Written by: Raja Nadhirah Raja Hasnan
Our grandparents and parents can’t live without their kopi ‘O’ kaw. In the ‘90s, all teenagers ever wanted was to have unlimited coffee refills at a hangout like Central Perk from popular series “Friends”. Or Starbucks.
Today, the new and trendy coffee culture that has taken the world by storm is known as the Third Wave. Yes, we kinda agree it sounds like some sci-fi movie title or a surfer’s blog, but it really means that coffee-drinking now has a lot more artistry involved than before. For instance, there are now a lot more fancy jargon involved (Kirinyaga Kiangoi from Kenya, anyone?), and options from beans (single-source vs. blends), to brewing style (espresso machine vs. French press vs. Moka pot). And err… no whipped cream topping.
We asked our group of Gen-Z and millennial coffee connoisseurs around, and compiled some of the best places in the hood for a seriously good cup of java. You won’t regret reading this.
PULP by Papa Palheta
Tucked in the quieter part of Bangsar, PULP’s location inside a former printing factory and near a major media outlet, already carves itself a unique image. Helmed by Singaporean coffee boutique Papa Palheta who also runs Chye Seng Huat Hardware and Loysel’s Toy cafés, it’s safe to say the folks at PULP really know their stuff, or in this case, their beans.
Many like to hang out at PULP for their stellar coffee and some light bites (their avocado open sandwich is highly recommended), but some also come to learn from baristas who work their gear with topflight technique in a cupping room. If you like the coffee (and we’re pretty sure you will), PULP also sells their freshly roasted espresso blends and single-origin beans so you can brew them on your own.
Why we love it: Consistent coffee quality. Our flat white tastes as good as when we first visited this place.
Artisan Roast Kuala Lumpur
One of the veterans in the artisan coffee business, the folks here are very hands-on, from sourcing the best coffee beans from Common Man Coffee Roasters and Oriole Coffee Roasters to roasting and blending to make a mean cup of java. They are even known for training several baristas that have since opened their own cafés. They also have a fantastic lineup of freshly-baked cakes, brownies and cupcakes. Need we say more?
Why we love it: The best in terms of taste and consistency at affordable prices.
Trust that in the hands of Malaysia’s best barista coach Joey Mah, your cup of coffee becomes liquid gold. Just kidding. Take your coffee with a side of Keith Koay’s home-baked sourdough — prepared as toast, tartines (open-faced sandwiches) or the traditional sandwiches here.
We also love how the space is filled with greenery cascading off the roof, which keeps the place cool in the afternoon.
Why we love it: All beans from Transparent Coffee are sourced directly from producers, so you can rest assured that your brew is super-fresh, from farm to cup.
Butter + Beans
Recently relocated to Seksyen 17, this humble hideaway in Petaling Jaya is a perfect place to take a respite from the Malaysian heat with its serene ambience, delectable delights and, of course, a good cup of coffee. Brownie points for Butter + Beans for how their espresso is slightly acidic, but with lingering, sweeter notes with every sip. Extra brownie points for their adorable coffee art too.
Why we love it: Thanks to its quaint setting and a thoughtfully-designed interior, you’ll feel cozy plugging out at Butter and Beans. We also like the low rumble noise the espresso machines make in the background compared with other cafés, and the aroma of freshly-baked goods wafting in the air.
Common Man Coffee Roasters Kuala Lumpur
Another stylish café along Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad in TTDI, Singapore’s Common Man Coffee Roasters, with its wooden furniture and soft lighting, is your perfect place for slow Sunday brunches (although maybe only after payday as the prices fall on a slightly pricier side).
Specialty coffee is their forté. The baristas get the flavor, texture and temperature of our coffee right and we like how the coffee is packed with a punch of unique taste. It can be slightly acidic to some, but we’d say the aftertaste is lovely. Common Man Coffee Roasters is also known for its extensive all-day brunch menu. Try the Common Man Fluffy Pancakes with caramelized banana, walnuts, berry coulis and salted caramel sauce. You can thank us later!
Why we love it: We like ourselves a #SupportLokal coffee place! The coffee beans at Common Man Roasters are locally roasted, so your cup of coffee remains fresh every morning.
One Half Coffee
The story of how One Half Coffee becomes the significant half of Ilaika Select Story is just like a feel-good love story. The One Half folks were looking for a place when they saw a vacant spot inside Ilaika, and the rest is history. The menu features specialty teas and a range of coffees — one half blend, single origin filter and single origin espresso. Plus, with all the lush greenery juxtaposed against white walls, sipping coffee here is therapeutic!
Why we love it: Its charm, followed by a chance to browse Ilaika Select Store’s curated artisanal goods after. We’re pretty much sold by the entire package.
Looking for your favorite coffee hangout? Kickstart your day with these best coffee places in town. Check out Traveloka for our latest holiday promotions.