Hansa Coffee

24 Fife Road, Colombo 5 Havelock Town (Colombo 5)

0773116579 2584996
Hansa Coffee is a wonderful little cafe for coffee, tea, brownies, sandwiches, and original Hansa chocolate. We love their cosy interior and all the chocolatey options they've got on the menu.

Food & Coffee

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They've got a few sandwiches here and we got the seeni sambol toast. It's tasty (how can seeni sambol not be?) and not bad for Rs. 300.

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They've also got a mean brownie here that has got the distinct taste of Hansa's own chocolate, and comes in a decent size for just Rs. 150, so you can't go wrong getting one of these. We also got the Brownie Shake (Rs. 350) to go with it and it's one of my favourite drinks ever - it's a very big chilled glass of super chocolatey milkshake with wonderful little bits of brownie in it.

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They have plenty of interesting things on the menu, like Hot Chilli Chocolate, Ice Cream Soda, Chocolate Tea and Chocolate Protein Shake with Peanuts, though not everything is available all the time. We got a steaming cup of Espresso Chocolate Truffle. This was for Rs. 320 and it's very thick and super chocolatey, so on a rainy day this is a perfect choice.

Ambience

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Hansa Coffee is a cosy little room with a few cushy seats on wooden frames, about enough for 10 or 12 people - we included it in our list of Colombo Book Nooks. We usually see the same loyal customers that return for Hansa's brand of chocolate and coffee. It's also known for Colombo's 'Annasi & Kadalagotu' poetry meetings. It's small though, so it's nice if there's just two or three other customers but if there's more it feels crowded.

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The decor is pretty random and quirky, with these patterns painted on the kitchen door, and random things on the walls like a novelty Sri Lankan map, a tiny frame of Mona Lisa and a giant colourful lizard. Service is simple, you just make your order at the coffee counter and it arrives a few minutes later.

Conclusion

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Hansa Coffee is a great place for your chocolate related needs and for a nice chill session with a friend or by yourself. And considering it's a coffee lounge, the prices are good (Rs. 1000 for two of us).
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.
Contact Info
Directions: The Fife Road turn from Thimbirigasyaya Road is next to the Jawatta Post Office. The cafe is just a little ways from Hotel Janaki and a minute away from Tasty Caterers.
Rating ★ ★ ★ ★
Additional
Tip: You can't go wrong picking a chocolatey drink here.
Opening Hours: 8:30AM to 7:30PM (Closed on Sundays)
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Comments

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Ordered by: Oldest First
  • 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

    05 February 2013 07:21 AM
  • 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.

    01 March 2013 11:38 AM
  • 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 04:44 PM
  • nitpicker

    There is a new air conditioner.

    11 December 2013 08:32 AM
  • 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 04:21 PM
  • Mel

    Hansa is a gem. The staff and owners (who pop in and out frequently) are always friendly and eager to share their knowledge about coffee and chocolate (and gossip, since this is Colombo, after all). It becomes quite clear that Hansa is a labour of love - from bean to cup (and bar!). The decor is quite quirky and a little eccentric, but that is part of Hansa's charm. I am told that most of it is a collaborative effort by friends and family. I've been there a couple of times and met groups of young people painting together - and it really is quite lovely. Going to Hansa feels a lot like coming home, kicking your shoes off and settling down for a cup of coffee with a nice book. The space is set up in such a way that it is wonderful for both those who prefer time alone, or for those who'd like to meet new people.

    The food and beverages there are wonderful! They don't skimp on their chocolate, that's for sure! All their snacks and cakes are home-made by some nice aunty in the neighbourhood, just like your grandma used to make (probably). Service, however, is a little slow. I believe this could be rectified if only they would hire more staff! Also, on certain days the cafe can get very crowded - for example, during the Poetry Pilau. Additionally, as Hansa coffee (and chocolate) is hand-roasted in small batches, its taste may vary slightly with each; however I find it to make a smooth, pleasing cup with robust flavours.

    Hansa is a small, local business that always manages to consistently deliver an exceptional product, standing strong against international coffee giants like Lavazza and Illy. The cafe boasts a lovely, comfortable atmosphere - an oasis in the midst of the chaos of Colombo. I am excited to see where they will take Sri Lankan coffee and chocolate in the future. Two thumbs up!

    Additional tips:
    - If you'd like to hear some music, request it!
    - Dogs are welcome!
    - Sometimes they have organic herbs/veggies for sale!

    29 November 2014 02:24 PM
  • A

    Hansa is a gem. The staff and owners (who pop in and out frequently) are always friendly and eager to share their knowledge about coffee and chocolate (and gossip, since this is Colombo, after all). It becomes quite clear that Hansa is a labour of love - from bean to cup (and bar!). The decor is quite quirky and a little eccentric, but that is part of Hansa's charm. I am told that most of it is a collaborative effort by friends and family. I've been there a couple of times and met groups of young people painting together - and it really is quite lovely. Going to Hansa feels a lot like coming home, kicking your shoes off and settling down for a cup of coffee with a nice book. The space is set up in such a way that it is wonderful for both those who prefer time alone, or for those who'd like to meet new people.

    The food and beverages there are wonderful! They don't skimp on their chocolate, that's for sure! All their snacks and cakes are home-made by some nice aunty in the neighbourhood, just like your grandma used to make (probably). Service, however, is a little slow. I believe this could be rectified if only they would hire more staff! Also, on certain days the cafe can get very crowded - for example, during the Poetry Pilau. Additionally, as Hansa coffee (and chocolate) is hand-roasted in small batches, its taste may vary slightly with each; however I find it to make a smooth, pleasing cup with robust flavours.

    Hansa is a small, local business that always manages to consistently deliver an exceptional product, standing strong against international coffee giants like Lavazza and Illy. The cafe boasts a lovely, comfortable atmosphere - an oasis in the midst of the chaos of Colombo. I am excited to see where they will take Sri Lankan coffee and chocolate in the future. Two thumbs up!

    Additional tips:
    - If you'd like to hear some music, request it!
    - Dogs are welcome!
    - Sometimes they have organic cheese/herbs/veggies for sale!

    16 December 2014 12:16 PM