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Thread: Singapore - Coffee resources

  1. #1
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    Singapore - Coffee resources

    Hello,

    I am moving to Singapore in a few weeks.

    Can any forum goers recommend local coffee shops to buy beans from? or should i just be happy to order from the internet?

    thoughts?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Re: Singapore - Coffee resources

    For those friends that buy roasted, they normally frequent the following:
    Papa Palheta
    Oriole Cafe & Bar
    Highlander Coffee
    or bigger suppliers like cuppachoice, spinelli

  3. #3
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    Re: Singapore - Coffee resources

    there isnt really much of a coffee culture there. I have been working in Singapore and the region for last 5 years. I generally get my caffine fix from an Ice frappucino from starbucks as it is the least offensive.

    Star bucks and Coffee Club are the good places here. You see them heating 1L of milk at a time. Latte art is scooping the sloppy froth out of the jug onto your coffee. There really are no independent cafes either, none that I have seen anyway But admittedly I am only really in the CBD not out in the burbs.

    It is a shame as you see all these nice machines sitting in places where no one knows how to use them. Other week I went to a lunch bar that had a 3 group LP lever and a kony grinder, So I thought yes this could be good. But all 3 PFs were sitting on the bench so I didnt bother.

  4. #4
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    Re: Singapore - Coffee resources

    Quote Originally Posted by 200F0A0D170C630 link=1297039465/2#2 date=1297149147
    There really are no independent cafes either, none that I have seen anyway
    Youve been in SG for 5 years, youve been a member of CS for a year longer than that and you havent heard of Highlander?
    Believe me, they at the very least know how to pour latte art. Do yourself a favour and go there at least once.


    I havent been to the other places that lkaiseng mentions in the post above yours but Id be surprised if their coffee isnt *heaps better than what they sell in those coffee chains.

  5. #5
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Singapore - Coffee resources

    On my recent trip to Singapore Highlander Coffee was my only port of call for good coffee, Phil and Cedric are passionate about their coffee and very friendly guys, the food was good also, obligatory visit when in Singapore ;) ;) :) :) :) :) :)

  6. #6
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    Re: Singapore - Coffee resources

    As a Singaporean who has lived in Melbourne for the past three years, there is really only one establishment in Singapore that I would heartily recommend without hesitation - Forty Hands.

    Forty Hands is *a relative newcomer to the scene (open for a couple of months) but it is quickly making headwaves in Singapore coffee. *Good selection of single origins, and their house blend is lovely. Setup is a Synesso Cyncra (I believe) + 2 Mazzer Kony-Es. The establishment is run by an Aussie from WA. Unfortunately, they dont roast their own beans yet - they still import their beans roasted from Australia.

    I had the Costa Rican Cope Dota in a long black last week... what a revelation! In an instance, I felt more comfortable about the prospect of moving back to Singapore for good. *:)

    Forty Hands
    78 Yong Siak St, #01-12, Tiong Bahru.

    Another place to check out is Loysels Toy in Kampong Bugis... *the latest café opened by Leon of Papa Palheta fame. Do check them out as well.

    And another +1 for Highlander Coffee!

  7. #7
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    Re: Singapore - Coffee resources

    yeah Highlander is great :)

    anyone knows where to get good decaf in Singapore? Im breastfeeding but i still need my coffee

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    Re: Singapore - Coffee resources

    Like Mark, Im a Singaporean who has recently migrated back from Melbourne (after 8 years). Was really into the coffee scene in Melbourne, and have been trying to find out where to get beans (including green beans for home roasting).

    Heres what I found out so far:

    For coffees, the best places are (not in particular order)
    1. Papa Palheta
    2. High lander
    3. Oriole
    I havent tried Forty Hands yet - will give them a shot.

    For beans, all the 3 spots above sell freshly roasted beans. "John the Grocer" is another shop with beans - their coffee aint too flash though.

