Review | Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly

Originally published at: Review | Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly - XboxEra

The counter of an all too familiar cafe greats you as you open up shop on the first day of what will be a long stroll through the hardships, heartaches, trials, and tribulations of the fantastical residents of Coffee Talk Episode 2’s Seattle.

Does this pseudo-sequel bring the heat, or does it overstay its welcome, becoming nothing more than a tepid, lukewarm slow burn? Let’s take a sip of Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly.

Bitter, Not Better

Last year, I had the pleasure of reviewing Coffee Talk which worked its way into my heart with charming, if not aloof dialogue and quirky characters all wrapped up nicely in a supernatural bow. Coffee Talk Episode 2, however, seems to become incredibly too self-referential with characters whose problems aren’t going to be relatable for most players, myself included.

Much like Coffee Talk, this game’s biggest issues aren’t the art or the soundtrack, both of which are just as on point as the first, but the writing that is lacking the most. For what is essentially a visual novel with some coffee brewing thrown into the mix, the writing doesn’t deliver on the promises that it makes early on.

In Coffee Talk Episode 2, you return to the role of the Barista and owner of Coffee Talk, a late-night cafe that serves the fantasy-inspired citizens of a mythical interpretation of modern-day Seattle. Nearly all of the characters from the first game make a return, except for Freya, the author that would make her way to the cafe in almost every chapter of the game. She’s off writing her novel and we return to our steady career making new and exciting drinks for our friends as they dish out all of their personal drama.

We’re introduced to new characters, too. People like Riona, the Banshee whose dream it is to become a Soprano vocalist in an opera; there’s also Lucas, a social media influencer who makes it his business to try and give Riona the stage that she’s always wanted, despite her timid demeanor.

The issue isn’t that these characters and their interactions aren’t at all interesting, but their lives are so wildly difficult to identify with at this point that it becomes a chore to empathize with half of them. There are still more mundane issues with some characters, like the returning Lua and Baileys. Their issues this time around surround their upcoming wedding and how they’re going to pay for it all while dealing with having different opinions about what the wedding should even be. This is something that, even though Lua is a Succubus and Baileys is an Elf, most people are going to find interesting as it’s a real problem that people deal with daily.

New Flavors

While the dialogue isn’t anything to get excited about, Coffee Talk Episode 2 avoids reinventing the wheel by only really adding to its actual gameplay mechanics. Now, two new Bases have been added to the game: Hibiscus and Butterfly pea flowers. These add more than a dozen new drinks that you can discover and draw latte art into and were some of the more interesting parts of the overall experience. I genuinely felt a sense of accomplishment that I didn’t realize I missed since putting down the first game. Toge Productions gets this part of the game right, even if I am terrible at trying to make latte art.

Similarly new this time around, is the item drawer. Throughout the experience, the characters that come into the shop will leave items behind as they leave in a hurry or jot down notes that they want you to give to the other patrons as you see them again. These lead to some changes in the way characters interact with you and each other to some degree, but nothing seemed so completely game-changing that I felt like you could forget to give Person X item Y and it would ruin the experience.

My only frustration was when an item was repeatedly given to me due to a plot point. It felt like the game was telling me to hold onto it until a very specific time and didn’t actually care about whether I gave it out too soon or not. I feel like consequences being more present in this version of Coffee Talk would have gone a long way in improving my overall enjoyment of the game.

Goes Down Easy

By far my favorite part of the first entry, and now this one as well, is the soundtrack. The lo-fi beats of Coffee Talk make the experience infinitely more palatable. Whenever I felt myself rolling my eyes at some of the dialogue or social media posts, I immediately slipped back into vibing with the tunes that the Barista has going throughout the cafe

Andrew Jeremy knocks it out of the park again and I can’t wait for the OST to release so that I can add this new set of beats to my Spotify as I did with the first game’s music. If you find yourself enjoying Lofi Girl’s never-ending music streams, you’ll love what’s on offer here.


For me, Coffee Talk Episode 2 leans far too deeply into its own world-building to create a game that, unless you’re a super fan of the first game and the fictional version of Seattle that Toge Productions have concocted, you’re going to struggle to find anything more than a chill visual novel to read through and some fantastic lo-fi music to listen to.

While I enjoyed catching up with some of the familiar faces, Coffee Talk Episode 2 doesn’t add anything to make for a better experience and overall feels lesser than the first. Thankfully, Game Pass makes this an easy recommendation for the music alone, but I don’t think you’d be missing out on much if you stopped with the first game.


Damn, that’s disappointing. I really liked the first game.


Me too. I’m still gonna play this.

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Yeah, I’ll play it some day. It’s on GP after all. But I hoped this would be one of those little gems.


I really liked the first game. But to be perfectly honest, i don’t remember a single story point.

Edit: started playing and now i remember some things about these characters :rofl: