Indie Review Simulation Visual Novel

Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly – Review

Would you like to visit a city where you can find anyone from elves to aliens? Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly takes us back to a small coffee shop in an alternate world — A relaxing place where a diverse clientele can tell their stories.

Three Years Later

Coffee Talk Episode 2 takes place in Seattle, 2023. It’s been three years since the events of the original Coffee Talk and life has moved on. Despite this, the Barista and their coffee shop remain constant. The customers can still drop in for a hot drink and to chat about what’s going on in their lives.

Many characters return and new ones are introduced. We see how the events of the first game worked out, and new topics are brought into the mix. I’d strongly recommend playing the first game before this. Everything is understandable without having experienced it, but it will spoil big events, including the true ending of the original.

A Moment’s Respite

Despite being set in an alternate world, Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly feels very modern, if with a spin. We see newspaper titles like ‘What returning to the office means for Nekomimis’ and issues with massive job loss. The problems of current society are put on display here, and your coffee shop is somewhere they can unload.

One of the first new characters we meet is Lucas, a social media influencer. Through him, Coffee Talk Episode 2 explores topics like people judging you through impressions, needing to act in certain ways to succeed, and the problems of dealing with people online.

Lucas contrasts well with Riona, an aspiring singer who spurns the online world and wants to succeed in the traditional way. Even if they’re very different though, they face many of the same issues and find that they have a lot in common. Through discussion, they can even help each other understand themselves.

We see a lot of customers while running the coffee shop. While everyone has their own problems, this is a place where they can try to talk them out, presented via well-written conversations.

Connections and Stories

People having discussions and forming connections is what this game is about. A vampire may have some good advice for a couple experiencing family issues, or an idol may drop some pearls of wisdom about the difficulties that come with fame. Everyone has their own story, but as they visit your coffee shop, these start to interconnect.

A single playthrough of Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly only took me about four hours, and contains many connected stories rather than an overarching plot, so I’ll avoid too many specifics. But in terms of tone, it’s often introspective and thoughtful, with the odd touch of humor.

It tackles topics like racism through the context of fictional races, such as prejudice against banshees who want to sing. One character significantly changes their appearance and brings up feeling it to be truer to who he is, which could be interpreted as a trans allegory or just not feeling comfortable in their own body. Whether it’s feeling like you’re stuck in your job or that you’re not being seen as who you are, there are a lot of relatable ideas to explore through this fictional lens. Removing the real world helps to consider it without existing prejudices and to explore the topics in a less stressful way. 

More than exploring serious topics, I found that the various challenges the characters go through help to make them seem real. I think that many people will find something they can relate to, whether they’ve had a go at being a content creator, or had arguments with their partner. Seeing them be a part of not just the protagonist’s life, but also be friends with the other characters helps a lot here too.

Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly - Blue Marshmallow

Barista Serve Me a Drink

Unlike a traditional visual novel, there are no dialogue choices in Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly. Instead, there are drink choices.

Whenever someone orders a drink, they’ll let you know what they want. Kind of, anyway. It’d be nice and easy if they told you that they want an expresso, and sometimes they do. Sometimes they describe it in a fairly easy way, by listing ingredients. Occasionally it can be difficult though, like ‘something similar to Pumpkin Latte’ or a ‘hot, sweet, soothing drink’ which doesn’t count as correct even with max sweetness displayed on the taste gauges.

As well as making drinks, sometimes customers will leave behind items, whether on purpose or by mistake. At times, you’ll be able to give these to the relevant people, which is in most cases fairly obvious. Remembering to do so is the main challenge.

If you give them the appropriate drink and item, this raises their friendship with you and unlocks the best version of the scene. Giving them the wrong one may lead to other endings for that character’s story. In some cases, they can even leave the story early. In effect, drink and item selections work as your choices. Effectively, you’re putting them in a better mood to get them to talk and making sure they have the items needed for a few plot points.

You can discover recipes via experimentation, though strong hints are given for many of them. A handful aren’t really referenced though, so you may wish to check our recipe guide.

This works as an interesting way to advance the story and alter it based on your actions. It’s certainly more engaging than making choices. I enjoyed it, though admit I did get frustrated on occasion by vague drink descriptions and unlock conditions.

Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly - Making Drink

Latte and Tea

The main attraction here is certainly the story, but the process of making drinks is worth touching on.

You can select three ingredients for each drink. The order matters here. A Sweetheart Latte will only be made when you choose Hibiscus, Milk, then Honey. If you mix them in another order it won’t work, which is a major part of why finding recipes without a hint can be so difficult. Luckily, if you do mess up, you get a few tries to trash the drink and try again. When it’s served, that’s it though.

Some recipes allow you to add latte art on top. This is done via a simple interface where you can choose where to pour milk and use etching to create a design. I only used this the handful of times it was required for the story and I’m terrible at creating anything resembling a design. Luckily, it doesn’t judge your skills.

If you want to get more into the coffee-making gameplay, there’s a free brew mode to make whatever you like and a challenge mode. The latter gives you increasingly difficult and vague orders, some of which won’t be possible unless you already know the drink. A timer counts down as you make these, but goes up when you serve a correct drink. Similar to the ones in the main story, I came across the odd one that didn’t make sense to me, like asking for a ‘cool’ drink, but rejecting one that maxed out the cool gauge.

It works well for those who enjoy this aspect of the gameplay, but in the end, the coffee-making aspect of Coffee Talk Episode 2 is very basic. It didn’t keep my attention for long, beyond unlocking a handful of recipes through it.

Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly - Rachel the Nekomimi

Pixel Art and Lo-fi

Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly has a charming art style, themed after 90s anime and classic pixel art adventure games. Despite using pixel art, it makes to be detailed and the characters come across as expressive, especially due to the animation of their expressions. Little touches like the rain pouring down in the background really help too.

The soundtrack works well for the calm coffee shop setting and tone of the game, with most tracks being relaxing with lo-fi influences. There is no voicing, which I felt fit the style of the game well.


Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly is well-written, thoughtful and explores serious topics through a fantasy lens. It’s worth checking out. If you enjoyed the first, this is essentially more of the same, but with new characters and stories. This is exactly what I wanted from it.


Platforms: PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, XBox
Recipe Guide: Click Here

If you are looking for another visual novel, you may enjoy Renai Karichaimashita: Koikari – Love For Hire or KamiYaba: Destiny On A Dicey Deadline. We have also covered a wide variety of visual novels both original to English and localized from Japanese, which you can check out here.

Many thanks go to Chorus Entertainment for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.

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