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

It does seem that the wave of Indonesian-originated coffee shops have not quite ended in Singapore as yet; while Tanamera Coffee has and Kenangan Coffee are two brands that are massively expanding their footprint across the island of the late, there has been yet another new brand name from Indonesia that has entered our shores. Fore Coffee is the newest Indonesian-originated coffee shop brand to have come into the local F&B scene here; their very first outpost in Singapore situated at Bugis Junction had pretty opened to much fanfare considering how they were also running a 1-for-1 promotion in the initial days of opening as well. For those whom are looking for more background information about Fore Coffee, the brand itself was established in 2018 and their very first store is one that is located in Jakarta, Indonesia. The brand does seem to be big on its efforts on serving up coffee that is sourced locally in its home country, and trying to bring Singaporeans a cuppa that comes with a touch of Indonesian coffee culture; equally emphasised in their brand would be their efforts in sustainability — one distinct feature would be their feature wall which is decorated using real moss. While the store takes over the former premises of the now-defunct ShareTea Premium outlet at Bugis Junction located outside of the mall, there is a small dine-in area situated both inside and outside of its premises for those whom intend to have their cuppa and pastries on the spot. Coffee is pretty central to what Fore Coffee has to offer, and the beverage menu at Fore Coffee is split into categories such as Signature, Americano series, Non-Coffee, Coffee , Refreshers, Iced Frappe, and Indonesian Coffee of the Day and Tea. For those feeling peckish, one can also pick from the variety of danishes and tarts which they have stocked in the display shelf at the counter — these include items such as the Creamy Chicken Pain Suisse, Ube Mochi Croissant and a Cempedak Crumble Tart, amongst many others.

We have been pretty much into Gula Aren Latte lately with the opening of many of such Indonesian-originated coffee houses that had sprouted up all across the island in recent times; this includes establishments such as Kopiteori within Hotel Clover at North Bridge Road, as well as Kenangan Coffee which had recently opened more outlets including one at Changi Airport Terminal 2 as well as at Ngee Ann City. For those whom are unaware of what Gula Aren is, Gula Aren is essentially Palm Sugar — something that is rather similar to the Gula Melaka which we are more familiar with in our local context. Here, the menu description for the Gula Aren Latte also mentions it to be an item that is of “100% Indonesian coffee taste”. Going for the iced version of the Gula Aren Latte here, one thing that we felt about the Gula Aren Latte did taste a little flat here as compared to other similar offerings that we have had in the local setting — the earthy and nutty notes of the coffee wasn’t particularly strong with the Gula Aren Latte here; what seemed to be more evident here was the sweetness of the Gula Aren, though this was also not quite as deep and earthy as what we would have expected it to be as well. Overall, it is not a bad cuppa, though we did feel that the Gula Aren Latte here is probably better to be treated as a beverage rather than a serious cuppa as what we have tasted from other Indonesian establishments locally that serves up a similar offering. Still, there are quite a number of other interesting offerings that Fore Coffee does offer — think Berry Manuka Americano and the Pandan Oat Latte; both of which being items that we wouldn’t mind trying on another visit. Fore Coffee also does boasts of the most interesting light food options amongst the Indonesian-originated coffee houses for now; something which we are likely to give a try if we are able to snag a dine-in seat to enjoy them on the spot in the near future!

Haven’t really been back to Olivia & Co at Suntec City for a very long while — whilst we did recall being pretty much liking what they have had to offer in the past, it does seem that Olivia & Co in this day and age has pretty much lost the flair that it had much in the days during their initial opening. That being said, a chance discovery of a limited time-only special at Olivia & Co had brought us back here — it seems that the folks at Olivia & Co had recently collaborate with MTBL Global; a company that is the sole distributor and marketer of Moutai Bulao Baijiu globally (excluding mainland China) to offer the Moutai Latte that is available from 23 October 2023 to 23 November 2023. Olivia & Co’s marketing collaterals on social media mentions that this is Singapore’s first Moutai Latte, though it is worth noting that another establishment named Swan Social located at Trengganu Street in Chinatown had launched their Cang Maotai Latte earlier in the month.

