal individuals trying to get by in the rat race of life. From game developer ogres to elf influencers, the cast of characters are a lively bunch of charismatic folks. You will get to know and be part of their lives as they come to you for a listening ear and something warm to drink. 

Each in-game day has you interacting with your customers and giving brief glimpses into their day to day experiences, but also acts as multi-part story arcs. You never know who will be showing up during your shift, so it’s always a nice surprise to find out whose arc you will progress next. Is it the cat spirit pop star struggling with the pressure of fame? Or is it the elf and satyr couple who can’t figure out their upcoming nuptials. The customers also interact with each other in ways that feel natural. The conversations flow as easy as the drinks and in a world of cringe dialogue, this is a refreshing change of pace. 

The gameplay of Coffee Talk Episode 2 is exactly the same as the original. Customers come in, and throughout the conversation will place an order, but instead of giving you exactly a name, they will describe the drink based on the traits: bitter, sweet, warm and cool. You do so by mixing base liquids with herbs and spices in varying orders to create custom drinks. For bonus points, you can create fun drink art in the foam, but otherwise it’s all about finding those right combinations to make real world drinks. 

As you continue to mix combinations, you slowly unlock a recipe guide of all your past drinks.  A lot of those drinks carry over from the previous games but there are some additions. In the newest episode, we get Hibiscus and Blue Pea teas to our inventory, increasing our drink list quite a bit making for some delicious looking combinations. Almost so much to make you want to try these concoctions at home. While serving your drinks, you will find or be given items to pass between characters the next time you encounter them. It’s a mechanic that is used to influence storylines for multiple playthroughs. 

The storylines themselves range from the deeply personal to basic life experiences to the geopolitical landscape that comes with new species inhabiting the planet. They are fascinating in their own right but become deeply personal the more you get to know each character. We see our returning favorites from the first game but also get new characters in the ghostly Siren: Riona, influencer Satyr: Lucas, and Space alien Amanda. They all have new dynamics with the already set cast of characters and are a welcome addition overall. 

Coffee Talk as a series is a known quantity. It’s an engrossing and deeply personal visual novel with light coffee making mechanics. The original was one of my top games of 2020 and Episode 2 proves to be similar in high level quality. Any real complaints of such light gameplay evaporates in the steam of the blue pea tea and juicy deets on from the characters I love. Coffee Talk has proven that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, with nothing more than what you loved from the previous entry. Plus with multiple storyline endings, I’m still sipping on the tea wonderfully made by Toge Productions. 


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