    Phil from Highlander sells GREEN beans "unofficially" (you need to speak to him directly), and John from Oriole is trying to sort out something (he hasnt confirmed anything with me yet, but is working towards it).

    You can also try buying green beans from QARR coffee - they sell green beans too.

    Equipment wise - Papa Pahleta is the official distributor for Rocket Giotto and Mazzer. Highlander coffee imports Vibiemmes, Anfims and more. Phil also sells other equipment "unofficially", so be sure to pop in and speak to him if he has a moment, to find out what his latest plans are.

    I travel back and forth between Australia and Singapore, and have found that there is little difference in price (especially if you now factor in the strong AUD). For example, a Rocket Giotto Evoluzione from Singapore costs ~$3500+, and one from melbourne would be just over $3000 (works out to be the same, and you get some local warranty support).

    For other non-espresso brewing equipment, such as hario grinders, drip filters etc, you can get them from all the shops above. There is a place called John the Grocer that also sells a good range of non-espresso brewing equipment.

    Oh yes, and I found Popcorn poppers on sale at Market Place at Fusionopolis for $40. Apparently available at Mustafa as well for a bit more, and online from Pantry Pursuits. They are schematically similar to the poppers online, but need a bit of modding, as most do (contact me if you need help).

    Overall, Im pretty satisfied with the coffee scene here. Good coffee shops arent as accessible as they were in North Melbourne (but then again, you didnt have much choice if you lived in Point Cook), but they are there. Ive heard that the Melbourne coffee scene took more than 25 years to reach the stage its at - so Singapore, despite being new to the coffee scene, has come a very long way in a very short time - definitely growing fast!

    Cheers
    Sing

  9. #9
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    Re: Singapore - Coffee resources

    Tobys Estate Coffee will be opening up in Singapore in the next few months, keep an eye out for them.

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    Re: Singapore - Coffee resources

    Hi,

    I second highlander and think the following deserve a mention for good coffee. These are cafes though, and dont really sell coffee beans etc.

    The plain, next to duxton plain park in tanjong pagar, i believe it is at 50 craig road opp craig place. Melbourne style cafe. Melbourne style cafe , very friendly. They serve decaf too.

    Espressoul in the efg bank building on north bridge road close to the singapore supreme court. More corporate than neighbourhood style cafe.

    I heard that Single Origin Roasters coffee beans are available at Loysels Toy Cafe in Kallang, but I havent had a chance to verify that yet...
    Happy hunting for good coffee in singapore!

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    Re: Singapore - Coffee resources

    read from CS and told a friend whos visiting Singapore who just went to papa paletha and had a great time there. lovely coffee and very smooth he mentioned. bought some of their terra firma blend for me.

    brewed it tonight as a flatwhite with a double ristretto blend and it was great. smooth and had some earthy tones on it.

    papa paletha runs two giottos on weekdays and the synesso during weekends my friend told me, and theyre setup more like a home cafe rather than a commercial one.

  12. #12
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    Re: Singapore - Coffee resources

    yahava koffeeworks singapore is located at 4 jalan gelenggang (S) 578188 :)

  13. #13
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    I'm refreshing this thread after reading that Singapore is not a good place for coffee... inconceivable! I've lived there for several years and I think the problem is the scene is not particularly active in promoting itself, or perhaps tourists don't know what to google? I'm temporarily living in Sydney, but here is my contribution.

    Quick note on shipping vs picking up: Singapore is tiny. And so it is a little sad to watch as SingPost takes 3 days to deliver a package 5km, and "fails" the delivery even as you go ask the postman about it in front of your door (adding an extra day as you now need to wait 24 hours to pick it up at the local office). I now pick up my beans because I'm one of the few who like the fresh roasted, less intense, greener taste with tons of crema and it is the only way to guarantee a quick enough "delivery".

    Apartments in Singapore occasionally don't have a kitchen vent - I've lived in two that did not. Landed properties are of course extortionately expensive. So roasting is quite hard and you have to resort to roasters, which I think is why the scene has developed quite a bit since the earlier posts in this thread.