The Moutai Latte at Olivia & Co is offered in both hot and cold variants — we asked for a recommendation by the staff on which one of the two would work better, and we were suggested to go for the Hot variant instead. Olivia & Co brews their coffee using beans roasted by Allpress Espresso; we found that the Moutai Latte does come in a slightly larger cup than their usual coffee offerings. When it comes to the coffee itself, the Moutai Latte was nothing much to shout about — the cuppa carried an earthy and nutty flavour profile with a light body; one which also felt a little heavy on milk and a little flat in general. That being said, it does seem to have been done on purpose, especially considering how the marketing collaterals describe the Moutai Latte to be “aromatic, velvety and smooth”; all that so as to ensure that the light, alcoholic finish from the Moutai Bulao Chinese Baijiu could pull off as well. Personally, we didn’t find the Moutai Latte particularly game-changing, though it is interesting to see something similar to the Irish Coffee / Bailey’s Latte being offered with a Chinese variation of alcohol — at $15.80++, probably an item that is worth trying just for curiosity, though we are likely to stick to just having an Irish Coffee / Bailey’s Latte that comes with a dash of sweetness which works better for us.

Alchemist seems to be one of those brands that is pretty much a stronghold in the local F&B scene of the late — having expanded its operations to several notable locations in the year, it does seem like the folks at Alchemist are not showing any signs of stopping just yet. 2023 has marked the opening of their iconic Robinson Road outlet at 71 Robinson, as well as the outlet at The Heeren — both locations being not just one that emphasises on their specialty coffee offerings, but also in terms of the aesthetic factors that went into the consideration and design of the space. With the lobby of Asia Square Tower 1 being revamped, it does seem that it has attracted some new F&B tenants to occupy the space. Alchemist had pretty much joined the likes of KYŌ KOHEE which had also opened recently at Asia Square; Alchemist at Asia Square occupies the shop unit that is tucked right at the back of Asia Square with a dual frontage that faces both One Shenton and upcoming IOI Central Boulevard development. Much like the other locations that Alchemist operates, there is a lot of emphasis placed on the interior decor here — one that sees an earthy maroon colour scheme with metallic elements for a modern touch; there are also attempts to reduce the number of sharp edges around the entire shop space to make the space more soothing to the eyes. Given the attention placed into an outlet with a kiosk-style operation, the Alchemist outlet at Asia Square is probably the most aesthetic takeaway-only location that they run thus far.

Despite its emphasis on the decor and vibes of the entire space even for its outlets at The Heeren, The Mill, Khong Guan Building and 71 Robinson, Alchemist had never detracted away from its beginnings from being a brand name that is deep-rooted within the third-wave coffee movement — the same can be said about their outlet at Asia Square. While they do offer a variety of bakes and danishes that are sourced from The Bakehaus which is a bakery that also has its own retail space at Owen Road (they do supply their pastries across various cafes and even in supermarkets around the island), Alchemist had a pretty clear direction in which they are known for their expertise and craft in specialty coffee. The experience at their Asia Square location can be described as fuss-free; they only offer espresso-based coffees that are brewed using their Dark Matter blend of beans which they have roasted by themselves — patrons would be able to choose between three different types of beans from various origins if one decides to go for the Pourover. We opted for the Iced White considering the sweltering heat these days and we must say that Alchemist’s Iced White is still particularly balanced despite being a cold drink; one that came with a distinct fruity note in its body that transitions into a nutty finish — a cuppa that is pretty bold in its flavour as well. Alchemist had always consistently delivered as is pretty much a name that has earned its reputation within the local coffee scene from the ground up during its simpler days as a coffee kiosk at International Plaza — pretty amazing to see how far they had come after all these years; a brand that always seem to be revolutionising themselves and growing with the local coffee scene whilst solidifying their identity. While their offerings are predictable by now, we are stoked to see what’s next in their pipeline — a spot that is able to consistently deliver in quality, yet carries a different image with every iteration that comes in between.

