Coffee, Tea or Me?

Coffee, Tea or Me?

The list that contains the undeniable love of coffee, tea and other beverages.
Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

Had been taking away bottled coffee to enjoy over the weekends during this Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period — perhaps more of an attempt to bring the cafe experience back home considering how we aren’t able to dine-in as yet and there isn’t any cafes offering things like that near me; decided to go to the ones nearer to the workplace since a visit to office has to be made.

Had brought back Curious Palette’s (which mum loves, and is one of my go-to in the immediate area) and The Assembly Ground’s renditions, but the ones from Gather are slightly different because they aren’t cold brews but bottled mochas instead. Came across these on social media but I was especially impressed by the Wicked — the bottled mocha here comes brewed using the same beans roasted by Genovese Coffee as the ones used in their usual specialty coffee, but the Wicked stands out because of how it is sufficiently creamy and chocolatey — that magic ratio of milk, coffee and chocolate that works (since most places don’t do a nice mocha; too chocolate-y, if not too milky). Spiked with mint, the Wicked tasted like as though Christmas really came early with its refreshing and cooling finish that comes after the caffeine and chocolate-y notes — very festive, and a mood booster to all the things that have been happening around.

In retrospect, the Generra would be more for the acquired taste buds. It used the same base as that of the Wicked, but the Generra is an orange-infused version that comes with a slight hint of citrusy and gingery that make work well with some. It is a different kind of “refreshing” when compared against the Wicked — something that is slightly more zingy and zippy which takes away the richness of the chocolate pretty aptly.

While Gather’s bottled coffee selection isn’t quite the usual cold brew that other specialty coffee joints offer, I like how they have seemed to be a little more adventurous on their take on bottled coffee — experimenting on bottled coffee with interesting infusions that may have been tested and proven by others before, but still presents itself as a refreshing change from the usual — probably planning for a revisit when dine-in resume!

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It seems that canned cold brews are probably the next big thing in the specialty coffee scene in Singapore — with the launch of the canned specialty coffee from Alchemist, Stamping Ground Coffee has also launched their canned cold brew (only available in black at the point of writing) — the item being available at Stamping Ground Coffee, being retailed in their physical shop space at Upper East Coast Road.

If one is to wonder if there are any differences between canned cold brews and bottled cold brews — it all lies with the packaging. But that being said, the Balanced Black Cold Brew is actually pretty satisfying here — it delivers what it promises; a rather balanced concoction where the black cold brew comes with a fruity body and an earthy finish; all that whilst being clean with no lingering aftertaste, despite being a rather punchy cold brew.

Always interesting to see how specialty cafes that are part of the third-wave coffee movement being innovative with their coffee and related products, bringing consumers a new experience with convenience in mind. Would not be surprised if an established coffeehouse will mass produce their canned coffees and make them available for retailed in major supermarkets; that will be an interesting time in the local coffee scene if it happens ...

Checked out the new Fahrenheit Coffee within the premises of SPA CLUB over the weekend for breakfast, which operates just right at the entrance of the spa and taking the space of the reception area. Tried the following items during my visit here:

1) Cardamom Bun;
2) Seasonal Canele (Kaya); and
3) White (Regular)

Thought that the Cardamom Bun probably was the item that left the strongest impression of the lot. Rarely seen in as an ingredient used in western bread, cardamom is more commonly an ingredient used for Indian cooking. Almost akin to a cinnamon bun with swirls of cardamom within the bun itself, I liked how the Cardamom Bun somewhat replicates the flavours of a regular cinnamon bun, but the cardamom brings the notes of spices further considering how its a spice almost akin to cinnamon, but with a stronger punch — a pretty refreshing change, and one that actually helps to emphasise on the spice rather than the usual sweetness associated with cinnamon buns. Also liked how they warm up the buns by default upon order; nothing beats a warm, slightly crusty bun to be had with a cuppa in the morning — something I utterly enjoyed.

Having tried more than a few Caneles over the span of two weeks, I was pretty surprised that Fahrenheit Coffee actually stocks up six different flavours of Canele, including a Houjicha version that is on the regular menu. The Kaya Canele which I opted for is a seasonal flavour — does come with a dollop of Kaya over the top but otherwise almost akin to a usual Canele (not that I am complaining though); I liked how their Canele came well-crusted on the exterior — carried a distinct but mellow bitterness while the interior comes soft and almost kueh-like being chewy but not overly sweet. The dollop of Kaya does help to make the Canele feel like it has a touch of Southeast Asian influence given the kueh-like textures and hint of coconut and pandan fragrance that it attempts to provide, while the Canele felt almost similar in texture and flavour to the ones I loved from now-defunct Le Canele d’Or at Concourse Skyline several years back.

