The Beans Coffee Factory : Colombo’s Hidden and Best Coffee Spot

The Beans Coffee Factory

The Beans Coffee Factory : Colombo’s Hidden and Best Coffee Spot

Sri Lanka is all about tea. The country’s century-long love affair is only growing stronger and this place has a tea-drinking culture like no other. No, what about a good cuppa? For years, good coffee was hard to find in Colombo, but things are changing fast. Jumping on the emerging global artisanal coffee culture, swanky coffee shops are popping up all over town, making a mean cuppa. But hands down, the absolute best cup of coffee in Colombo is in the market streets of Pettah, the bustling heart of the city. Here, hidden in the chaotic market bazaar among shops selling teas, rice, and spice, is Ijaz Ahamed’s Beans Factory. This small hole-in-the-wall shop is nothing fancy, but Ijaz and his team take their coffee seriously. From Pettah, he sells his roasted beans all over the country and is happy to brew you a perfect espresso. We go to Old Moor Street to find out more about The Beans Coffee Factory.

 

Rice, Tea, Spice, and Coffee   

Sri Lanka is mostly known for its tea, but a long time ago, there were many coffee plantations dotted around in the fertile hills. “Sri Lanka still has some of the best coffee in the world,” says Ijaz Ahamed who started The Beans Coffee Factory six years ago. Ijaz is a self-professed “hardcore” coffee drinker who likes his coffee espresso style. The disappointment of brews in the city’s coffeeshops enabled him to start processing himself. “One day, I decided it was time to roast my own beans. That was six years ago. I bought a roasting machine in Germany, got some beans from my dad and just started experimenting.” Business took off from there. Today, Beans roasts, packages, and supplies coffee to Colombo’s cool cafes and hip hotels.

 

Single Commodity Crop

Ijaz still operates from a small workshop in the same street where he learned the tricks of the trade in his father’s spice business, a typical wholesaler in pepper, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and, coffee beans. Old Moor Street is the hub of the city’s spice and rice trade where over 300 million rupees of business takes place daily. From a young age, Ijaz helped in the shop; Ijaz explains that for a traditional spice trader, it seems strange to specialise in one commodity. The plantations in Sri Lanka are typically multi-crop, which is also how the trade has always been organised. Sometimes, it’s difficult to find enough supply of good quality beans. Sri Lanka is still a tea country and it’s forbidden to import beans from other countries. But Ijaz tells us: “It wasn’t always like that. Before the tea trade took off, Sri Lanka was one of the world’s biggest exporters of coffee, alongside Brazil. Now, coffee is becoming more popular, and the demand for coffee has never been higher. Over the last 2 years, the price has doubled from 235 LKR/kilo to about 430 LKR /kilo.” Ijaz sees a bright future for coffee in Sri Lanka: “There is so much potential in this country, we just need to revive the expertise in cultivating and roasting.”

 

“Pettah has always been a hub for spices,  the heart of the trade is here” – Ijaz Ahamed

 

Pettah: The Heart of the Trade 

Ijaz loves being in the middle of Pettah’s hustle and bustle. In fact, it’s where the history of trade began, and there is no better place to do business in the city because it’s ingrained in the fabric. Though, Pettah is less busy than it used to be even though it’ still the heart of the trade. Ijaz is confident: “Being here helps me to source the best coffee. Pettah has always been a hub for spices and rice and will always be. People come from all over the country to buy specialised goods. It’s less busy here now than 10 years back. the hands and feet of the trade have moved, but the heart is still here. I hope for Pettah to keep its unique vibe for generations to come.”

 

Have a Cuppa!

The Beans Coffee Factory is a fab spot to sit down, have a cuppa, and observe the life of one of Pettah’s most unique streets. Ijaz or one of his team members is happy to make you a nice strong espresso, the best coffee we’ve had in Colombo! Or you can buy some beans to take home for just Rp 1,300, in a nicely packaged box. The Beans Coffee Factory From this small workshop in Pettah, Beans roasts, packages, and supplies coffee to the city’s cool cafés and hip hotels The Beans Coffee FactoryThe Beans Coffee Factory 

Ijaz or one of his team members is happy to make you a nice strong espresso, the best coffee we’ve had in Colombo! The Beans Coffee Factory “One day, I decided it was time to roast my own beans. That was six years ago. I bought a roasting machine in Germany, got some beans from my dad and just started experimenting.” The Beans Coffee Factory Ijaz still operates from a small workshop in the same street where he learned the tricks of the trade in his father’s spice business, a typical wholesaler in pepper, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and, coffee beans The Beans Coffee Factory Old Moor Street is the hub of the city’s spice and rice trade where over 300 million rupees of business takes place daily The Beans Coffee Factory Ijaz loves being in the middle of Pettah’s hustle and bustle. This is where the history of trade began, and there is no better place to do business in the city because it’s ingrained in the fabric

 

Want to Find More Hidden Gems in Colombo?

Travel like a local in Colombo and buy the iDiscover Colombo Guide! It includes 4 handcrafted itineraries that bring you the honest and authentic in the city’s most historic neighbourhoods like Pettah, Fort, Cinnamon Gardens, and Slave Island. Our guide comes with a free navigational app so that you can get lost without getting lost.

Pettah Colombo

 

 

 

Words by Halik Hazeez Halik Colombo writer

Halik is a visual artist and writer who uses everyday life in Sri Lanka as his inspiration. He likes to spend his tie walking the streets and encountering the unexpected. Find him on Instagram @colombedouin.

 

 

 

 

 

Photography by Kesara Ratnavibhushana

Kesara has been documenting cities for close to 20 years. His photographic practice is based in Colombo but also works internationally. His hometown is changing, rapidly, sometimes faster than even Kesara – a quick adaptor – can keep track of. He spends hours walking the streets recording its history and urban reality. www.kesaraphotography.com

 

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