Saturday, 24 June 2017

Coffee17 - Seoul

After a week in China, Seoul I left for, 2nd/last stop.

DAY 01

Alver LAB 알베르
34 Gangnam-daero 102-gil, Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
+82 2-566-6181
A whole 4-level building with different theme and purpose on each floor. Mostly Alver cafe, with a section (right side in this shot) for Alver LAB emphasized on specialty coffee. The distinction was so drastic that the barista at the 'normal' section had no clue what 'flat white' was... interesting.

Basement level with dramatic lighting and a performance stage. Full of imagination runs across the mind. It's connected to the staircase in the previous shot, or within the cafe. Ground and 2nd level were available for public with indoor and outdoor seats, while 3rd level seemed like it's designated for workshop with long huge table.

The main components made up the texture of this industrial themed building: Raw metal x concrete x wood x glass.

Shy, polite and careful barista. He let me pour, I like him. 

Apparently they don't roast, but used beans from Square Mile and Fritz Coffee Company. Body's a little thin for my liking, moderate fruity acidity.

Coffee Montage 커피몽타주 
F1 23-12, Olympic-ro 48-gil, Gangdong-gu, Seoul
+82 70-8262-1303

Young crew of barista tried hard to accommodate to non-Korean-speak aka me. This lady let me pour, not their usual practice, apparently. She later pointed me to her recommendations of cafes Who's more insightful than local?

Had V60 "Sense & Sensibility". Blend of 40% Ethiopian, 30%Colombia and 30% Costa Rica.
This flat white's "A bittersweet life" edt. 1.


Cerulean Coffee Co 세루리안 커피 컴패니 입니다
825-20, Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, fritSeoul
+82 2-508-4375

Was late when I visit, and exhausted. Friendly counter lady + cool barista.
I did their House blend "Grey".

Quick one inspired by the hexagonal design and the cerulean stripe of the branding which I really like.

DAY 02

Caffe Themselves 카페뎀셀브즈
388 Samil-daero, Gwancheol-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
+82 2-2266-5947

  Joint with matured retail and service pipeline. Felt little 'cold'. It's just good business, after all? 
  It's interesting their illustrate the roast level of their retail bean with Agtron value. The smaller the number, the darker the roast.

Victoria Arduino handled long queue for (mostly) takeaways. 

Cafe Namusairo 나무사이로
 21 Sajik-ro 8-gil, Naeja-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
+82 70-7590-0885
Helpful barista tried hard to help me with bean selection!! Bypass she did for this clean and smooth "Rite & Spring".

Golden sunset.
They have different seat setup for different preferences. Small garden where I chose for this purpose. Lighting, not girl.

Ecuador SO. Creamy and buttery.

DAY 03

Fritz Coffee Company 프릳츠 커피 컴퍼니
68 Mapo-daero, Dohwa-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
+82 2-3275-2047
Hunt the seal.

Slayer's everywhere in Seoul.

Full of gadgets. As it ought to be.

Details in the cafe showed the attention given for the customer experience: 
Extension cable.

Charging cables.

 Foot rest for high tables.
  Met the Seal finally. 2 shots for bean purchase decision.
  They would not let me pour. 

DAY 04

Hell Cafe 헬카페 
238-43 Bogwang-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
+82 70-7604-3456
They play classical music CD. Yes, Compact Disc. Time seemed to slow down with it.

Pink 2-grouphead Slayer.

Hell drip. "It's as a Whiskey", the barista said. 1 drip at a time it was, indeed.

Their well-known practice for Hell Latte, I think - Barista came to your seat with freshly frothed milk in pitcher and shot, pour in front of you and requested you to taste it right away. 
I asked him for the reason, he translated with help of App and said " It's simple, before the milk and coffee are separated". Yoga that is!

Coffee Boo's
25, Nonhyeon-ro 86-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
+82 10-2994-0929

Joint new acquaintance, Han works in. Not like the big names I have visited for the past few days...widen the spectrum of my cafe experience.