The White (Regular) is a decent accompaniment to the other items I have had — it’s decently pulled using beans roasted by The Community Coffee, and comes with a medium body and a rather roasty and earthy flavour profile; not the best around, but it does work more than just well for a cuppa for convenience.

It seems that the trend for cafes of the late had turned from being full service brunch destinations, to more casual hangout spots with light bites meant to serve those feeling peckish — and Fahrenheit Coffee seems to have gotten that right. Being situated a little further from the multiple cafes at Kampong Glam and the Dhoby Ghaut/Bras Basah area, Fahrenheit Coffee is a spot that cafe-hoppers should check out — also a spot fit for an idyllic hangout at a lesser trekked part of the city.

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Made the trip in the morning to Tanjong Pagar over the weekend for Equate Coffee; a new space that had opened at the second level of Tanjong Pagar Plaza that serves up bakes and specialty coffee. Really liked how the space is decked out almost like a cave; behind the glass doors is a cement arch that replicates that of a cave opening, while the dine-in and counter space is set within that area — a clean, minimalist space that features geometry in its design language. Went for the following items here:

1) Canele;
2) Mount Ondeh; and
3) Kopi

Having had Le Matin Patisserie’s Canele just a week prior, the one at Equate Coffee isn’t quite as stellar but it’s probably my go-to item to pair with any coffee order when I were to be back — the pastry is lightly crusted on the exterior, but the pastry is largely chewy with its soft interior almost akin to that of Kueh Ambon; almost honeycomb-like in texture and not overly sweet.

The Mount Ondeh will be the crowd pleaser; a somewhat cone-shaped cake with a flat, rounded top which comes with a layer of cream cheese over the top. Drenched with Gula Melaka, the cake is soft and fluffy, whilst encasing a filled cream cheese core within to give the cake an added moisture and richness; adequately sweet, slightly tangy and with a slight hint of Pandan.

There has been a number of specialty coffee places that are serving up local-style Nanyang Kopi of the late — Equate Coffee is also one of the spaces that brew their Kopi from the espresso machine. The version here comes with less character than my favourite these days from Generation Coffee at Tekka Centre, but the variant at Equate Coffee is one that is more familiar and close to the heart still with evident hints of the bold roasty and nutty notes of Robusta beans typically used for Nanyang Kopi, whilst well-balanced with milk without being overly sweetened by condensed milk.

Given its relatively central location and its decor, it is no doubt that Equate Coffee will be a convenient takeaway coffee spot for residents and office workers alike, whilst also being a destination to check out for cafe-hoppers over the weekend — it has already garnered quite a healthy crowd during our visit on a Saturday morning before lunch hours. A spot to keep an eye out for in time to come!


Bottled cold brew coffees has been all the rage recently; having been first offered at cafes serving up specialty coffee, the trend has since spread to online businesses which do not have a physical presence. So, imagine the surprise I have got when I had chances upon images of this Gao Kor Kopi from Soon Seng Hot & Cold Beverages at Eunos Crescent Food Centre sold in a bottle with their own branding — certainly something that piqued my interest to try it out.

While it’s named Gao Kor Kopi, the name of the beverage does not actually bear any meaning to the item price-wise; the bottle is retailed at $1.80/bottle here — a price which we found to be more than reasonable given the establishment that it is. Essentially similar to Kopi Beng (local iced coffee), it starts off being all familiar — that roasty and punchy Nanyang Kopi that is brewed using Robusta beans from the traditional method, with a corresponding sweetness from the condensed milk, but it finishes with a really strong caffeinated kick at the end with a higher intensity of flavours than it first started out; something that would really hit those who love their strong coffee that packs a punch.

Having seen hawkerpreneurs like Kopi More, Generation Coffee and Mad Roasters shake up the local coffee scene in the hawker centre setting, Soon Seng Hot & Cold Beverages does seem to offer a new perspective on how traditional Nanyang Kopi stalls can innovate to keep up with the times. Whilst it might seem gimmicky on first impression, I must say that I am actually fairly impressed having tried it myself — something which I actually am more than willing to have again!


Checked out the new Balance Coffee at VIIO @ Balestier; a new cafe by the same folks behind Geisha Specialty Coffee which is situated at Burlington Square which serves up only beverages ranging from specialty coffee pulled from the espresso machine, to drip coffees and tea.