It is without doubt that the coffee scene in the Central Business District is probably one of the island’s most buzziest when it comes to specialty coffee — the mention of the area would probably bring to mind some notable names such as that of Alchemist and Kyō Kohee which operates multiple outlets within the Central Business District itself. Amoy Street Food Centre hasn’t been out of touch with the local specialty coffee scene either — the opening of the original outlet of Mad Roaster had given the office folks of the Central Business District an option for a more affordable cuppa to go along with their meal at the hawker centre. With the office crowds seemingly returning to the Central Business District in full force, Amoy Street Food Centre has seen yet another establishment that is dedicated to serving up specialty coffee opening within the hawker centre — located at the second floor of the hawker centre is the new Daylight Coffee, which occupies the stall located right beside the outlet of Lin Da Ma(林大妈)at Amoy Street Food Centre. Daylight Coffee primarily serves up specialty coffee — think a variety of lattes, White, Black and espresso as their primary offerings. That being said, Daylight Coffee also serves up Nanyang-style Kopi (i.e. Kopi, Kopi O and Kopi C), as well as Matcha Latte and Thai Milk Tea for those looking for something apart from specialty coffee.

Skimming through the menu, we couldn’t help but to notice their offering of the Spanish Latte — we also liked how they had included rather whimsical description lines for each menu item; the Spanish Latte being described as “First step to learning how to speak Spanish”. The Spanish Latte is a drink that is popularised in the local context only after the entry of %ARABICA into our shores — that being said, the Spanish Latte at Daylight Coffee is priced at nearly half the price (at $4.50) of how it would have cost us if we were to order the same at a %ARABICA location around the island. Sure; the cuppa is indeed smaller at Daylight Coffee than how it would be sized at %ARABICA, though we did find this to be executed just about right to satisfy one’s craving for Spanish Latte overall. One thing for sure about the Spanish Latte at Daylight Coffee is how it does come a touch sweeter than the one that %ARABICA serves up (we suspect that they had added more condensed milk here); that being said, it does come with a nutty and earthy undertone that was well-balanced with the addition of milk — close enough to the real deal if one isn’t too fussy about it. Looking forward to having an opportunity to return to Daylight Coffee soon to give their Kopi a go — they seem to be pulling shots for their Nanyang-style Kopi just like how other stalls such as Kopi More (at Golden Mile Food Centre), Generation Coffee (at Tekka, Pasar 216 and Hong Lim Food Centre), Lim Cafe (at Chinatown Complex) and Star Coffee (at Bukit Merah Food Centre) do for their modern variant of Nanyang-style Kopi — definitely something worth checking out!

For those whom have been passing through Raffles City Shopping Mall often enough, one would probably have noticed the hoardings of Kenangan Coffee for a while — a brand that has its roots from Indonesia, Kenangan Coffee is also known as Kopi Kenangan from where it had originated from. The brand had since expanded its operations into Malaysia some time back, with aspirations to extend its reach to the rest of Asia based on what is being mentioned on their corporate website — while the Raffles City Shopping Centre outlet had just opened its doors, there is also another outlet they is currently in the works based on their Instagram bio; the second our post in Singapore is slated to open at Changi Airport Terminal 2. Its Raffles City Shopping Centre space is located in the basement of the mall, occupying the area that used to be occupied by a number of small kiosks around where Omoté Raffles City and the outlet of XW Western Grill there. Whilst conceptually being more of at takeaway kiosk considering how Kenangan Coffee serves up their coffee in disposable ware, the outlet of Kenangan Coffee actually comes with a sizeable dine-in space that comprises of small tables with stools or cushioned seating. While the space adopts a largely monochromatic interior featuring black and white elements, there are splashes of pink around that provides a contrast of colours for a visual appeal. Kenangan Coffee is big on their specialty coffee offerings — the menu comprising of sections dedicated to Coffee, Non-coffee and Ice-blended drinks for the beverages that they have to offer. For those feeling a little peckish, there is a good variety of supplied cakes and savoury bakes that would cater to their craving for something light to go alongside their coffee.

