The computer game that simulates “real-world“ coffee shop action gets more characters, conversations, and fantastical surprises.
BY CRAIG BATORY
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Toge Productions
What Is Coffee Talk?
For those who haven’t played Coffee Talk, the best way to describe this virtual experience is that it dives into the best parts of coffee brewing and coffee talk in ’90s-era Seattle—aka, a pre-Amazonian metropolitan society that is passionate about its second-wave coffee game. You play as the café owner, navigating through the landscape with a thriving business that has zero financial worries, and is somehow only open when the sun goes down. Sounds dreamy, right?
What to Expect
The expansion is called “Hibiscus and Butterfly,” which is a continuation of Coffee Talk’s retro 32-bit style game. Johana Tanoto, public relations manager at Toge Productions, explains that the title of the expansion is based on new elements in the upcoming installment. However, it also alludes to storylines added to the narrative. “It’s based on the new ingredients we add to the game,” she says. “But it also has something to do with the characters’ stories later in the game.”
New Stories, New Conversations
Johana goes on to explain that players can expect the same experience they had through the first edition of Coffee Talk, but the situations in the expansion will be slightly different. Think of a similar setting within a café—but as with real life of course, there will be even more nuanced situations, conversations, and interactions.
“The development team of the expansion were heavily influenced by the way society interacts with social media,” says Johana. “When we did our brainstorming, we felt that social media is a really interesting topic to bring up because we believe that nowadays, lots of people know about it and almost everybody can get access to online and digital media.”
The expansion, like its predecessor, will be rich with backstory, lore, and exposition from the first game. The dialogue, while hyperbolic at times and often overly dramatic, dives deep and hones in on current social issues we deal with. And creating such sensitive dialogue isn’t as easy as it sounds. Johana tells Barista Magazine that the most challenging part of simulated conversations was creating tangible and realistic dialogue between characters.
“We had this role-play session where we figured out how they spoke to each other. This helped tackle the writer’s block issue on that part,” Johana says.
More of the Same Things You Love
Expect to see some new characters in the expansion, as well as several familiar faces who will make their awaited return. Additionally, elves, orcs, mermaids, and many other fantastical races are expected to make their debuts as well. And players can expect another eclectic selection of jazzy and lo-fi music (chill lo-fi homework beats that you should definitely study to).
As for drink prep, the expansion honors the same tried-and-true drink recipes with flawless latte art by you: the café owner. The expansion also features a few more drink options and ingredients that have yet to be revealed. But it might be safe to assume that hibiscus, given the expansion’s namesake and status as a popular café ingredient, will appear at some point.
To round it out, expect new techniques and methods to perfect your virtual latte art, which are still in the alpha phase of production. “We actually got some good ideas of additional features around the latte art making,” Johana says. “We just haven’t decided yet.”
“Hibiscus and Butterfly” is set to release sometime next year. Stay tuned for updates to the game and a release date!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Craig Batory (he/him) is a coffee professional and digital marketer based in Detroit. When he’s not brewing coffee or designing websites, he’s on his bike with his dog, Angus.