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A - Z Of Coffee In Colombo - 2019

Everything you should know about coffee in Colombo - from A to Z.

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Are you one of those people who gets confused by the selection of coffee whenever you are at a cafe? 
 
Given the sheer number of cafes in Colombo, and their fancy menu boards, it's quite understandable. However, the most fundamental thing to understand is that - every cup/glass of coffee is essentially a blend of coffee, water and/or milk. Different ratios of those main elements and add-ons create different coffees.
 
So, for those of you who get panic attacks by just looking at a menu-full of coffee, and the ones who're absolutely clueless about coffee, or the coffee aficionados who'd love to discover a good and different cup of coffee in town, we're creating a treasure map, along with everything that you should know about each cup. 
 
Let the hunt begins! (in alphabetical order):

A for Affogato

The marriage between espresso and ice cream/gelato - the Affogato is considered a dessert as well. The Affogato literally translates to “drowned” in Italian, which clearly expresses how its made - a scoop of ice cream drowned in a shot of espresso. Even if you're not the biggest espresso fan, this might work for you as the bitterness of the coffee gets slightly subdued by the ice cream.

Try it at: Kopi KadeQahwah (under the name 'Srifogato' - which we assume is a sort of Lankan word-play on the actual drink.)

A for Americano

This is literally an American drink, as it was invented by Americans themselves. The story of the Americano goes all the way back to the years of World War II. It is said that American soldiers who were stationed in Italy didn't quite like the espresso that the Italians tend to drink. So, as an attempt to replicate the drip from their homeland, they decided to dilute the espresso with water. 

If you cannot handle the strong punch of espresso, you can go for this - it's lighter than that, and does not have that in-your-face espresso thump. Some tend to have it with milk too.

The light brown, foam-like substance layer that you'd see on top of an Americano is usually a result of the aromatic oils processed with the coffee beans, forced to come out of them by the hot water.

Try it at: Whight & Co, Black Cat CafeCoffee & Company

C for Ca Phe Sua Da

Coming from the land of the Blue Dragon, Ca Phe Sua Da, aka the Vietnamese Iced Coffee is a concoction of Vietnamese dark roast coffee and sweetened condensed milk. A drip filter is used to brew this one - after hot water is added, the hot coffee slowly drops into the cup, on top of the hefty layer of condensed milk. This sweet-bitter drink is consumed cold, so before serving, a few ice cubes will be added. 

Try it at: Pho VietnamWhight & Co

C for Cappuccino

A Cappuccino is basically a shot of espresso layered over with an equal quantity of hot milk, and topped with a crown of airy foamed milk. The milk isn't mixed with espresso, so you'd see defined layers and the presence of the potent coffee punch is a highlight. The light layer of fluffy foam, and less diluted with milk also add up to this. Cafes tend to serve cappuccinos with different flavours - hazelnut, caramel etc.

Try it at: Butter BoutiqueKIKUDolce Italia, The Grind Coffeehouse, Monkeybean Cafe

C for Cold Drip

The general method of coffee making includes hot water, but the Cold Drip is made with cold water. Its brewed by dripping water on freshly ground coffee, at a very slow pace, so it will take around 12 - 24 for preparation. Creating an intense, robust coffee flavour is the intention of this lengthy brewing process. 

Try it at: Whight & Co

E for Espresso

Serves as the base of some cups of coffee, Espresso is an excellent option to enjoy the full-bodied flavour of a coffee. They are offered in shots, forced pressurising hot water through the finely grounded coffee beans. Serving it soon after the preparation is highly recommended, as it's paramount for the flavour. This one also features crema, which adds up to the tantalising aroma of the Espresso. It's a very strong coffee, mostly consumed by the avid coffee drinkers. 

Try it at: Kopi KadeWhight & CoButter Boutique, Plus Nine Four

F for Flat White

If there is a cup of coffee that provides you with a strong taste of espresso, along with a creamy feeling on the palate, a Flat White is the safest bet. The perfect layer of microfoam is the key aspect of a proper Flat White. It helps to emerge the coffee notes in a bold manner. In comparison to Cappuccino, this one tends to be stronger in terms of coffee taste, and less-foamy. 