Being a specialty coffee joint originating from Indonesia, Kenangan Coffee seems to place a heavy emphasis on the use of Gula Aren in their coffee offerings. For the uninitiated, Kenangan Coffee describes Gula Aren to be “a premium palm sugar derived from the sap of the Arenga Pinnata palm in Java” — one can liken it to that of the Gula Melaka that we are all familiar with in local context. Whilst Gula Melaka Layer Kopi is an item that is not too much of a rare find in local context, there are not too many places that would serve up Gula Aren with specialty coffee. Considering so, it was without doubt that the time which we had deducted to go for at Kenangan Coffee would be their Kenangan Latte — we opted for the iced version considering how we visited them after having a run. Kenangan Coffee describes its Kenangan Latte to come with elements such as espresso, milk and Gula Aren; think of it as a Gula Aren Latte. This isn’t our first exposure to a Brown Sugar-infused Latte; we did recall one which we were really impressed with in recent times during our trip to Bali, Indonesia from Makite Coffee House. In retrospect, the Kenangan Latte (Iced) was less rich; but perhaps more well-tuned to local tastebuds here considering how it focuses on the earthy notes of the Gula Aren with a slight hint of sweetness in its finish. The latte itself was pretty well-balanced despite the addition of palm sugar; a cuppa with evident nutty notes without being too milky and with a medium body. Overall, a considerably good cuppa especially given how it is from a commercial brand name; looking forward to giving their Avocado Coffee a go sometime soon!

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One of the openings that has been mentioned quite a fair bit in the week is Fluid Collective. Located at 24 Opal Crescent, Fluid Collective is situated in the area between Potong Pasir and Whampoa West — other notable F&B establishments that are in its immediate locality includes the likes of Penguin’s Kitchen, which also houses what was formerly known as Thai Jing Jing that once operated at Berseh Food Centre and Hougang Central. Being a cafe that has an emphasis on specialty coffee, Fluid Collective is decked in a way that bears a rather clean, minimalistic and yet raw appearance that some may call contemporary or industrial depending on how one perceives it to be. The interior can also be described as spacious; there are some camping chairs and stools placed all around for dine-in patrons to enjoy their cuppa on-site — a pair of camping chairs with a wooden table can also be found outside of the shop space right beside the entrance for those who prefer to take up outside seating instead. With a heavy emphasis on specialty coffee, Fluid Collective does not serve any food items — this includes hot food, as well as that of pastries and bakes. The only items on the menu at Fluid Collective would be the selection of specialty coffee; patrons can opt for espresso-based specialty coffee, or go for a filter brew — Fluid Collective does offer more than one type of coffee bean so patrons do get a choice on going for the coffee beans which the flavour profile best suits them. Apart from specialty coffee, one can also find drinking chocolate on the menu of Fluid Collective as well.

