Unwind over drip coffee & fresh bakes at this cosy and quaint Kissaten-style cafe tucked away in Haji Lane that will transport you to Japan in no time

by Christabel Tan

One of my new year’s resolutions for 2023 is to master the art of slow living and lead a more stress-free lifestyle. The kind you see in those popular slice-of-life Japanese dramas that imbue magic into the mundane.

I too want to start romanticising life a little more, and there’s no better place to start than at Coffee Donkee, a speciality coffee joint in Bugis.

coffee donkee
Photo: @eatwithfelz/instagram

Tucked away along the buzzy Haji Lane, a hotspot for locals and tourists alike, the charming Coffee Donkee boasts an moody, dimly-lit interior unlike any other — akin to that of a kissaten (“tea-drinking shop”) an old-school Japanese-style tearoom or coffee shop.

According to Wikipedia, a kissaten served as both “a quiet place to drink coffee” and “gathering places for writers and intellectuals”.

Photo: @coffeedonkee/instagram

Well, aside from the fact that this is not your traditional kissaten (you don’t have to be a writer or an intellectual to visit the cafe, for sure), given that it also features IG-worthy elements like a “zen hut” complete with an artificial grass lawn and autumn foliage (to retreat into), as well as an adorable swing at the entrance.

coffee donkee
Photo: @nihao_alt/instagram

Although the entire space is already very cosy and tranquil, those who wish to fully immerse themselves in therapeutic brewing process can take a seat at the open-concept coffee counter lined with a unique selection of lovely ceramic cups and saucers sourced from all over the world (souvenirs from the owners’ travels).

Photo: @nihao_alt/instagram

Those who wish to savour the cafe’s signature brew can choose between the Hand Brew and the Immersing Brew, both of which are prepared using freshly imported beans from Japan.

Choose your preferred cup and go for either the in-house Donkee Blend (S$10), which boasts a rich, full-bodied flavour, or the Sakura Blend (S$10) a mild-to-medium roast with notes of almond, cacao, and lime.

coffee donkee
Photo: xuan le/google images

Alternatively, you can always order the usual espresso-based Americano (S$6) or Cappuccino (S$8), or even the Oyudashi 48hr+ Aged Cold Brew (S$10). There are even items available off the cafe’s secret menu — just check with the staff during your visit!

Photo: @150cfoodie/instagram

Pair your coffee with a slice of creamy Basque Burnt Cheesecake (S$8.50) or fresh bakes from neighbouring halal bakery Konditori Artisan Bakes, and just relax.

coffee donkee
Photo: @nihao_alt/instagram

Don’t forget to pop by the retail section before you leave and take home a bag of coffee beans or two with you!

I’m definitely heading down for a solo coffee date the next time I feel like unwinding over coffee and a book.

Coffee Donkee
Facebook | Instagram | Website
???? 51 Haji Ln, Singapore 189244
???? 11am–7pm (Daily)

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I'm always feelin' either boozy or boujee ✨

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