With plenty of third-wave cafés popping up right and left these days, it’s clear that coffee culture is here to stay. While this is generally good news for caffeine lovers, as you’ll have plenty of coffee shops to choose from, it’s not without its challenges.
Namely: a) how to tell the good ones apart from the bandwagon-hoppers; and b) where can you savour your cuppa in peace without having to deal with crowds of people?
No worries, we’ve got your back – here’s a list of cafés that roast their own coffee in Singapore and Malaysia that not only serve up amazing cups o’ joe, but are still relatively lesser-known compared to the big guns on the local coffee scene.
1. Homeground Coffee Roasters
Located in Katong along Joo Chiat Road, this small and cosy open-concept café allows patrons to chat up their barista as their coffee is being prepared. So if you have any burning questions about coffee, feel free to ask. If you’re an art fan, you’ll be intrigued by the local art hanging on the sparse, white walls.
Alongside their fine selection of coffee beans that you can purchase to take home with you, Homeground also serves up some pretty yummy bagels, too. Not a fan of dairy? Their coffee is served with oat milk – you won’t even be able to tell the difference.
475 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 472682
9:00am – 6:00pm | Closed on Wednesdays
2. RGB Café
RGB (short for “Rather Good Beans”) can be found on the aptly-named Jalan Damai (Peace Street), where the former bungalow lot has been converted into a quaint neighbourhood café, boutique roastery and event space. Surrounded by plenty of greenery, it’s perfect for a spot of peace and quiet.
You know the coffee is excellent when you learn that RGB is run by the same people behind the (now-closed) RAW Coffee at Wisma Equity. Preferring to source their beans from coffee farmers in the region, you won’t find South American or African beans here.
Their menu ticks all the right boxes for the health-conscious, as it offers a selection of gluten-free, organic, vegan and vegetarian food.
35, Jalan Damai, Kampung Datuk Keramat, 55000 Kuala Lumpur
8:30am – 5:30pm (Mon-Thurs) | 8:30am – 11:00pm (Fri & Sat) | 9:00am – 6:00pm (Sun & Public Holidays)
3. Prodigal Café
Tucked in a quiet corner of Tai Seng, Prodigal Café is a neighbourhood café filled with regulars who know each other’s names. However, its warm and homey interior beckons newcomers to give it a try.
Our recommendation? Go for the ‘Dirty’ – cold milk is poured into a glass cup kept in the freezer and topped with a generous shot of espresso. Goes down real smooth and is just the thing to cool you down on a hot day.
Food-wise, you can’t go wrong with brunch favourites such as smoked salmon and eggs or the ooey-gooey grilled cheese.
81 MacPherson Lane, #01-55, Singapore 360081
8:00am – 5:00pm | Closed on Sundays
4. Ra-Ft Café-Bistro
Ra-Ft café/Bistro proudly serves their coffee fresh and Italian-style right in the heart of KL. Located at Binjai 8 Premium Soho in Ampang and Arcoris Plaza in Mont Kiara, their beans are roasted on-site and sourced from the best coffee-producing countries around the world. Being Italian, their coffee runs on the dark side.
Not only do they roast their own beans, but they also cure their own salmon and bake their own bread. Talk about self-sufficient! However, be warned that they serve items such as bacon-stuffed pancakes and a signature burger that’s half-pork and half-beef.
Unit G-1, Ground Floor, Binjai 8 Premium Soho, 2, Lorong Binjai, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
7:30am – 10:00pm (Mon-Fri) | 7:30am – 6:00pm (Sat & Sun)
Unit G-16 & G-17, Arcoris, 10, Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
7:30am – 10:00pm
5. Dutch Colony Coffee Co.
Dutch Colony Coffee Co. is an old hand at the coffee roasting game, but they’re on this list because they’re that good. Their Dutch blend and cold brew coffee are to-die-for. The light and typical café-fare, such as cakes and pastries, complements the coffee without stealing its thunder.
Their original kiosk can be found at PasarBella, but we recommend that you head to the specialty coffee lab at Frankel Avenue, as it’s more spacious and offers advanced filter brewing techniques compared to its sister outlet.
113 Frankel Avenue, Singapore 458230
8:00am – 6:00pm (Mon-Thurs) | 8:00am – 8:00pm (Fri-Sun)
6. Feeka Coffee Roasters
Usually known for its lively bar scene at night, Jalan Mesui has been revitalised by a wave of trendy cafes by day, one of them being Feeka Coffee Roasters. Taking its name from the Swedish concept of socialising with family and friends over a comforting cup of coffee, Feeka certainly gives off a charming aura of cosiness.
Run by the same folks behind Food Foundry and Butter + Beans, you can rest easy, as your coffee is in good hands. The Feeka blend is a combination of Brazilian and Guatemalan beans with notes of dates, caramel and dark chocolate. The cold brew is a refreshing beverage to slake that thirst, while the affogato is a treat, served with Kapiti ice cream of New Zealand fame.
19, Jalan Mesui, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur
8:00am – 11:00pm
Now that you’ve bookmarked your favourites, you’ll know that good coffee isn’t just about the beans. Read on to find out how different types of milk (and Its substitutes) can change the taste of your coffee.
Inspired to perfect your own brew? Start with this list of coffee bean subscription services to try.