The Flat White has always been an item which we will go for whenever we are giving a new spot that specialises in specialty coffee a try, and it is needless to say that the White is exactly what we had went for during our visit to Fluid Collective during a weekend afternoon. During our visit to Fluid Collective, they were serving up their espresso-based coffee using beans of an Ethiopian origin. It is noted that Fluid Collective does serve up all coffee orders in disposable cups; this would also include all orders for dine-in, where the orders would be served up without lids instead. Taking a sip into the White, this was one cuppa which we found to be well-pulled; the cuppa was undeniably creamy and smooth without having been too milky — very well-balanced. The White carried an earthy flavour profile with a nutty finish; also one that came with a lighter body that is comforting as both a mid-day cuppa as well as one to start the day with. In retrospect, the Filter Coffee at Fluid Collective is brewed using beans of a Guatemalan origin; the flavours of the Filter Coffee is one that is definitely more pronounced in terms of the fruity flavours that it carries — also one that comes with a heavier body as opposed to the White that we have had. Fluid Coffee prices their coffee at a price point that can be said as pretty on par with similar establishments around — the Black starts from $5, while the priciest would be the Filter at $8. Fluid Collective is that sort of spot that is opened by coffee lovers, for coffee lovers; they do seemingly know quite a fair bit about the coffee here, and there is passion felt in their craft. For those looking for a spot that serves up some serious coffee, Fluid Coffee is a spot to add to the list of places to visit!

Came across this AE Coffee some time back whilst walking around International Plaza looking for something to have during lunch — didn’t realise that they had since opened their doors until seeing some posts on AE Coffee going around social media. A new addition to International Plaza, AE Coffee occupies a shop space within the ground level of the shopping galleria; the stall taking over the former premises of the now-defunct outlet of Salad Co. Sg there. Given the size of the shop unit, AE Coffee operates as a takeaway kiosk targetted at office workers within the Central Business District to make a quick coffee run rather than being a sit-down cafe; there are no dine-in seating that is located within the shop space. That being said, AE Coffee does have a vibe that stands out from the other F&B establishments located within International Plaza — one that is seemingly more contemporary within the use of black and white, as well as metallic elements for a clean, minimalistic and sleek look. AE Coffee has a focus on espresso-based specialty coffee; expect the usual offerings that one can find at cafes that are part of the third-wave coffee movement here such as the White and Black — non-coffee drinkers can also find drinking chocolate here. It is noted that AE Coffee uses beans roasted by Axil Coffee Roasters to brew their cuppa — Axil Coffee Roasters being a coffee roastery based in Melbourne, Australia, with the bags of beans proudly displayed on the display rack at the side of the shop.

Skimming through the menu for the various types of espresso-based specialty coffee that they are offering, it was obvious that the Melbourne Magic was the one that stood out to us the most. The Melbourne Magic is pretty much the same as what some other establishments would call the Magic — for those whom are not familiar with the Magic, the Magic is essentially an espresso-based specialty coffee beverage that features equal parts of espresso and milk. The Melbourne Magic at AE Coffee is being pulled from the beans roasted by Axil Coffee Roasters, and is one that we found to be pretty well-pulled and executed. For one, the cuppa was smooth and creamy — there was also a good balance of milk and espresso, with the cuppa coming with a fruity flavour profile and an earthy finish with a medium body; quite a punchy cuppa that is suitable to start the day with. The cuppas at AE Coffee can be described as reasonably priced — the Hot Black starts at $4.50 here, whilst the most expensive options such as the Iced White, Iced Chocolate and Iced Coconut Latte are priced at $6.50. AE Coffee also serves up cuppas where one can opt for Oat Milk, Soy Milk, as well as an additional shot of espresso or the addition of chocolate for just $1 per extra option. Overall, AE Coffee is a pretty worthy contender to the already saturated coffee scene in the Central Business District; while there may be a lot of options when it comes to espresso-based specialty coffee in the area, it does seem that there is still space for AE Coffee considering how well-pulled and well-priced their cuppas are.

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Wasn’t really intending to drop a post about this but thought it was just a “might as well” situation considering how we have taken wayyyy too many photos whilst being in the queue; just might as well put them to good use. TWG Tea is a brand that most locals should be fairly familiar with; established in 2007, the brand is probably best recognised as an upscale tea salon these days with outlets being found in malls such as ION Orchard, Ngee Ann City’s Takashimaya, and Marina Bay Sands — just to name a few. There has been two outlets of TWG Tea in Takashimaya at Ngee Ann City for quite a while; one being situated in the upper floors that is a dine-in concept with hot food, while there is another within the basement food hall that was dedicated to the retail of their tea products and other merchandise. TWG Tea’s basement outlet has since moved into another unit within the same level; now occupying the lot directly beside Donq Bakery, TWG Tea is also neighbours with Bacha Coffee — also operates by the same group as well.

