Review by: Christopher Liew
Once more we return to Taiwan, Taipei, but for this time we’ll venture into the streets of 九份（Jiu Fen）, one of the must-go tourist attraction spots in Taiwan. As I was venturing around Jiu Fen, I stumble upon this little cozy-looking café, which comes with a rather unique but weird name of Babka.
Exterior design of café.
I decided to check it out, knowing Taiwan geographical reasons, shops and café around Taiwan are usually small compared to Malaysia’s café size. Something about this small little cozy café is that the dining area are all located upstairs, while downstairs will be the place where barista prepare the coffee. In this café, the barista is the café owner himself. From bean roasting, coffee brewing, to even pizza making as well as baking are all done by the husband and wife (the owner of Babka café). In their menu, what first caught my eyes was actually the hand-brew coffee. Unlike typical espressos, they serve brews such as the Siphon Brew Coffee. I decided then that it would be a good idea to ask the owner a little about the café itself.
Question 1 (directed to the husband): What is it that inspires you to start venturing into coffee industries?
The reason behind the interest or rather inspiration of venturing into coffee industries was rather simple. He expect quality over quantity, emphasizing flavour and quality in each cup of coffee he brews. Even so, he’s not very fond of other flavour in which it explains why that his café only have specific few types of selected beans. Instead of the domestically produced arabicas coffee beans, he prefers specific beans such as the Kenya AA’S, “kopi luwak” civet coffee, Columbia’s bean, and of course, their prize winning, a mixture of 15 types of coffee beans into one brew (championship 2015 for bean type). For 12 years this pair of couples has been operating Babka café in Jiu Fen, they have not change their beans and bean type. He wants to open up a café in such way that is not selling coffee only for the sake of doing so, but instead he wants each coffee to be unique and high quality.
Few types of bean they offer.
Question 2 (directed to the wife):
Why is the café name Babka cafe歐風鄉村咖啡?
It’s rather interesting when I found out why is the café name Babka, it came to my surprise that babka is actually name of a pasterie which originally comes from Romania (or known as kulich, Кулич in cryllic script which widely used in eastern Europe) and it’s spongy brioche-like yeast cake, the reason why the café is name after it was that the café main pastries Babka cake in which the recipes of babka café’s for it are from the owner’s parents themselves. To make it even more interesting is that babka is actually a Polish word which means ‘Grandmother’.
They added that the original given name of the café was 歐風鄉村咖啡, which means ‘Eastern Village Café’, but when combined with Babka, they called it the Babka café.
With the interview part done, I browsed through the menu in which they heavily emphasized on the hand-brewed coffee and I decided to give that a shot. While I was expecting something along the lines of V-60 pourover coffee, they recommended me Siphone brewing methods instead, which was invented back in the 1840’s by a French housewife and a Scottish marine engineer. This method works by heating a round-bottomed flask, which boils the water inside it and builds up pressure in the flask. The pressure would push the water into the upper brewing chamber, and the blend is then mixed with the water by stirring, and the blend would start to brew. With this method, a delicate, tea-like cup of coffee is brewed.
Siphon Coffee brewing Methods.
The outcome of this brewing method turned out rather interesting, due to its rich flavours as several types of coffee beans were mixed into a blend. It leaves you feeling the impact of the coffee, taking in the mixed flavours of it at the same time. The coffee’s texture was smooth, with a cherry-like flavour and a strong burnt taste not unlike the aroma of walnuts added to a slight hint of tangy sourness.
Completion of Siphon Coffee.
The price range of coffee provided is just alright, ranging from 90 to 220 new Taiwan dollar, which is equivalent to approximately RM10-24. Quite affordable for a cup of hand-brewed coffee!
224, Taiwan, 新北市瑞芳區基山街177號
Contact number: +886 2 2406 3458
Operational Hours: 9AM–5PM
With this review, Peace out!