Was rather bummed that they weren’t serving their local coffee menu which features Kopi O and Kopi White when we visited Balance Coffee during their soft launch — would be interesting to see how their Nanyang-style Kopi is being done considering the various establishments such as Kopi More (Golden Mile Food Centre), Lim’s Kopi (Chinatown Complex Market), Generation Coffee (Tekka Market) and Keong Saik Bakery does their rendition of Nanyang coffee through the espresso machine. That being said, we found the Flat White to be a tad uninspiring as compared to the rave reviews from most — not just simply for the fact that it lacked latte art, but its a rather milky and acidic cuppa that wouldn’t fare quite as bad if they were an ice-cream parlour, but this is a spot with a focus on specialty coffee; the cuppa at Round Boy Roasters still maintains as the most complex and well-pulled Flat White I have had.

If anything, the Hongkong Yuenyuang is the item that deserves more mention that sees lesser talk on social media — Balance Coffee insists on brewing their milk tea with FrieslandCampina’s Black & White Full Cream Evaporated Milk; the very same evaporated milk that most tea rooms uses for their milk teas in Hong Kong. This results in the HongKong Yuenyuang carrying a light hint of tea aroma with hint of milkiness being the starting note of the beverage, while it finishes with a stronger punch of coffee that is brewed using the same beans used in their specialty coffee; all that whilst being silky smooth. Perhaps the beverage to go for here rather than the Flat White.

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Taking over half of the former spot of now-defunct MM2 Entertainment at School of The Arts along the perimeter of the school compound flanked by Selegie Road, Void Cafe is located within the new Etch&Bolts furniture store that serves up specialty coffee alongside hot tea, smoothies and ice-blended drinks — all in a comfortable environment which features plush couches and modern chic furnishings that carries terrazzo and marble elements, with wooden fittings for a soothing look.

The Cold Brew (White) isn’t something quite up to my taste buds which had been spoilt by the sweetened and creamy concoctions from Brawn & Brains, Curious Palette, Atlas Coffeehouse and Old Hen Coffee Bar etc. that I am used to — it belongs to the category of unsweetened cold brew that comes with a rather acidic body and features 100% Arabica beans, though the bottle containing it does come slightly more unique with its arched “shoulders” and with the text imprinted rather than simply pasted on with a sticker of a transparent base — some attention to detail right there that bottle hoarders like me will notice (oops! 🤭)


Had been following the social media accounts of Alchemist for quite a while and found out about their latest digs at The Mill — an industrial building hidden within Jalan Kilang just slightly off Jalan Bukit Merah opposite ABC Brickworks Food Centre with a distinct gothic style that is designed by the same folks behind Parkview Square; the “Gotham City” building in Bugis.

Thought the Khong Guan Industrial Building outlet took the cake for me but their latest outpost at The Mill is another level of “wow” — tucked away at the second level of the building, the dark theme strays away from that of other earlier Alchemist stores which generally adopts a white, industrial style. The black walls, grand chandeliers, and brown leather sofas matched well with the general architecture of the building inside-out — especially liked the window seats which gives a sense of privacy and intimacy, being partitioned off from both sides. Gave their canned cold brews a try — something which I have had wanted to try for quite a while; between the two, “A Typical Mocha” would probably go well with the chocolate lovers with its more predictable, smooth and creamy, chocolatey notes that felt somewhat more of a chocolate beverage than a coffee-based drink, while the Fruitti Pebbles was an interesting white coffee with floral and fruity notes that was surprisingly profound.

Must say I am awed by how Alchemist has come this far — whilst starting off as a takeaway kiosk at International Plaza, Alchemist has become more than just a spot for coffee with each new outlet seemingly carrying a unique theme; even more of a design marvel of its own. Congratulations to the folks behind Alchemist on their latest opening; can’t wait to see what else they have up on their sleeve next!

Visiting The Bread Rack while they are still in their soft opening stage, The Bread Rack is a new bakery which has recently opened their doors at [email protected] — the building along Yio Chu Kang Road also houses an outlet of the Soi19 Thai Wanton Mee, and is also situated opposite Urban Table at ICB Shopping Centre which is just across the road.

Being in soft launch mode, The Bread Rack was serving a limited menu with four types of different loaves and four different danishes available — found myself going for the Almond Croissant which was flaky and buttery with distinct layers in between from the lamination process of making the pastry. The frangipane was also nutty and not too moist; also adequately sweet without being too dominant in flavour and definitely allowed the buttery notes of the croissant to pull through — a pretty good rendition of the almond croissant overall that I actually would see myself having again. The White is also well-pulled here; the cuppa being smooth and creamy with an earthy flavour profile and a medium body — works both as a comforting mid-day cuppa and a morning perk-me-up. The accompanying chocolate chip cookies were also pretty delicious — not too dense and crunchy, yet coming with a melty chocolate chip in the middle for flavour.