    Here are my four recommendations, worth a visit in person if you are in Singapore (less well known, at least as far as expats are concerned):

    - Nylon was my regular roasted bean source, simply because they roast to order. Nobody else guaranteed it. I was buying from Yahava mentioned above until they shipped me beans 15 days stale. They have great single origins that rotate every few weeks, the roaster is really well known in the community, etc. Why did I stop? The prices inched up by something like 50% since my first order, following the rest of the market. I had a look right now and you're looking at $20-23 per 250g. And looking for alternatives, I discovered (through a recommendation)...

    - Tiong Hoe: the owner is apparently the grandaddy of Singaporean roasters. They have the cheapest price I've found for fresh roasted beans, by including cheaper origins - starting at $12 per 250g; they also have rarer stuff for ten times that. They roast several times a week, if not daily - but check with them before ordering online to make sure you get the fresh stuff, I've seen 14 days old bags on their shelf and received a 7 day old order (which they argued, to be fair, was better after this much resting - and again I know I am in the minority in preferring 1-4 days old). This is the only reliable source of monsooned malabar I've found in Singapore, and theirs is a real winner and always part of my orders. The cafe itself, at the bottom of a large housing estate, is also worth visiting. The attention to detail is almost perfect; I would just prefer if they warmed the beaker before doing the pourover as it ends up a few degrees cooler than ideal. Tiong Hoe is my current mail order option and has been for a few months.

    - Geisha: I hesitate to recommend this tiny shop in Rochor mostly because it is so unreliably open, but it is crazy in a kind of awesome way. I've had the owner tell me he was closed at least 3 times. But he is absolutely a passionate expert, with encyclopaedic knowledge of his art. He doesn't speak much English, only mandarin, and if his wife is not there hello sign language (Google Translate can also help). I brought them 2kg of green beans and the owner literally took a week to experiment with them until he was sure the roast was perfect for them, at which point he did the whole thing and bagged it for me for $50, whilst explaining exactly how the farm had failed to wash the beans properly and making me taste it side by side with his own single origin from the same island (he was right). The cafe is named after the Panama varietal we know and love, and you can have a pourover of it for $17. Espresso shots are the cheapest of all the good cafes at a mere $2, and naturally excellent. The pourover is the most careful I've witnessed, with beaker warmed, filter warmed, and careful pouring guaranteeing a very reliable cup. Beans for normal single origins are around $17-25 per 250g which is the market rate. There is no menu, you ask him what he has and hopefully he has roasted something you like recently - my last purchase was Kenyan AA. Geisha replaces Tiong Hoe when I'm in a rush. I cannot rely on Geisha for regular supplies, my mandarin is inexistent and I just have no idea what he intends to roast, when, or whether it will be open when I walk over. But if you're serious about coffee you have to visit.

    - 7Kickstart: this one is only for the amateurs of very strong roasts. I have stopped going because the roasts are too close to the second crack for my taste, on all varietals, even the "mild" roasted ones. The roaster also likes to pick "stinky" varietals which makes me think he or she is local ("kopi" is defined by overroasted pungent beans). However, google some photos of this place and you will get the idea. Aside from offering the usual assortment of espresso and pourover drinks and roasted and green beans, they have a nitro pour ($7) and cold drip. The food is strange. Not bad necessarily, just a chef with a palate that is quite different from the usual brunch cafe-roaster arrangement. Think orange mayo on your burger. Big portions. Actually, typing this up makes me want to go back.