 That's all for this time. New stamps on passport, new culture I got myself immersed in, new lovely people I met. Appreciated.

My loot for the trip. I secured about 1/2 of them in the end (lost check-in luggage).

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Coffee17 - Shanghai x Hangzhou

  Documentation of the 2 weeks of caffeine x art journey, if it helps those who share the same interest. This chapter covers Shanghai & Hangzhou.

NOTE: Most of the artwork in these posts were shared via Instagram @shikeesart.

DAY 01 上海

AUNN Cafe & Co.
1728 Nanjing Xi Lu
When you see Jing An Temple out of the subway station, you're pretty much there. Just across the road.

All U Need Now, so that was what AUNN stands for. Coffee's... fine? Don't have much impression of the flat white. Feels commodity > Artisan. The cork textured takeaway cup was fancy though. 

  First stop of the trip, tried to get into the zone (of sketching). There was a store with luxurious designer lifestyle enhancement items connected via staircases within store during my visit.


西北路415號, 近北京西路
415 Shaanxi N Rd, Jingan Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000

  I don't really know the reason but this place's got mixture of young ones, of different races. Served food, booze and coffee. Rocks a La Marzocco, like most of the cafes I visited in Shanghai. Elaborated designed bean bags (last photo of Seoul post).
  The flat white I ordered was potent and bold with prominent body, I think it was the house blend.  
  They had 4-5 beans for sale at that time. Lost my check-in backpack (I know, pretty stupid idea. Who would check in a backpack...) and Sumerian bean, together with some others, were in there. Alas.

DAY 02

Café del Volcán
80 Yong Kang Lu, Xuhui, Shanghai, China, 200031

  Young and friendly teenager barista with a wide range of beans to offer - serve/retail. Did shots and flat white. Bought their Holiday blend and Ethiopian Hambela SO. The beans came with well-designed printing and cards with information of the bean: origin, notes.

Fumi coffee

215 Fumin Rd, Jingan Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000

4 beans in canisters to let customer have a look/smell. Good setup. From the brief research prior, I was able to tell the founder of the cafe's there at the bar, together with about 3-4 other staff.You can easily tell his passion for coffee, knows his stuff and friendly, and offered me a shot free of charge. 

  And of course, I grabbed the chance to request my first PMOC (pour my own coffee) of the trip. Thick foamy one. 

Seesaw Coffee
433 Yuyuan Rd, Jingan Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
Tricky this one. The entrance's at connected from driveway you have to turn in from the man road.

I was told later that is the oldest and flagship branch? The joint was definitely picturesque... including this Strada AV :D

The staff was kind to let me pour my own rich and fruity flatwhite at their open bar, and shared pouring tips.
Brut Cake Cafe愚园路698号, 近镇宁路698 Yuyuan Lu, near Zhenning Lu

  A joint with super warming service at the counter. It's a shame I didn't able to try their breakfast that sounded real delicious from the descriptions, or any food for that matter -..- I think coffee was not their focus. The barista screwed up the milk (of the shot in the shot), but the Velvet chocolate I had during another visit during the stay was pretty good, especially in a cool night.
DAY 03 杭州Random Cafe & Design@鳳凰御園文化創業基地

Traveled a bit to get to this joint, located within a designated area for design and creativity. However the whole area's lack of maintenance, and I really don't think creativity's gonna flourish this way.

  Random itself looks well taken care of though.

  Clear view of the gear from the lifestyle items store at 2nd floor. I bet the items are so attractive, a couple of ladies in dress/skirt forgot (I assume) about this glass panel...
  House blend of natural Brazil x Washed Sidamo x Natural Yirgacheffe. Great floral with milk.

  They let me pour, too. Appreciate it. Art was inspired by the scenery I collected so far in Hangzhou and the cafe itself (the lady, whoever you're thanks for the help of translation).

