Since indie (read: hipster) culture started catching on in Singapore, there has been no lack of indie cafes sprouting up every few weeks or so.
But then there is a special breed of cafes that aren’t just out there for the sake of being cool. They take pride in the coffee they serve, breathing life into Singapore’s specialty coffee culture by either creating their own blends and roasting their own beans, or selecting only the best coffee blends from around the world.
BT Lifestyle sussed out eight new specialty coffee joints that give an extra caffeine boost to Singapore’s specialty coffee scene. Personally, I only covered three, but head on to the BT website for the full list: Much Ado About Something.
1. The Coffee Shot
DON’T be fooled by The Coffee Shot’s European-inspired décor and increasingly hipster location i.e. Jalan Besar. Owner Bryan Tan is into equal-opportunity coffee appreciation, in that “everyone, such as youngsters, as well as aunties and uncles, can enjoy our coffee”.
Hence, his local-inspired concept which serves drinks such as Old School Ice, which is really just a fancy name for the coffee shop classic, kopi-peng (iced coffee).
The difference is that the five-month-old cafe uses 100 per cent arabica beans and includes an espresso shot in every cup of coffee it serves – hence the name, The Coffee Shot.
On why he’s so enthusiastic about espresso, he simply replies: “Personally, I have to drink coffee every day . . . I can even drink two cups of arabica coffee at a time. I like coffee – so why not?”
For those a little more adventurous, you can take on some of the cafe’s speciality coffees, namely the Honey Con Leche, which is “sort of a latte with honey”; the Chinchulilla, which contains peach liqueur with a honey latte; and the Rome Holiday, a milk coffee with baileys, peach liqueur and whipped cream – all inclusive of that espresso shot, of course.
Coffee is the main draw although there is a small menu which also emphasises local flavours. The Old School Bun is the familiar childhood egg and luncheon meat snack, and there’s also otah pizza. There are also few Western options such as poached eggs and ham, as well as cakes and sandwiches.
The Coffee Shot is located at 103 Lavender Street. Open Mon, Wed-Sat: 10am to 10pm; Sun: 9am to 7pm. Closed on Tuesdays. Visit https://www.facebook.com/THECOFFEESHOTTKC
2. Brawn & Brains
Right now, Brawn & Brains may only offer a Brazilian single-origin coffee with nutty overtones, but in a couple of week, you can expect some original coffee blends into the menu in a couple of weeks – once owners Gwen Peh and Xavier Teo have worked out the kinks of the cafe operations and fine-tuned the blends.
And even though the blends haven’t been finalised yet – one thing’s for sure: they will be made from organic beans. “We noticed that there’s a lack of organic blends in the market right now, and we want to promote healthy food,” says Mr Teo. “I’m planning to have maybe two to three origins to one blend – all organic.”
While coffee had always been a big part of Mr Teo’s life, it was only a few years ago that he was hit by inspiration to start roasting his own beans.
“I visited Milan a few years back and I just loved the coffee culture there. So I got the idea to start doing my own coffee, and since most of my friends love coffee as well, I thought of buying a roaster that we could all benefit from,” he remembers.
He began buying raw beans, reading up on coffee roasting, and experimenting with his roaster until he found himself liking the idea of having his own blends more and more. “It felt quite nice to have some personal touch to my coffee,” he says.
And that, perhaps, is precisely the appeal of cafes with their own coffee blends – that personal touch in each blend that doesn’t shout “mass production” like the commercial brands do.
Brawn & Brains is located at 100 Guillemard Road #01-07 (the Old Badminton Hall at Kallang). Open Tue-Sun: 11.30am to 8.30pm. Visit https://www.facebook.com/brawnbrains.sg
3. Anythingz Cafe
T takes some guts to open a cafe right across the highly popular Chye Seng Huat Hardware, but Jackey Wong doesn’t seem too bothered by the competition.
“Every cafe has its own identity and specialities,” he says. “Our coffee is different from theirs, so it’s really up to the customers’ personal preferences.”
Seeing that there was little point in trying to compete with the special coffee blends offered by cafes in the surrounding area of Jalan Besar, Mr Wong decided to take a more tried-and-tested path: selling a well-known brand of coffee.
During his six-year stay in Sydney, Australia, he fell in love with Vittoria Coffee, and decided to bring that into Anythingz Cafe, which he opened in March this year.
“I chose this brand because I was most familiar with it, and you would like it even if you weren’t a coffee person,” he shares. “The espresso doesn’t taste acidic, and you can actually taste a bit of sweetness in it.”
But perhaps the most attractive thing about the cafe is its intimate, homely feel, thanks to a small seating space for up to 26 people, and delightfully homemade food that he makes himself every day.
“I just wanted to have a relaxing place for people to have nice coffee, dessert and food,” Mr Wong says. “My intention was to create a cosy hangout place for high tea and chit chat.”
Most of the food, like the breakfast sets, sandwiches, pizza and pasta, are made from his own personal recipes, created through rounds of trial and error. “I wanted to have a variety of international and western food,” Mr Wong says. “So I take some inspiration from photos that I find on the Internet, then I look for different recipes and ingredients for each dish, and experiment with them.”
Even a few of the desserts, such as the Crème Brulee, Mille Crepes, Chocolate Mousse and Tofu Cheese Cake are homemade, while the others are imported from France.
Anythingz Cafe is located at 139 Tyrwhitt Road #01-03. Open Mon to Wed: 8am to 8pm; Fri & Sat: 8am to 10pm; Sun 10am to 10pm. Visit