Stratford Avenue marks the tip of Colombo. It separates Sri Lanka’s capital metropolis from it’s suburbs to the southeast—up and down, the brief stretch of street is dotted with small outlets and hole-in-the-wall eating places, and hums with faint chantings of a close-by Buddhist temple. Right here is the place Kopi Kade calls house.
Opened in 2016, the cafe stood out on the gate. A product of Nimeshan Namasivayam, Kopi Kade straight interprets to “coffee store” in each Sinhala and Tamil. It’s additionally the identify of an extended operating and very well-known cleaning soap opera. The present centered across the thought of a kopi kade as a neighborhood hub.
The unassuming facade of Namasivayam’s Kopi Kade offers method to a clear, former warehouse—designed by native architect Manju Wijeratne, the house is adorned with clean-cut teak tables and chairs, bronze lighting fixtures, and the work of artist Shaneea Mendis.
Earlier than founding Kopi Kade, Namasivayam labored as a barista, coffee roaster, and a coffee taster for extra 15 years in Australia, the place he lived for many of his life.
“It’s extra about making certain consistency,” says Namasivayam of operating a profitable cafe. “We use superb water filtration programs and all the time recent milk.” He’s additionally utilizing Kopi Kade to construct Colombo’s barista neighborhood, providing workshops to native restaurant employees and residential baristas alike.
The menu right here sees a continuing change, with rotating single-origin coffees from Costa Rica to Ethiopia to Indonesia. “We alter the coffee each three to 4 weeks, not simply from totally different international locations, however from totally different roasters,” Namasivayam says.
Kopi Kade additionally has its personal 1kg Giesen abutting the again wall, on which Namasivayam trial roasts small a lot of Sri Lankan coffee.
“We wish to see if we will enhance farming and processing methods, which might end in a greater cup of high quality coffee,” Namasivayam says of his relationships with a couple of native smallholder coffee farmers. “There’s plenty of potential to supply good Sri Lankan coffee, because the terroir is ideal for coffee rising within the hill nation.”
For espresso drinks, the cafe makes use of a two-group Victoria Arduino VA388 Black Eagle together with two Mythos One grinders. Brewed coffee is obtainable both on AeroPress or Hario V60 and floor with a Comandante hand grinder. There’s additionally a “Sri Lankan Type” chilly brew made candy to match Colombo’s palate—it’s a darker-roasted African coffee blended with 40-percent milk.
Kopi Kade’s meals menu is full of fashionable takes on conventional Sri Lankan dishes, like spiced lamb and prawn sliders and the Coconut French Toast—fluffy, eggy, pani pol bread coated in caramelized coconut flakes and coffee-infused coconut sugar syrup, gently spiced with cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon.
At Kopi Kade, Namasivayam has constructed a neighborhood of regulars with whom he shares not simply new coffees, however sizable doses of details about manufacturing, style, brewing, and coffee tradition. In doing so, he hopes his coffee store could be extra than simply that. “It’s an experiential studying expertise,” Nimeshan says, and one with the identify recognition that simply could draw the lots.
Zinara Rathnayake is a contract journalist based mostly in Colombo, Sri Lanka. That is Zinara Rathnayake’s first characteristic for Sprudge.
Photographs by Nathan Mahendra