Crafting a cup of unique coffee

Aromacraft Coffee, located in Walnut, is decorated with dangling lights and shelves, offering unique coffees and breakfast dishes.

Ingrid Chan , Staff Writer

Because of its outwardly unassuming appearance and its somewhat out-of-the-way location, I was surprised by the interior of Aroma Craft Coffee the moment my parents and I walked through its doors. Warmly lit and decorated with uniquely rustic furniture, the small cafe exuded a comforting aroma of coffee which permeated the air and added to my first impression. The interesting and aesthetically pleasing decor was especially satisfying, not too sparse and not overdone.

Offering several electronic gadgets as a means of ordering, the restaurant leaves no uncertainty about what you are ordering, allowing you to swipe through an iPad with a slideshow of all their different entrees. It is accompanied by a paper menu where the names, ingredients and prices are listed.

The venue’s main attraction, coffee, has its own menu hanging behind the bar with the many options written on a huge blackboard. We decided to order a latte, an Americano, mushroom toast, French toast and blueberry cheesecake.

The food and drinks came within 10 minutes of us ordering. The latte and Americano were quite expensive at $5 per cup, and the size of the cups were nothing to brag about either, probably equivalent to that of a Starbucks tall cup. However, the taste made up for the somewhat extravagant price and underwhelming portion.

Aroma Craft’s coffee beans are roasted in the shop itself and are far richer and more pleasant than what you would find at mainstream cafes like Starbucks. In addition, the cafe offers different types of brewing methods such as pour over, nitrogen (nitrogen-infused coffee that tastes richer and more velvety) and siphon (coffee made under vacuum or vapor pressure), all of which give the coffee a unique flavor. Each drink was served on a custom-made wooden platter along with a small jam biscuit and a glass of coffee grounds, which provided a fragrant, pleasant aroma.  

Another one of our orders was a piece of toast topped with seasoned spinach, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes, which cost $8. Although the spinach was nicely cooked and the portion was fulfilling, the flavor was bland and the dish simple.

The French toast we ordered for $7, on the other hand, left a much better impression. Topped with strawberries, powdered sugar, dried herbs and granola, it was quite enjoyable as the toast was not drenched in syrup, like how many other places prepare it.

 Lastly, the $9 blueberry cheesecake was my favorite. Although it wasn’t exactly a traditional cheesecake, since I did not taste a hint of cheese and the texture was much too fluffy, the flavor was enough for me to forgive the inaccuracy of its name. It was generously topped with candied blueberries, along with a layer of blueberries scattered throughout its center, and had a texture lighter than mousse.

I particularly marveled at how popular Aroma Craft was even though its plaza was relatively remote and not well-frequented. Late in the afternoon, there was a slow but steady flow of people through the restaurant, adding to the warm and social atmosphere as the indistinct background chatter of conversation constantly filled my ears.  

The place was a bit too expensive for my taste — the total bill including tax and tips was over $40 — but, if you’re willing to spend a bit more than you’re used to at mainstream coffee shops, Aroma Craft is definitely worth visiting for its quality coffee blend, relaxing ambiance and aesthetic sense.