Sometimes good things can happen when things go wrong. There we were, at our hotel lobby, wondering what to eat and where to go, when it started drizzling. A full rainstorm would ensue later, but since we were in the Bugis heritage area, there was still time to wander around and check out options closer to the hotel. (Plus, this is Singapore. It’s not exactly the largest place in the world.) As luck would have it, barely a couple of minutes away by foot, we…Continue Reading “Curious Palette, Singapore”

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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Groningen is a northern university town, right at the end of the railway line from Amsterdam that passes through Assen (another small Dutch town, one we have history with but that’s a separate story). A beautiful and vibrant place with student life upping its youth factor.

Is it any wonder the sole specialty coffee bar here – Black & Bloom – would also be a haven for young people from around the world gathered at the communal table, each chattering in their own languages. You’d think you were in London or Bangkok, by the sheer concentration of different nationalities.

Founded in 2012 by Gerben Engelkes, who was previously with local franchise Coffee United, Black & Bloom offers a house blend called BlackJack and various filter coffees. The beans used in the blend and for the filter coffees never stay the same and depend on what are in season.

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Sometimes it’s good to know what to expect before you even arrive at your destination.

Such was the case with Casa Lapin x26, the fourth branch of the Bangkok-based café company that we’ve visited in recent years. (And because we enjoy staying in the Phrom Phong neighbourhood, this is the branch we tend to return to time and again.)

With coffee beans sourced from Thai roasters such as Pacamara, Roots and Brave Roasters, the quality of our cuppas are always consistent. The joy is in discovering what else they have to offer here.

Continue Reading "Casa Lapin x26, Bangkok"