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Dave Lamason first walked into an off-the-beaten-path kissaten in early 2000s Osaka.

“I don’t really want to stay. This one is quite smelly,” his wife said. But Lamason, who had recently gotten into the coffee game back home in New Zealand, thought it was “f—-n’ cool.” With its older clientele bathed in a smoky haze, he remembers the old-school shop served a coffee with “minimal extraction,” brewed with gear he had not seen before.

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