The Wudaoying Hutong in Beijing, northeast of the centre near the 2nd Ring Road, is a hot bed of speciality coffee. Home to last week’s Coffee Spot, Metal Hands Coffee Co, as well a second branch, Metal Hands White Space, which is a few doors down to the west, if you head a few doors east, you’ll come to today’s Coffee Spot, Barista Speciality Coffee & Roasters. And if you thought that Metal Hands and White Space were small, then Barista Speciality Coffee is even smaller, by some considerable margin!
Despite this, it still manages to offer a house-blend and single-origin on espresso, plus four single-origin pour-overs, all roasted in-house. There’s also cold brew, plus a choice of croissant, bagel or fruit cheesecake. All of this is served in a long, thin space with just enough room for the counter on the left and a small corridor on the right!
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Like both Metal Hands and White Space, Barista Speciality Coffee & Roasters is on the north side of Wudaoying Hutong, so it catches the afternoon sun. It occupies a slightly elevated, narrow shop front, accessed by three broad, concrete stops. Unlike Metal Hands, where the shop’s wide enough for a table, there’s no such luxury at Barista Speciality Coffee, just a small wooden platform at the top of the steps where you can sit if you like.
The front is effectively square and entirely glass, a sliding door on the right taking up about half the width. This leads to a long, narrow corridor along the right-hand side, the counter occupying nearly all the space on the left, stopping just short of the back wall. The only seating comes in the shape of six metal chairs running along the counter, plus four more across the counter’s back.
Although it’s all very cramped, the counter is actually comfortable to sit at, with a good overhang, allowing you to get your knees under it, even when you are 6’2”, which is impressive. There’s enough space on the counter-top for a laptop, while there’s a reasonable gap between the backs of the chairs and the right-hand wall, which has a narrow shelf where you can leave bags and coats. This means that customers can freely move up and down the length of the shop. Importantly, given the south-facing aspect, there’s an air-conditioning unit high up on the right-hand wall, plus lots of exposed bulbs for when it’s dark outside.
Naturally the counter dominates, starting with a display case for the cakes/pastries, followed by the EK-43 grinder, with a hopper for the single-origin espresso and a manual-doser for pour-overs. The pour-over selection (Costa Rican, Kenyan, Panama and Indonesian Mandheling during my visit) comes next, housed in glass jars, before a flask with warm (drinking) water. Then there’s a sink, the EK-30 grinder for the house-blend and a two-group La Marzocco Linea espresso machine at the end.
I had the single-origin espresso (an Ethiopian) as a piccolo, which was served in a glass, a glass of warm water and a biscuit on the side. The espresso went really well in milk, with a rich, almost biscuit-like flavour. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but I was very impressed. Sadly, it was the end of a long day, so I couldn’t linger to try the pour-over.
|47 WUDAOYING HUTONG • DONGCHENG QU • BEIJING • 100011 • CHINA|
|+86 10 6416 2575|
|Monday||10:00 – 20:00||Roaster||Barista Speciality Coffee (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||10:00 – 20:00||Seating||Counter|
|Wednesday||10:00 – 20:00||Food||Cake|
|Thursday||10:00 – 20:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||10:00 – 20:00||Cards||Cash Only|
|Saturday||10:00 – 20:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 20:00||Power||No|
|Chain||No||Visits||6th December 2017|
If you want to read more about my trip to China, including the other Coffee Spots I found along the way, there’s a page dedicated to the trip.
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