Article By James Morrow
Wan Xiang Tian Di, Yan Zhan Rd.
9:00am – 10:00pm
Average Price per Person /人均消费:27RMB
Coffee has been around for so long that it seems that there is little to no room for innovation. For the coffee purist, there would seem little to be no need to do so, but for shops looking to bring in more customers, the next big thing is a priority. FOOM Coffee, also known as BakeWorks, has settled on an interesting trend – charcoal lattes.
To be honest, the branding on this coffee shop can be quite overwhelming when you arrive at the shop. The sign above the door says BakeWorks, unless you go to the coffee window, which says FOOM Coffee. There is also a sign advertising their ZakuZaku icecream and crispy eclairs (a brand from Hokkaido Japan), and finally there is KAB, which is responsible for the baked cheese tarts that you can buy in the window.
However, if you get past the identity crisis that is their signage, you will be presented with a relatively reasonably priced coffee and snack menu that includes a nice variety of espresso-based beverages, including the aforementioned charcoal lattes.
For those unfamiliar with the trend, charcoal as an additive for foods has been becoming increasingly popular in recent years, due in part to some dubious claims that it helps ‘purify’ your body, but most likely due to the fact that it turns any food that you add it to jet black. The activated charcoal, typically made from coconut shells, or bamboo in this case, has been added to bread, cheese, ice cream, and now – lattes. Besides the vivid darkness of the charcoal, the powder adds a slight smoky, burnt flavor to whatever it is added to, though coffee already has those same notes, so it’s a bit more of the same thing. Still, there is a slight difference in taste if you’re used to drinking coffee, though if you’re more of an occasional coffee drinker, you might not even notice. The staff also recommends rinsing your mouth out with water once you have finished to avoid staining your teeth.
Another one of their popular coffee creations is their cold brew coffee, which comes in stylishly packaged glass bottles. Served with a cup of ice or just as a stand-alone, this cold brew is less intense than most, and can be used in a variety of applications. They also have the usual mix of espresso-based beverages and tea drinks, along with a few fruity drink to round out the drinks menu.
In addition to charcoal lattes, they also sell soft-served ice cream from the Japanese brand Zakuzaku. The ice cream is perfectly smooth, and has a deep milky taste that comes from the high-quality mil powder used in the production of the ice cream. In addition to this, they also sell crispy eclairs or crouquant chou, which are tube of choux pastry filled with dessert cream and rolled in crispy bits to add an extra crunch. (You can also get the crispy bits with the ice cream cone.)
The final addition to the menu is the KAB cheese tarts. While we didn’t try any on our visit to the shop, they both look and smell great. A cheese tart is similar in appearance to a Portuguese egg tart, with the addition of a layer of sweet cheese on top. They are freshly baked in the shop (along with the eclairs) and the scent of freshly-baked pastry fills the shop.
If you find yourself in the 万象 mall, which you probably will, given the sheer volume of new stores and shops available there, this seems like a great pit stop while you are perusing the shops or as a nice follow up to a meal, perhaps at the new Leban (just nearby). Either way, a charcoal latte will set you back 28RMB, unless you sign up for the membership there, which will give you 10RMb off your first drink. Cheese tarts will run you 18RMb a piece and the eclairs cost 17RMB, so overall, this shop won’t break the bank.
If you give this a try, let us know about your experience by messaging us at firstname.lastname@example.org.