It may be early days for The Bread Rack, but I do see some potential in the items that they serve that they will be pretty much a favourite for those residing in the area especially — simple, well-executed danishes tucked away from the buzzy neighbourhood centre alongside well-pulled coffee with loaves to takeaway and enjoy in the comfort of your home. What more can I ask for?

Pretty stoked that there is a new spot for specialty coffee around Ang Mo Kio Central — a rather accessible spot for most given how most other cafes within Ang Mo Kio are well hidden within the neighbourhoods (i.e. AMPM Cafe, The Workbench Bistro etc.). Being a hole-in-the-wall cafe, Brew & Co seems to be a spot catered more towards the takeaway crowds with just a single bench seat in the store itself, and another bench and a two-seater table situated outside. Brew & Co mainly specialises in specialty coffee, so expect the usuals such as Espresso, White, Black & Mocha, as well as specials such as the Dirty Matcha and Orange Espresso alongside other beverages such as tea and chocolate. Pastries available includes croissants, scones, and bagels — just to name a few.

The Raisin Scone comes across as a pretty decent light bite for breakfast, especially after being heated up before being passed to the patron — the scone comes crusty on the outside with plenty of nibs of raisins to chew on; the scone also being sufficiently soft and not particularly dry, served with a pack of Smucker’s Strawberry Sauce that helps to give the scone a bit more moisture and a slight tang. The Orange Espresso is everything that I would have expected — the version here comes with punchy espresso with an earthy body, yet the infusion of orange here gives it a brighter flavour that also gives it a clean finish.

Given the way that Brew & Co is set up, it does work well as a convenient spot for residents around the area to pick up their cuppa before heading to the bus interchange or MRT station to make their commute. Otherwise, it’s a spot that works fine for a leisurely cuppa in the morning especially with the outside seating, which is well-sheltered being within the HDB block itself. With quality cuppa and comforting light bites, Brew & Co is a spot that Ang Mo Kio residents will be glad to have in their neighbourhood, and also somewhere cafe-goers who are into coffee should certainly visit.


Located at 22 Havelock Road, Shuttl.96 is a new takeaway specialty coffee store which is located at the same HDB block where now-defunct establishments such as The Tastemaker Store and Dessert Project were formerly located — being more of a takeaway kiosk with limited standing areas for dine-in, Shuttl.96 does serve up the usual beverages that one will find in a cafe serving up specialty coffee; expect options such as Long Black, Latte, Flat White etc., alongside specialty beverages which include their Shuttl.96 Special Cold Brew, Rose Milk Tea and Lemongrass Mint amidst other options. Food options are limited to Croissant, Sausage Bun, Chocolate Bun and Gelato here.

Using a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, the Shuttl.96 Special Cold Brew here carries a more robust body than most other cold brews served at other establishments — stronger and punchier with its chocolatey and caramel-y flavour profile whilst being just aptly sweetened. Whilst I didn’t try the Rose Milk Tea in the background, a friend commented that it lacks a floral note, though does work well as a milk tea option.

Given the setup, Shuttl.96 does give the residents around the area an interesting choice for takeaway specialty coffee; liked how the Chocolate Bun is retailed in a bag here — reminds us of bread from local bakeries that is sold in a bundle that seemingly works well with the demographics here. While those who prefer dine-in may probably find other options such as Starter Lab and Pullman Bakery a more suitable spot to visit, Shuttl.96 does seem to resonate better for those who are looking for something on the go or to have at home.

Checked out the new Main Street Commissary at Rowell Road — a new cafe which serves up specialty coffee and simple sandwiches, pastries and cakes to go alongside.

The space is decked out pretty simply but with style — minimalist with the use of white walls, concrete flooring and wooden furniture and wooden accents for its wall panelling; especially like how they have a small “porch” area that seems to work as a standing bar as well; a pretty warm and welcoming sight as one approaches the cafe before opening the door. While the pastries and cakes are pretty typical, the Flat White was pretty well-pulled — a smooth, creamy cuppa with a medium body with a fruity flavour profile and a clean finish.

Given how the cafe is in the proximity of other establishments such as Sum Dim Sum, Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant and Jalan Berseh Food Centre, Main Street Commissary is a great spot for a leisurely cuppa after a meal at the various other establishments around it, all in a serene space that one could just immerse themselves in with a book, or just simply work from.


Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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