Hansa Coffee

24 Fife Road, Colombo 5 



Posted by · Last updated on 7 January 2014


This little coffeeshop on Fife road is really a breath of fresh air. More accurately, a breath heavy with the scent of freshly brewed coffee. It's really just a hole in the wall but its lack of pretension, excellent local coffee and reasonable prices (Rupees 100-200 for any conceivable sort of coffee) are a slap in the face to Colombo’s larger, overpriced mediocrity-peddling, Starbucks imitation coffee houses.

It's run by the people behind Hansa coffee whose packets of ground coffee (now available at all major supermarkets) have turned Sri Lankan coffee from something of a joke to a serious business. Certainly the coffee they brew using their own coffee at the café can be world-class.

The owners are clearly passionate about coffee (they do own a coffee company) and the offerings are more variety – Thai iced coffee, coffee with condensed milk, various spiced coffees - than at other Colombo Cafes. This is also the only café in the city in which you won’t feel ashamed to order something as simple as a milk coffee (Rs. 125).

The interior, while tiny, is cosy and a pleasant enough space to while away a few hours. The good food is also worth lingering for, the fresh and tasty brownies are Rs. 125 and you can order toasted sandwiches to line your stomachs.

Fundamentally it’s a chilled out space with good local coffee at a reasonable price and its probably the only such place in the city so Yamu give it two thumbs up.

Note: While we do love the Hansa concept it must be noted that their execution isn’t pitch-perfect. Their plain coffee for example is usually excellent but at times is much too weak. Timing seems to be a key factor, the waiter on duty in the evenings seems far more able than the one on duty in the afternoon. The mornings, when the owners seem to be there, are good too.

Suggestion: Would it kill you to stay open a bit later on a Friday and Saturday – maybe till 9? And either improve the aircon or get rid of it and install a proper ceiling fan.

Read another review in the Sunday Times.


Tips

The cappuccino is consistently good (you wont believe its made with local coffee) and the brownies are worth the price. The bags of Hansa coffee which they ground for you are excellent and seem to taste better than what you can buy at the supermarket.



Comments

  • Ruks

    Hands Down THE BEST coffee I have ever had! no cream,no toppings.Just pure bliss!! Their pol sambol toast was sooo good.Got packet of coffee to go.and Im loving every sip of it

    5 February 2013
  • prasannah

    I used to buy their Coffee from super market for my coffee machine. I think that was one of the reasonable Coffee machine friendly ground coffee available for locals. Others wont stand a chance.

    1 March 2013
  • Dimuthu

    I did a comparison plain espresso (without sugar) of both Hansa Coffee(pure arabica) and Lavazza with my saeco espresso machine. Honestly Hansa coffee tasted more burnt taste (over roasted) and had very less aroma and crema compared to lavazza. I don't know they may be use different coffees in their coffee shop. btw Hansa coffee 100g was 285/= and the lavazza 200g around 1700/= so there is a huge price gap.

    11 May 2013
  • nitpicker

    There is a new air conditioner.

    11 December 2013
  • steve

    After no reply to email inquiry about buying their coffee beans.( I asked about roasted and green beans and their 1 kg prices) decided to go from Negombo to Colombo. I was one of 2 customers, the other one already served and sitting.

    Was quite astounded at their 500gm coffee bean price (1500 rupi) That is 3000 rupi / kg, and almost double of what I pay for Ethiopian Sidamo or Yirchafe beans. Thinking perhaps Hansa would put Sidamo to shame I tried an espresso at 260 (2 usd)

    Impressions; no bitterness or bitter aftertaste BUT no remarkable taste and far from the Ethiopian flavors that jump out at you.

    I was very surprised to see no grinder and 2 small low end semi-automatic HOME espresso machines. The crema on my seems to have the bubbles that are famously seen in pressurized portafilter (make crema from anything) home espresso machines. They used pre-ground coffee. Not to say a home espresso setup canot make decent espresso but that requires a low end burr grinder and proper setup.
    Although I am not a fan of Lavazza (common supermarket coffee in Italy) in this case I'd have to choose Lavazza over Hansa. Just coincidentally I recently fired up my old Electrolux home espresso machine to use the Casino brand european coffee podsI bought in Cambodia at 5 usd retail. 36 pods/5usd (650 rupee approx?) Even the supermarket brand pods had a lot more flavor. About 2 blocks away I stumbled upon a restaurant coffee shop(Hazari) that priced their espresso shots at 260 also, but they had a 2 group commercial machine, commercial grinder and using roasted in Italy coffee beans. As I was heading back to Negombo I wondered if Hansa had perhaps quoted me an exaggerated price for beans since there were NO prices posted for coffee beans or ground. I have bought Carraro brand roasted in Italy 1kg beans in Cambodia for 15usd about 2000 rupee and 1/3 less than Hansa grown in Sri Lanka, sold in Sri Lanka beans.

    They could improve a bit by using a grinder and a commercial espresso machine or at least a better home machine such as a Rancilio Rocky.

    Verdict; acceptable and I'd even say better than Starbucks espresso but as coffee aficionados and baristas know, Starbucks is over roasted and bitter and usually their espresso true taste is masked in flavored milk. For 260 rupee I'd choose the Italy roasted espresso but not over a Tanzinian or Ethiopian single origin shot. I was disappointed at Hansa.

    19 July 2014

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