Nestled in the heart of the Xiang'er Hutong, Big Small Coffee is the latest venture to bring premium coffee to Beijing. Priding itself as an amalgamation of big vision in a small space, the 18-sq. meter shop is both refined and chic. A large skylight and smooth cork wall soften the stark appearance of the shop's Volga Blue granite counter tops and leather stools, while a glass façade offers a better look into the bustling street of the hutong outside.
The menu boasts a wide range of espresso and single-origin coffees, with a smaller offering of rooibos tea (the owner is also a co-founder of Smash a Cup, RMB20) and hot chocolate (RMB25). Watching the preparation of the single origin drinks (RMB30-40) was almost enough alone to warrant another visit. The barista was meticulous in his scaled measurement of the coffee beans, check of the pour-over water's temperature, and final sample of the finished drink. Coupled with the smooth funk of the background music, our time spent watching the process was similar to how we'd imagine a chemistry class in a Zen Buddhist monastery.
Although the shop does offer a select number of daily desserts, those seeking a large meal to accompany their cup of Joe should look elsewhere. We found ourselves ignoring our cold chocolate chip cookie in order to devour a delightful piece of chocolate cake, which offered the perfect marriage of crunchy and smooth textures in its silky mousse body and crushed coffee bean base.
The attentive service and cappuccino foam designs (RMB22) won us over, however we'll make sure to order our drinks extra hot in the future.
Where: 78 Xiang’er Hutong, 香饵胡同78号
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