Most folks should be pretty aware of what TWG Tea serves up these days, but the revamped space in Takashimaya’s basement does done with a slight difference — this outlet is the very first TWG Tea outlet that actually serves takeaway tea. The list of tea available for takeaway here is definitely less extensive than what one would find in their dine-in locations; that being said, there is still a wide selection to go for — think a good range of their teas from all over the world, as well as other teas from their Grand Classic Teas, Classic Teas for the Morning / Daytime / Evening, Solo Teas, Exclusive Tea Blends and Theine-free Tea Blends selection; all of which priced at a flat rate of $8 per cup irregardless of the tea opted. Patrons also do have a choice of doing a bundle with the macarons (six pieces) or the chocolates (six pieces) at $20 and $22 respectively. Takeaway cups are also beautifully packaged in a yellow cardboard holder; the takeaway cups being in a shiny gold colour whilst also accompanied with a packed glass straw (the same ones used for dine-in for their iced beverages), as well as a stick of sugar that can be stirred into the tea if one requires so.

Not sure if it might be the case but it does seem a lot like Bacha Coffee’s success in operating the takeaway outlet at Marina Bay Sands might be the catalyst for the group to replicate the same for TWG Tea and Bacha Coffee at the basement of Takashimaya. Nonetheless, it does seem that there is no diminishing interest from the general public on their tea even though it is exclusively available for takeaway here — there is still pretty much a beeline formed for their takeaway teas; those who intend to drop by should factor some waiting time to queue and for their orders to be prepared. With the opening of the new outlet at the basement of Takashimaya which sees TWG Tea starting to accommodate to the takeaway crowd, it would be interesting to see if this would also be the start of more of such TWG Tea outlets to come in the near future.

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Aroma Coffee should not be a brand that is totally unfamiliar for those following closely to the F&B scene in Singapore for a while. A concept by the same folks behind Aroma Truffle which is best known for their truffle potato chips that are retailed in local supermarkets, Aroma Coffee had first started out in 2021 being as a takeaway coffee kiosk at Northpoint City in Yishun. Aroma Coffee had since expanded its operations — opening their second outlet within the Central Business District, they are now also located on the ground level of Frasers Tower situated just a short walk away from Tanjong Pagar MRT Station; also just right opposite Amoy Street Food Centre. Unlike their very first outlet at Northpoint City however, Aroma Coffee’s second outlet now features a small seating area that works for both patrons waiting for their orders, as well as a dine-in area for those who may wish to have their beverages within the premises. Just like their previous outlet, Aroma Coffee only serves up beverages; there are no hot food or light bites being served here. The list of beverages available at Aroma Coffee are classified into two categories; Coffee and Non-Coffee beverages. Items included in the “Coffee” section of the menu would be the Spreezes; their signature offering that is sort of a Yuan Yang-esque beverage where tea meets coffee. Examples of some of the items listed on the “Non-Coffee” section included the Uji Matcha Latte, Valrhona Dark Chocolate and Australian Chai Latte. All beverages listed on the menu are available as either hot or cold beverages.

Going for the usual cuppa just to find out how well they do their coffee, we went with the White (Hot). We visited Aroma Coffee’s location at Frasers Tower during their very first week of operations — there was only one type of beans that they were serving up with their coffee on the day of our visit. Using beans of a single-origin from Brazil which they have roasted by themselves, the White (Hot) that featured the Oso Pardo beans carried a medium body — it’s somewhat bold flavour works well as a mid-day perk-me-up, whilst carrying an earthy note that was easy to drink; pretty well-balanced especially as a White with the inclusion of milk.

