Hana Cafe

Special thanks to Hana Cafe for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Hana Cafe (하나카페) is a small café in Tanjung Bungah, across the main road from Flamingo Hotel. This café is adjoined with Hana Tea Factory, a small tea processing facility where visitors are welcomed (free admission). During daytime, a healthy number of tourists drop by to witness how tea is processed from leaf to teabag.
The production line is rather straightforward and can be manned by 1-2 operators. First, an oven bakes raw leaves at 60-70 degree Celsius. The dried leaves are sent to a cutter, then sieved to remove residue. Clean leaves are then packed and screened for impurities. Raw ingredients are supplied by the factory's own orchards or through contracted cultivators.
Among the popular herbs used are Misai Kucing (Java herbal tea), Lemon Grass, Candle Bush and Pecah Beling. These herbs are often found in the wild, but extremely prized in Japan due to their healing and rejuvenating properties. For example, Misai Kuching has diuretic properties to treat kidney stones, while Candle Bush have slimming effects and alleviates high blood pressure.
A small gift shop is available for visitors who wish to purchase the tea products. In addition, Hana Cafe provides outdoor seating for visitors who wish to enjoy a fresh brew of tea on the spot.
The yard of Hana Cafe is well-landscaped with an interesting assortment of potted and garden plants like rosemary.
In addition, the garden showcases several tea plants for visitors to experience how actual tea plants look like. Many will be surprised that these plants are often overlooked as common shrubs.
Although the factory closes in the evening, Hana Cafe remains open till 10:00pm at night. The menu features various coffee and tea beverages, includes those on sale in the gift shop. As for desserts, there is also a respectable selection of cakes.
While Hana Cafe is not meant for proper meals, there are special dishes occasionally meant for light meal. All food is homemade and prepared fresh, so availability varies from time to time.
The proprietor behind Hana Cafe is Joshua, who also manages the tea factory and has experience working as a barista in New Zealand. In a land where cattle outnumber people, New Zealanders are very particular with their daily latte fixes. Only the finest milk can pacify people from this dairy nation, so it is obvious why Joshua sets such a high bar with his coffee work.

The coffee which I am fortunate to sample today is the Flat White (RM7.90), personally crafted by Joshua himself. Made using steam milk of right temperature, this single shot of espresso is creamy throughout the entire cup, yet not foamy or bubbly at all. What this means is that the coffee is delightful without any added sugar, something one cannot expect when the coffee is full of bubbles.

Unlike many coffee places, no emphasis is placed on coffee art because purely aesthetic work is frown upon. As Joshua puts it, the only thing that matters with coffee is good quality. Period.

A soothing cup of coffee is best complemented with a nice slice of cake. Hana Cafe only has a limited number of cakes available because the cakes are hand-picked from the best suppliers in Penang. Only a handful of suppliers make the cut; all are home bakeries.
The cake for sampling today is the Carrot Cake. Like the Flat White, this slice of cake is humble in appearance. Yet, its taste is where the cake really shines. Featuring a lovely crumble, the cake is littered with delectable grated carrots and several creamy layers of icing. Its sweetness is not overpowering but still satisfies my sweet tooth by an appreciable margin.

I recommend Hana Cafe to anyone who wants to experience how good coffee tastes like, or wants to indulge in lovely cakes, or wishes to learn how local tea products are manufactured. Or all of the above.

Name: Hana Cafe
Address: 11, Jalan Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Tanjung Bungah, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 016-446-7560 (Joshua)
Business hours: 11:00am-12:00am (Tuesdays to Saturdays), closed on Mondays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/HanaCafePenang
Coordinates: 5.46585 N, 100.28934 E
Directions: Along Jalan Tanjung Bungah (westbound), look out Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang on the right. Approximately 100 meters later, there is an overhead pedestrian bridge. Another 100 meters further, Hana Tea Cafe is located on the left. There is ample parking space in front of the building. In the rare event that front parking is full, there is more parking at the back.

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