  2 things I think would really improve the image : More refined paper choice for the menu, and.please iron barista's shirt.

Caffeing 咖啡隱

431 Yuhangtang Rd, Gongshu Qu, Hangzhou Shi, Zhejiang Sheng, China 310000

  Real quiet and serene joint. In fact I was the only customer during my stay at 1900+. I learnt the reason only later... They lost their attraction barista.
  Manager/boss (not sure) with family and friend, included a poodle, and an apprentice-like young barista were the other humans. Dimmed warm lighting with raw industrial themed environment.

Quick one. 

DAY 04


180 Nanshan Lu, Shangcheng Qu, Hangzhou Shi, Zhejiang Sheng, China 310000

Located by the main road along West Lake. Cool drizzling morning walk from airbnb stay. Watching the birds, bus, people, bicycles and rain drops...

  Frothed and poured this! 
  The barista declined my request (of pouring my own coffee) and served me one with a heart she did. Then, she came over to offer opportunity for pouring with one condition - teach her rosetta. I did this for warm up, getting used to the machine and steam wand... and the session, unfortunately, forced to come to its end with the arrival of the manager. Luckily I was done with this and out of the bar so no harm done on her. 
  Coffee was single shot. Little weak in the context of specialty coffee but I guess that's just their protocol.

貓的天空之城書店 (杭州南宋御街店)
23-25 Zhong Shan Zhong Lu, ShangCheng Qu, Hangzhou Shi, Zhejiang Sheng, China 310009

Serious looking barista was super cool, agreed my request, invited me behind the bar for my own steam and pour!!! Thanks.

Hmm. Fluffy frothed :/

Feeling the movement of time. Every shot's a tad more lively with a soul in it.


Peu à peu Café 

244 Zhongshan Zhong Lu, Shangcheng Qu, Hangzhou Shi, Zhejiang Sheng, China 310003

  Big paws lazed around, and a little companion at the back. Poor aged boy with arthritis can hardly walk... Stroked, patted, scratched.  

  Walked pass this joint a day before, didn't feel like much, but decided to check it out since it's the last day here. Why not? No big paws were not part of the influence factor. 
  The moment I walked close to the counter, I knew it was a shame if I missed it.The family-like vibe, air molecule's filled with the passion of the lady owner, Dandan, who chatted with me, shared the Chinese tea she was brewing with me, while sharing knowledge and intel of coffee scene in Hangzhou with me. These were all after she let me frothed me own milk (twice), and pour, of course. Lousy pour didn't shadow the big warm heart of Dandan!
  The pâtissier was quiet but equally friendly lady. Tiramisu was great.

DAY 05

Fuel Espresso
8 Century Ave, LujiaZui, Pudong Xinqu, Shanghai Shi, China 200000

Wellington Flat White. ¥48/S$ 9+. 
Smh really. Most overcharged, overheated coffee I had for this trip.

DAY 06

5 Wuxing Lu, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi

A group of high energy talented young baristas run the show. Know their stuff and serve with attention. Followed up with me via IG post. Gotta love them!

EDM Cafe
348 Jianguo Xi Lu, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi.

  Wandered over this one by chance after T12. I spent a good time admiring up close that fancy Slayer Steam! Not surprised when the barista told me they're one of the very few to own this machine in Shanghai.
  Cafe + workspace and meeting space rental + rooftop for fashion photoshoot. Most surprising encounter of this trip. 

Note: You can't find EDM music here... it does not stand for the music genre, but it's the combination of the initials of the owner's 3 kids.

Not a good pour, at all -..-

Seesaw Coffee (百聯世紀)
世紀大道 1217 百聯世紀購物中心1層
Shiji Bailian Shopping Centre 1F

  Intense fruity shot. Friendly barista shared her V60 brew sample with me. Thanks!
A Shame I didn't able to brew with their bean x..x

  With this, my caffeinated caffeine adventure of China was ended. Next stop, Seoul.