Had never tried Aroma Coffee at Northpoint City previously. That being said, the opening of Aroma Coffee at Frasers Tower does add to the ever-growing list of takeaway coffee establishments in the Central Business District. Prices of the specialty coffee served at Aroma Coffee at Frasers Tower is pretty on par with most other cafes — the Black (Hot) being priced at $4, while the White (Hot) is priced at $5; rather fairly-priced against the competition. That being said, what makes Aroma Coffee stand out from other establishments would probably be their Spreezes; a line-up that seems to be unique to their own. Yet another choice for the office folks in the Central Business District to grab a quick cuppa.

Had seen quite a bit of Waga Waga Den at South Beach Tower during the past week when they were still in their soft opening phase. Waga Waga Den takes over the former premises of Dimbluah Coffee at South Beach Tower, and is the latest concept by the same folks behind Black Cow (also at South Beach Tower) and Shatoburian (at Palais Renaissance, serving Yakiniku). Whilst their other concepts are more restaurants that has an emphasis on beef, Waga Waga Den is primarily a specialty coffee joint. Currently still serving a limited menu, the menu is limited to mostly beverage offerings focusing on specialty coffee; non-specialty coffee options include the Matcha Latte and Iced Houjicha Lychee. For those who are feeling a little peckish, Waga Waga Den serves up Warabi Mochi (sadly unavailable during our visit) — they will also be introducing more food items progressively as time goes along.

Listed as an item under the “Nowhere Else” section of the menu, the Le Cloud is their rendition of an iced latte that is unique to Waga Waga Den. Without the lid attached to the takeaway cup, the Le Cloud does bear a visual resemblance to Omotesando Koffee’s Iced Cappucino that features a bubble cap with cocoa powder sprinkled over the top (side note: Omotesando Koffee had also temporarily ceased operations at OUE Downtown some time back). Overall; a pretty good cuppa here — there seems to be this thickened layer of coffee that sits atop the iced latte — almost akin to that of a macchiato foam that somewhat makes the Le Cloud different from Omotesando Koffee’s Iced Cappuccino. That being said, the foam does not carry any notes of sweetness as one would have expected from the same from bubble tea specialty stores. Instead, the foam layer seems to be further enhance the punchy notes of the Iced Latte beneath — one that carried a mostly earthy flavour profile with a medium body that works as a morning perk-me-up.

Was pretty much a shame that we did not get to try any of their food offerings given how the Warabi Mochi was unavailable during our visit, but we do look forward to seeing what else they have to offer more food items when they introduce them progressively in the future. With prices that are rather reasonable for takeaway coffee (though slightly more pricey for the Le Cloud and the non-coffee options), Waga Waga Den is likely the go-to spot for specialty coffee for office workers around the Esplanade / Promenade neighbourhood.

Was informed by a friend about Venture Drive Coffee’s newest outlet at Alexandra Village, and decided to check it out. Occupying a space that is half of the usual size of a HDB shop unit, Venture Drive Coffee’s latest outlet is definitely smaller than their space at their former location at Vision Exchange. Their current space at Blk 123 Bukit Merah Lane 1 also puts them diagonally opposite Rookie’s Coffee Shop at Blk 124 Bukit Merah Lane 1; the latter of which also serves specialty coffee with a limited selection of bakes. Whilst Venture Drive Coffee is now decked in a largely black colour scheme with a industrial-themed decor, the space does feel a little haphazard with most of the dine-in seats located outside the shop — the interior is largely dedicated to the retail section where one will be able to grab their roasted coffee beans to-go, as well as the espresso counter and a coffee roaster.