Try it at: Butter BoutiqueThe Blue Swan 

F for Frappe

Shaken, blended or beaten to create a foamy and icy drink - a Frappe is a very refreshing drink. Often served with whipped cream and different toppings, it is traditionally made with coffee (espresso frappe, caramel cappuccino frappe etc.) but nowadays you'll find different flavoured frappes in cafes - paired with teas, juices and chocolate. 

Try it at: Café La Défense (Bambalapitiya)Java Lounge

I for Indian Filter Coffee

The combination of frothy milk and coffee, the Indian Filter Coffee is brewed with a stainless steel coffee filter, using the dripping method. Finely grounded coffee will be slowly poured over by hot water, which extracts a thick decoction of coffee, and then will be mixed with hot milk and sugar. Served in the traditional dabarah and tumbler, this brew has a nice foam on top, tastes sweet, and very milky, yet boasts some rich coffee notes. Servers often pour it from one vessel held high above their heads to another one held lower, creating what is locally known as ‘metre coffee’. 

Try it at: Sri Suryas, Shanmugas, Thalis

I for Iced Coffee

The classic combination of coffee and milk, along with a few ice cubes swimming about - we do not need odes to describe this one.

Try it at: Kopi Kade (Sri Lankan Style Cold Coffee), The Cake FactoryApey Cafe

I for Ipoh White Coffee

Interesting fact - Ipoh White Coffee was originated in the town of Ipoh in Malaysia, and it was named one of the top three coffee towns by Lonely Planet. The uniqueness lies within the fact that these coffee beans are roasted with palm oil margarine. It might look like your average Kiri Kopi, but has richer and smoother notes of coffee popping through milk. 

Try it at: Santai Colombo

K for Kiri Kopi

Ah! Kiri Kopi! This is basically survival juice for us Lankans, especially when you're at home on a gloomy day, and trying to warm yourself up. A concoction of coffee (Harischandra or Island Coffee, most of the time), hot milk and sugar to taste. Restaurants often make it with sweetened condensed milk, to improve the creamy factory while reducing the sugar content. 

Try it at: The Cauldron

L for Latte

Latte is the less foamy and milkier version of a Cappuccino. The coffee flavour is very subtle here, and it's served in a taller glass. Also, the milk is poured into espresso in a manner where it creates a canvas for latte art, which is an important characteristic of a latte. Cafes often pair this with different syrups - caramel, hazelnut etc. 

Try it at: Butter BoutiqueDolce Italia, Brown Bean Coffee

M for Macchiato

An espresso, strained or subdued with a splash of milk is what makes a Macchiato. This usually features a tinge of foam on top, and is the closest that you can get to an espresso. 

Try it at: Kopi KadeDolce Italia

M for Mocaccino

Coffee and chocolate make a brilliant pair, and in the world of coffee, we have a name for that - Mocaccino (Caffè Mocha). It's more like a version of chocolate-flavoured Latte. Restaurants often make it with dark/milk chocolate, some use Milo powder to give that malt twist, while others use chocolate syrup. 
 

P for Pour-Over

As the name implies, the Pour Over is made by pouring hot water over coffee grounds and filtering it to result in a smooth brew. It's all about balancing the coarseness of the coffee grounds, and the temperature of the water, along with the quality of the filter.

Try it at: Whight & Co

T for Turkish Coffee

Making Turkish Coffee involves boiling finely powdered coffee with hot water, and usually sugar in a special pot. As this froth seems to make the appearance, it is taken off the heat, without letting it boil over. Some may reheat it once or twice to get the froth to their preference. Arabica varieties are considered best for this cup of coffee, and you'll spot the coffee powder in the bottom of the glass when served. Therefore, it's expected to have a slightly powdery texture. 

Try it at: Arabian Knights

T for Turmeric Latte

Turmeric Latte is a jazzed up version of a regular latte. The golden colour demands your attention from the first glance, and it's known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. The turmeric doesn't overpower the coffee taste, but helps to enrichen its flavour even more. 
 
Try it at: Butter Boutique
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