Among the hustle and bustle of Shenzhen is a hidden gem, a quiet spot to get away from it all to enjoy 30 min of “me” time and recharge for the long night ahead.
Shenzhen is a Chinese miracle city. At the command of Deng Xiaoping, this used to be wasteland between Guangzhou and Hong Kong has become the innovation and start-up capital of China. In recent years, due to favourable policies in the city, Shenzhen has become a magnet of talents from around the world.
With all these brainstorming and crash of the most brilliant minds, one needs a place to time-out, get in touch with one’s inner-self once in a while. After a while, Starbucks does not work anymore. Neither would those boutique cafes in the malls. The rental would require that they turn the tables as quickly as possible.
Therefore finding Beginner was one of the happy moment for me in Shenzhen.
It is not easy to find the place even though it was just around the corner of KK100. Located inside a housing area, you need to trust your instincts and just walk into the lane that the GPS tells you to. Luckily, we went there in the morning, or else the dingy and poorly lit lane would put off any tourists or wanderers.
And that was precisely the reason it remained so secluded and precious to the few of us.
There was little to choose from the menu. The choices were on the counter top. The coffee beans available were roasted in small batches and you picked whatever your fancy and then picked the style you liked.
I always liked my coffee black and strong. For this visit, I picked an acidic variety from Africa and went for the hand drip style. The filter was placed on the Hario flask. The staff went on to grind the beans. He explained that you need to grind it individually to maintain the freshness of the roast.
After a slow wait, the coffee was ready. It was not pour on a normal coffee cup. Instead, the whole flask was given to you with a ceramic tea cup and you drank it like you would a pot of tea.
They hold frequent art shows and barista courses for those who would like to do a pretty flower like the cappuccino. They have a blackboard where a normal cafe would have their menu, they wrote a poem of the day. The staff told me that they would change this poem depending on their mood.
And currently, they were working on pairing cheese (?) with coffee. We spoke about the coffee cultures of Melbourne, Singapore, Sydney, and how Shenzhen is just catching up with enjoying coffee for what it is.
Here the time stood still and you can read quietly, clear some paperwork, just chat with your colleagues or friends, or just do nothing. The people that came to the cafe were very friendly, and a quick banter would start on any interesting topic that may be between the barista and the clients. Almost like a sake bar atmosphere except there’s not alcohol here.
There isn’t any one that would chase you out, no rush, no pressure. And before you knew it, time passed quickly here. You walked out on the main street and the restaurants just outside the lane have started their evening service.
There’s a Teochew restaurant that I really liked in Shenzhen, nothing posh, had laid out their fresh fish for the evening service. The nightlife of Shenzhen had just begun.