We would have missed if not for the glint of the espresso machine and the movements of a barista inside. From the outside looking in, the coffee shop reminded me of the times I flipped through Kinfolk magazine with its monochrome pallete and Scandinavian style. Eye catching and intriguing, we swooped in to have a closer look at the minimalist space.
Inside, the floor tiles and layout seemed distincly traditional, commonly found in older buildings. The front portion of the store was dedicated solely to the brewing and display of coffee and featured one long table that acted as both a workspace for the baristas and for guests to sit at. Right behind the counter was a lounge area, whilst the top floor was where their kitchen sat.
As old as the building was, VXX Co-operative was actually very new, just three weeks old. As their kitchen was closed at that hour, allow me to talk about the front section of the space where their coffee took center stage. VXX boasted a wide range of beans from Asia all the way to South America processed by various roasters, making for an extensive selection that they showcased on their coffee rack.
We watched as Aslam brewed a cup of Nano Challa, the star coffee of the week. While brewing, he talked about how fond he was of this particular origin with its floral aroma, citrus-like acidity, and stone-fruit tasting sweetness. The brew was served in two different cups, one that allowed for the drinker to appreciate the coffee’s aroma and scent, and another that enhanced the coffee’s depth of flavor.
“This Nano Challa is really something,” he said. And it was. Delicious on its own, it was there for a second before it was gone.
Aslam was great company, and we talked much about the rapidly expanding growth of coffee culture in Asia. I noticed the other barista meticulously cleaning all of their equipment, making sure everything was pristine and spotless. The experience of coffee VXX provided was straightforward and simple, focusing on the quality of the coffee and the relationship between brewer and buyer above all else. Aslam explained that while the table was inspired by the tables used in cupping sessions, it also served as a place where brewer and buyer could talk and exchange thoughts.
Speaking of exchange of thoughts, midway through our conversation, Aslam offered us some chocolate he was hoping would pair well with coffee. I never got to taste the actual finished product, but knowing VXX’s attention to detail and quality, I’m sure it would be nothing less than stellar.
The sun was setting, and VXX was closing up shop for the day. We said our goodbyes and wished Aslam good luck on the new coffee shop. If I ever find myself in the area again, I’ll have to stop by to try out whatever he was testing out the chocolate for, and maybe you should too.