Where Art Meets Coffee: Progress

From holding the very first Hiroshima Latte Art Challenge Match (with the support of Hiroshima coffee legends Obscura Coffee Roasters) and Hiroshima Coffee Festival to their very well-defined sense of modern aesthetics, aptly named coffee shop “Progress Life style coffee” is urging, well, progress in the Hiroshima coffee scene. [日本語]

Located in the heart of downtown Hiroshima City, the storefront looks like something out of downtown Seattle. There’s a small window for take-out customers and the glass door is covered in simple but lively illustrations in white. Inside, the first floor is home to an impressive espresso machine and long bar counter, and the second floor has an assortment of tables and chairs for those looking to stay a little longer. The space is warm, interspersed with greenery and dried flowers, lots of modern chalk art, and natural wood which creates a rich tapestry of colors (and the perfect background for taking pictures).

Among the standard lattes, flat whites, cappuccinos, drip coffees, and numerous seasonal options, is their signature Black Latte. Today I’ve paired that latte with one of their daily dessert offerings, Apple Choux à la Crème, made by in-house pâtissière Kozue Iguchi.

I confess, I fell in love with their Black Latte the moment I laid eyes on it…even though it belonged to the person next to me. The sharp contrast of stark white foam against black, all ringed by the white lip of a (perfectly thick) ceramic mug. The impeccable as always latte art created by house barista Yūji Tanaka. Put simply, it’s the perfect sum of everything Progress: dedication to the craft and aesthetics of coffee. While mysterious element that gives this latte its rich, inky black color is a trade secret that I haven’t been able to charm out of the lovely staff (I have the feeling it’s likely bamboo charcoal powder), the flavor of this latte is surprisingly mild and earthy, despite having the same amount of espresso as any other latte on the menu. It’s perfect for both the coffee novice and the coffee dependent, offering a unique flavor profile that I have yet to find elsewhere.

The best cup deserves the best partner, and in this case, the Apple Choux à la Crème shines. Sweet and petite, the choux pastry is light and crisp, topped with a cookie-like layer that ensures the choux won’t lose to the weight of the custard and whipped cream. But the real star of this dessert is the golden honey-colored apple confiture (homemade, of course) that sits like a crown top a pillow of feather-light whipped cream. As sweet as it is tart, it is apple intensified. I could eat this confiture all day. I want to eat this confiture all day. Combined with the smooth custard and airy whipped cream, it provides that certain vibrancy and personality that Iguchi’s pastry creations are known for. While the dessert offerings vary with the seasons, their Caramel Cheesecake is available year-round because we all know that coffee loves cheesecake.

With the alarming trend of all style and no substance, Progress proves that you can indeed have them both. Follow them on Instagram and check their official homepage and you’ll see what I mean.

Progress

Opening hours: 13:00-02:00

Closed: Tuesday

Address: Shintenchi 1-15, Naka-ku, Hiroshima City

Tel: 082-244-0170

URL: www.progresscoffees.com

Hiroshima Food Snob

Freelance writer, translator, local TV talent, and full-time food snob in Hiroshima

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