If you love coffee and you love books, you will love Democratic Coffee. (And who wouldn’t, really? Books and coffee go together like Kirk and Spock, like Batman and Robin.) Hidden away inside the Copenhagen public library in Krystalgade, Democratic Coffee is founded by former marketer Oliver Oxfeldt. He stumbled onto his new vocation thanks to a disdain for the lousy coffee that used to be served in the library café! Why “Democratic”, you might wonder? Well, is there a more democratic space than a…Continue Reading “Democratic Coffee, Copenhagen”

Hipsters in Cape Town are flocking to The Old Biscuit Mill, a former – you guessed it – biscuit factory that has undergone a revitalization of sorts and perhaps the key reason for Woodstock’s rapid change. The brick-red façade of the former mill is well-preserved; clean white lines frame it crisply. While many shops have flamboyant store fronts, one stands apart due to its distinct lack of colour.

Espresso Lab Microroasters is all black and white with occasional spots of crimson to draw your attention. Indeed, its “laboratory” ambience – think: beakers as coffee pots, a snowy-white Diedrich roaster and a tiled map of bean-producing countries around the world – is meant to invoke a very precise and technical passion for specialty coffee.

Yet the café is far from cold and clinical. Jovial baristas are happy to converse with us and offer recommendations. Espresso Lab’s founders, Renato Correia and Helene Vaerlien, believe in sourcing green beans from sustainable, organic farms and roasting them in small batches to allow their flavours take centrestage.

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The Karlín district, bordered by the Vltava River and Holešovice to the north, used to be more of blue-collar area but today is one of Prague’s rejuvenated neighbourhoods with tree-lined streets and hipster types walking their dogs. The one establishment most responsible for this sea change is arguably Můj šálek kávy, a laidback café run by Czech specialty coffee roasters Doubleshot. Můj šálek kávy, which means “my cup of coffee” in Czech, offers espresso-based beverages, of course, but its focus is on filter coffee, the…Continue Reading “Můj šálek kávy, Prague”

This is the fourth in a series of city-specific café-hopping guides around the world, based on our articles in Sunday Mail’s Crave magazine.

The Japanese love their coffee. From traditional kissatens (coffee shops), dimly lit and smoke-filled, to giant American coffee chains, there’s a café around every corner. These days young Tokyoites frequent indie coffee shops that roast and brew their own beans — with a menu of espressos, cappuccinos, single origin brews and iced coffees.


The coffee scene in Tokyo is electrifying: How about a tavern that serves coffee in fine china teacups; or an artisanal café that only serves black coffee brewed using a flannel from aged beans; or some of the best latte art in the world?

Tokyo has everything a café hopper could ask for. Take a sip, enjoy your brew, taste the difference.

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