    Then there are the 4/5s. Common Man is the Lavazza of fresh roasted coffee, served by a ton of places that aren't called Common Man (but the reputation is deserved). I don't buy beans there because the roast schedule is too infrequent, although I have in the past when I got lucky. Great place for brunch. Oriole has been mentioned over and over, personally I avoid it due to stratospheric pricing and a packed and unfriendly atmosphere; service is friendly but always slow due to the crowd, and I just don't get the hype. Every time I've talked to a recruiter in CBD it was at Jewel, and it's not bad, about equivalent to a decent local cafe in Sydney but not reaching the heights of Mecca or Gumption. Chye Seng Huat is very hip (and a LBGT+ cruise spot at night, I think), but both their beer and coffee leaves a bit to be desired; I feel it's more of a place to be seen than to drink, although you will get your piccolo latte and highly hopped ultra bitter IPA. Stranger's Reunion I have been only once but the piccolo latter was good. Montana Brew Bar used to be my neighbourhood cafe of choice before I discovered Geisha; I think they have suffered from expanding the space and the menu, and the interesting options like the Gibraltar ($4) have disappeared for more mainstream assortments of cappuccino and so on (but they will make it for you on request). Tiong Bahru Bakery (City Hall, Tiong Bahru - both places are fine, the latter more knowledgeable) pours a surprisingly decent shot I think from Common Man, and of course the pastries and bread are why you are here (try the Kouign Amman). The Coffee Academics look superficially great but again I felt a lack of passion, perhaps due to the ultra premium locations and large crowds. Maison Ikkoku is another roaster-cocktail bar with very high reputation, somewhat deserved, for both; I was satisfied with my beans but it's such a pain to walk around that part of town in the heat that I've only bought there once. Nearby A.R.C. (Academy Roastery Cafe) trains baristas and cares, although again nothing roasted on the day so I've only had coffee there, not bought beans.

    That's just the stuff within walking distance or a couple MRT stops from my apartment. There is a coffee craze here too now, and if you take a bit of time to walk around whatever part of town you're in, you'll eventually find a roaster. I don't roast in Singapore (although about to try and do so in Sydney, either pan or popcorn popper) so cannot help with green bean sourcing, other than at 7Kickstart I haven't seen it offered.
    Last edited by apicius; 3rd August 2017 at 07:45 PM. Reason: adding bold to Maison Ikkokku to match formatting
    greenman, LeroyC and magnafunk like this.

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    Tried a new place today near Bugis which sort of deserves to be added as a Starbucks alternative.

    Sometimes you are with people for whom coffee means milk, sugar, caramel sauce, peanuts, whatever. And so they suggest the green mermaid and you sigh internally. Fear not, this is what Mellower Coffee is for. The chain apparently started in China to sell premium (i.e. roasted properly, arabica single origin, espresso) coffee in the bigger cities and expanded to Singapore recently.

    The menu is "fusion" which means fusion between South East Asia, China and espresso, not between east and west. The ondeh x latte consisted of milk infused with pandan and coconut, with a few coconut flakes, into which you mix an espresso and gula melaka. It was surprisingly well balanced and not the sugar bomb I expected to drink; neither did the coffee have the pungency one gets used to at Starbucks from their burnt, stale coffee. In other words, "Starbucks style menu, with a local twist, and targeted at people who normally drink real coffee". They also have some kind of cotton candy "cloud" above an americano which is bigger and more impressive in real life than even on the photos, but not something I particularly wanted to actually eat/drink.

    I would have bought some roasted beans to check out coffee quality but before leaving Australia I roasted something like 20 batches in a row and took it back with me (now in the freezer) for until I figure out how to a. import Andy's beans into Singapore and b. roast them in my apartment without setting off all the fire alarms.

  15. #15
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Dutch Colony Coffee Company are doing great things, I visited their roastery and cafes on a recent visit to Singapore. Suhaimie Sukimon who started as head roaster with Toby's Estate in Singapore has now partnered to open Dutch Colony:--
    HQ.Roastery.Academy -- 127 Defu Lane 10 #02-03, Singapore 539234
    PasarBella @ The Grandstand, #02-K67/K68 200 Turf Club Road, Singapore 287994
    Cool Melbourne-like space at 113 Frankel Avenue, Singapore 458230
    Latest cafe at UE Square, Clemenceau Avenue

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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Interesting, thanks! I'm not too far from UE Square, I'll go check it out.

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