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Updated 28 Aug, 2017

Karachi has lots of cafes but few appease true coffee connoisseurs.

In a city where it's warm most of the year, coffee isn't the beverage of choice for very many people. Coffee addicts are exhausted by people questioning 'Itni garmi mai coffee kyun?' (Why do you drink coffee in this heat?)" Chai is a hot beverage too but you don't see us calling you out on that!

The newest entrant in Karachi's coffee market is FLOC - For the Love of Coffee, which boasts the availability of nitro coffee on its menu. It sounds like the perfect solution to this coffee conundrum. Nitro coffee is served cold, so you can even get your caffeine kick in a few quick cool sips. Plus, the cafe boasts many unique blends of hot and cold coffee on the menu in a comfortable setting, so we wouldn't be surprised if it becomes a niche spot.

We decided to check the place out and see if it holds up to its name. .

Where to go

FLOC has a quaint little shop in Commercial Lane 10 of Zamzama, adjacent to Espresso.

The shop has a very hipster vibe going on and you're greeted by owner Fauzia, who tells you to get comfortable. The cafe has good WiFi and many charging ports available for their laptop-wielding customers. It intends to make customers comfortable stay as long as they like.

When to go

FLOC is open from 7am to midnight.

What to order

The main reason we were at FLOC was to get our hands on some Nitro coffee, and that's what we did. The Nitro coffee is served from this cool machine, which I will call the Thingamabob.

The nitrogen is infused with the coffee, which is served black. While I like black coffee, I was nervous about the Nitro's taste. It doesn't sound good on paper. But then I tried it and was pleasantly surprised at how light it tasted.

Says Fauzia about the Nitro coffee, "The coffee is not brewed in the typical way but the beans are left to steep for over 12 hours. It tastes less bitter than the average black coffee but has over 30 percent more caffeine."

Fauzia recommended we get the regular flat cold coffee and an iced Americano to see the difference between brewed coffee and steeped coffee and we were convinced.

I love coffee as a pick me up but never thought it could be refreshing. FLOC has a variety of the Nitro coffee so if you don't like your coffee without a little sweet they have a vanilla blend with a vanilla syrup made in-house. The nitrogen infusion also helps the coffee have a slight creamy texture due to the airy bubbles formed.

The baby-chino is a caffeine free blend made for kids!
The baby-chino is a caffeine free blend made for kids!

FLOC pays attention to detail as they have a wide array of coffee beans along with different methods of preparation. Be it hot or cold, brew, nitro or even french press, they have a coffee for any mood.

For a coffee place to survive here, it has to have food, that too good food, and FLOC aims to deliver.

We started out with the chicken poppers in buffalo and Korean sauce. They poppers make for perfect finger food. The chicken pieces had a very light coating of batter that was just enough to provide a crispy exterior. We loved the buffalo chicken poppers as they had that amazing tang flavour but weren't so strong as to overpower the dish. The Korean poppers taste similar to a sweet and sour stir fry and would be a great addition for the fan of Asian cuisine.

Also on the appetizers were Italian mini meatballs. While these made for great comfort food, this dish was the least favourite on our table as we felt that it needed some heat in the flavour overall. That being said, it's a great dish to dip your bread in and enjoy the cheesey goodness. Also, the marinara in the sauce is also made in house and the cheese is also locally sourced!

According to Fauzia, "We try to make everything in-house and focus on locally available ingredients. Pakistan has amazing produce and it makes no sense to import things from abroad. If we ever import anything, it's a last resort that we want to be a temporary thing."

So far, FLOC has local partners like Farmer's Cheese to supply them a variety of cheese, and Shama's bakery to provide cakes. They will soon have Omair Aslam baking them sourdough bread in their kitchen.

As proof, she gave us two of their in-house jams. An apple cinnamon jam and a strawberry jam. I'm personally obsessed with their apple cinnamon jam and I don't even like jam. These aren't over sweetened and gelatinous. You can taste the ingredients, the texture is unique and FLOC needs to sell these so that I can hoard them.

The open faced steak sandwich is a FLOC bestseller (even thought the place has been opened barely a week!) The beef was tender, the sauces were mild yet providing balanced flavours and we loved the addition of the crisped garlic as garnish. The multigrain rye bread went great with the subtle flavours of the protein. The sandwich was served with twice cooked potatoes, which tasted very light and weren't greasy.

FLOC has all day breakfast and I love my nashta so we decided to give their scrambled eggs a try and I was hooked. Served either with steak or smoked salmon, topped with bleu cheese or dill, the eggs were fluffy, creamy, and very well made. It's not easy to make scrambled eggs that are creamy and not soggy and they hit that mark for me.

Fauzia ensures that everything at FLOC is made fresh, to the point that she refuses to keep a microwave in her kitchen. Many of the slow-cooked dishes are made in small quantities every day.

One such item is the roasted chicken. We tried it in the chicken and pesto salad with apples and cherries. The presentation of this dish was spot on, although it looked quite deceptive. Opening up the cucumber wrap, we realized the dish wasn't as small as it seemed. We enjoyed the salad, but would've loved a slight citric addition so as to bind all the flavours together.

We decided to go with another FLOC bestselling drink to enjoy with the meal. The banana strawberry yogurt frappe (yes, that is a big name) was surprisingly light and much needed.

With FLOC still in their soft launch period, they have many dishes still in the works, but they hope to have a wider range of coffee and also their own dessert menu.

Damage on the Pocket

The price for food at FLOC ranges from Rs400-Rs800 while coffee ranges from Rs250-Rs550. Some of the coffees that go over Rs450 are actually great in quantity as they make for 2-4 cups.

Comments

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Salman May 27, 2017 03:06pm
Isn't nitrogen supposed to be bad for human consumption?
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Zalmay May 30, 2017 02:06am
@Salman The air you breathe in consists of 78% nitrogen by volume.
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