Serving simply just beverages at their new space at Bukit Merah, the menu comprises of espresso-based coffee and hand brews featuring beans from various origins. For those who are not into coffee, one can also opt between the beverages listed in the Single Origin Chocolate sections of the menu, as well as the Ceremonial Matcha Latte and Tea by the Pot as listed in the Specialty Tea section of the menu as well. Going for the Flat White — 8 Oz, it is noted that the cuppa pulled was done with a single shot of espresso; we heard that they did so as there were other patrons which had provided them with feedback that the roast is actually fairly strong if done as a double shot. Featuring a blend of beans from Costa Rica, Colombia and Ethiopia, the Opus 27 Moonlight Sonata Seasonal Blend is said to carry notes of chocolate, hazelnut and moonlight flower as stated in the menu — this explains how the cuppa turned out to be one with a light body, whilst having a earthy flavour profile. The overall cuppa lies towards the milkier end, but this was well-pulled considering how smooth and creamy it was.

Having been established far later than most other cafes that are part of the third-wave coffee movement, Venture Drive Coffee may not be a name that is as recognisable as some of the industry veterans but this
really puts Venture Drive Coffee as one of the underdogs in the cafe scene here. That being said, we were really into how they seem to carry a slightly different vibe to the cafe scene with its somewhat rowdy outlook yet with a clean and minimalistic approach while at it - all that whilst being knowledgeable in the craft; something which they have carried since their days at Vision Exchange. Whilst Venture Drive Coffee may no longer be situated at Vision Exchange (the building being located at Venture Drive, hence the namesake), their name would probably still live on as an establishment that takes prides in serving up their very own locally-roasted specialty coffee.

Visited the new KYŌ Kohee situated at 144 Robinson Road within the Central Business District of Singapore within somewhat of a walking distance from Tanjong Pagar MRT Station. The Japanese-inspired takeaway coffee bar is situated just a couple of doors away from the recently re-located The Betterfield that is also at Robinson Road. Being a coffee bar with a Japanese influence, the interior can be said to be kept as simple as possible, with a dash of wooden accents around to maintain an aesthetic that makes the interior feel warm and close to nature. The menu features mainly beverages here due to the concept that KYŌ Kohee is intended to be — patrons can opt between specialty coffee, non-coffee beverages such as Chocolate Milk or a Cold Brew Royal Milk Tea, as well as a selection of Japanese brewed tea (think Sencha) and Matcha offerings as well. For those who are looking for a small bite or something sweet, they do also offer Affogato and Croffles as well.

The Iced KYŌ Coffee is undoubtedly their signature offering here; also the only item here they bears the namesake of the shop itself. Using beans that are roasted by Allpress Espresso, the Iced KYŌ Coffee can be said as an item that seemingly resembles that of a coffee “milkshake” that is made undoubtedly by folks who seem to know quite a fair bit about coffee — nothing like the sickening sweet concoctions that commercial outfits love to serve up, but one that really puts the effort in showcasing the flavour profiles of the coffee used here. Saw them preparing our order and was pretty intrigued by how they had used a frother for the shot of espresso before pouring the espresso into the cup of chilled milk — the process seemingly helps to aerate the espresso to give someone of a texture that is still liquid, yet also resembles somewhat of a micro-foam; provides a thick texture that once stirred into the chilled milk, gives the beverage a distinct nutty and earthy flavour profile with the milk providing a further depth of the said flavours of the coffee. A very interesting condition, and also one that we actually really quite enjoyed.

Whilst being a coffee bar, we were impressed with how the folks behind the counter are actually as knowledgeable in teas as well and does do their Senchas pretty well too — was recommended to have the iced version of their Sencha Yabukita and we were also pretty taken by how the tea seemed to exude a light, but evident hint of the tea that was easy on the taste buds; a very light and refreshing drink that seem to open up the appetite as well without being particularly sharp (or as I would call, a rude awakening). With the lifting of more of the restrictions that were previously in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, the opening of KYŌ Kohee is pretty timely for the office folks returning back to their workplace — a new spot to check out to grab that daily cuppa!

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