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Japan, famous for green tea, is welcoming artisanal American coffee roaster Blue Bottle with long lines that have at times meant a four-hour wait for a cup.Japan is its first foray outside of the U.S. Blue Bottle raised nearly $26 million last year to invest in expansion, including financing from Silicon Valley executives, setting the stage for a test of whether an artsy gourmet coffee chain can go big.Blue Bottle is also benefiting from the image problems in Japan of fast food chains and highly processed foods.Such chains, including Blue Bottle, will likely aim for 50 or at most 100 outlets in Japan, not the thousands that fast-food eateries, such as McDonald's, has achieved here, he added.It now has over 1,000 shops in Japan.Blue Bottle's popularity is part of a rediscovery of cafes serving carefully prepared, quality coffee, a trend already long evident in the U.S.True to its inspiration, Blue Bottle is learning from Japan, said Andrew Smith, 29, of San Francisco, a barista and one of three Americans who came to work for the chain in Japan.
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