click to enlarge bartlettimage-la_kuma_coffee-6091.jpg

Photo by Rob Bartlett

At La Kuma Coffee, Justin Xiong delves into Japanese coffee culture 

Coffee connoisseur and self-taught bean freak Justin Xiong not only wanted to share his passion for coffee with the masses, but, in his Longwood coffee house La Kuma, wanted to offer exacting and precise cups of coffee with Japanese flair.

When did you have your first taste of coffee?
I was 10 years old when I first tried coffee. It was bitter and unpleasant, because it was just burnt convenience store coffee. Then when I got into middle school, I was introduced to the "gateway drug" for a lot of the coffee drinkers – cafe mocha. At first, I only treated it as a liquid dessert because of how sweet it usually is. Then I discerned the lightly bitter element that balanced out the drink, and I was hooked on the taste of coffee.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett

You're a Taiwanese person running a Japanese coffee shop. What made you veer toward a Japanese-style cafe as opposed to, say, a Taiwanese-style cafe employing coffee beans from Taiwan?
Taiwanese culture is heavily influenced by Japanese culture, especially over the past century or so. I was always amazed by Japanese dedication to craftsmanship. The deeper I delve into the world of coffee, the more I am attracted by Japanese coffee culture and the way the Japanese treat their coffee. It is a balance of science and art. It is so precise and yet so elegant. All I had in mind was providing an intoxicating coffee experience with an affordable price. To bring the best experience, we actually source organic and freshly roasted coffee beans from a local roaster partner, Blessed Bean Coffee. We use top-quality, organic milk and milk alternatives to pair with our coffee. Then we brew the coffee with the right equipment, at an accurate water temperature using precise procedural and brewing methods. We take great care in offering a quality cup of coffee.

What effect has your immigrant experience had on the restaurant's evolution?
American coffee culture is very different from what I am used to. Coffee here is more of a quick fix to the post-wakeup syndrome many people experience, instead of savoring the experience. Given my love of coffee, it's quite difficult for me to see people just gulp it down instead of enjoying an intoxicating experience. So I made it my mission to preach about the Japanese coffee experience, which led to the creation of La Kuma Coffee.( ▲


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

More in Bite


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

July 8, 2020

View more issues


© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation