food

Best Coffee Cafes in Singapore: The Ultimate Guide

January 30, 2015

Written by Seth Lui

best cafes singapore coffee

Following the ‘third wave’ cafe boom in Singapore, countless cafe guides have been written on this emerging cafe trend with no set criteria. Some cafes might have excellent food, amazing ambiance, but ultimately coffee that tastes like brown crayon water, and it’s really hard to decide what is a ‘good’ cafe without agreeing on one consistent criteria.

In this caffeine fueled article, I’ll be presenting my guide based on one factor only: how good the coffee is. New cafes are popping up daily as well, but most will probably be using bean suppliers from either Nylon Coffee Roasters, Common Man Coffee Roasters, Liberty Coffee, Papa Palheta or Dutch Colony. Cafes under the same company will be grouped together, since the coffee blend and roasting standard is almost identical.

As with all foods and beverages, different people will have their own preference of coffee, but I will try to present the individual coffee flavours at each cafe so you can decide what you like. In the end, you will have to decide what type of taste you prefer but most Singaporeans at this stage of our coffee culture go for a more balanced, easy drinking variety of coffee with milk.

A great guide for getting new cafe ideas, this is for the Singapore cafe-hoppers.

1. Nylon Coffee Roasters

best cafe singaporenylon coffee

nylon coffee roasters best cafe singapore

Long Black ($3).

A simple small cafe born out of only 1 reason: a passion for Coffee. Nylon sources their coffee from all the world, roasts and brews their own amazing coffee not just based on their preferences, but also experimenting objectively. The espresso blend changes seasonally, while packed beans are available for purchase. While I was there, I had the Four Chairs blend which was a 50-50 mix of Nicaragua and El Salvador beans for a sweet, well-balanced finish with notes of black berries.

After speaking to countless professional baristas, Nylon is easily the most well-recognized and highly recommended cafe for coffee in Singapore amongst the professionals – their hardcore pursuit to produce the best coffee is all the reason coffee connoisseurs need to patronize this outfit.

Nylon Coffee Roasters: 4 Everton Park #01-40, Singapore 080004 | Website
Opening hours: Weekdays 8.30am -5.30pm; Weekends 9am – 6pm (closed Tues)

2. Ronin

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Double Espresso ($4).

Ronin cafe uses a coffee blend roasted and imported from Melbourne, Australia. This Genovese blend is an incredible mix of 13 different origins with strong influences from Brazil and South Africa.

The coffee is full-bodied, nutty with a light citrus acidity that is designed to be served with milk for a smooth latte/cappuccino with a cocoa finish. It’s very easy drinking that will please most people.

Ronin: 17 Hong Kong Street Singapore 059660
Opening Hours: Daily 8am-8pm (closed mon)

3. Symmetry

symmetry cafe singapore

Flat White ($5.50).

Symmetry is a cafe by day and restaurant bar by night that also pays homage to classical French cuisine. As a third wave cafe believing in artisanal coffee and food, Symmetry employs a professional roaster in Senoko, where coffee beans are medium roasted once a week.

The house espresso blend is derived from Guatamala , Papa New Guinea, Brazil and The result is a coffee with flavours that are nutty, chocolatey, an apricot fruittiness and pretty much full bodied. The coffee is also served with a cute little gingerbread man sometimes if you’re lucky.

Symmetry: 9 Jalan Kubor, Singapore 199206 | Tel: 62919901 | Website
Opening hours: Tues – Sat 11am -11pm ; Sun 11am – 7pm (closed mon)

4. Just Want Coffee

coffeecafes-2

Handcrafted Papua New Guinea Coffee ($6.50)

Just Want Coffee was established in 2009. With small beginnings in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, Just Want Coffee is on a fast track to become a coffee hot spot. Just Want Coffee has a myriad of coffees to offer. Espresso-based coffees ($4-5.50), handcrafted coffees ($6.50-$7.00), Ice Drip ($9) … you could have your coffee any way you want it. Literally.

Just Want Coffee takes the art of coffee seriously. From the origins of the coffee beans, to the brewing methods and even the presentation of the coffee. Just Want Coffee changes its coffee beans often enough – every 3-4 months. From the slightly sour Papua New Guinea coffee bean to the floral-like Ethiopian coffee bean, Just Want Coffee has a range of coffees that will satisfy your citrus or fruity coffee cravings and introduce you to a world of coffee that you’ve never known; bridging cultures one cup of coffee at a time.

Whilst you enjoy your coffee, there is also a myriad of cakes available. The tofu cheesecake and classic cheesecake ($6-6.50) are baked in house and are worth trying. Soft and light, the cheesecake is an excellent snack. If you are feeling ravenous, there is the lasagne ($8) and duck burger ($12) to devour too.

Just Want Coffee: 1 Everton Park #01-27 S081001 | Tel: 6225 8115 | Website
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 8.30am – 6pm; Saturday, Sunday & PH 10am – 6pm; Closed on Wednesdays 

5. Papa Palheta / Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar

chye seng huat hardware coffee bar cafe singapore chye seng huat coffee cafe singapore

Probably the most well-known Indie cafe (yes the irony) in Singapore: Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar. All 3 brands are under the same company group, with Papa Palheta being the coffee supplier while CSHH Coffee bar and Loysel’s Toy serve as the retail arms.

Papa Palheta is an independent coffee specialist, roasting and purveying specialty coffee in Singapore and Malaysia with relentless fervent. Everyday, the coffee roasting and brewing is tweaked and calibrated according to seasonality and the type of beans, and the most minute details are given utmost attention to bring the out the best.

CSHH Coffee Bar resides within Chye Seng Huat Hardware building. This concept bar provides a one of its kind coffee experience with a 360-degree view of the bar. Watch and interact with the baristas as they meticulously prepare your beverage with all sorts of bean varieties and brewing methods that can be customized to any customer’s preference – if you know what flavours you like, you can get it here. Loysel’s Toy also received the same attention from Papa Palheta and you can expect similar high quality at this cafe too.

Papa Palheta/ Chye Seng Huat Hardware: 150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207563 | Tel: 6299 4321 | Website
Opening hours: Tues – Fri 9am – 7pm; Sat – Sun 9am – 10pm

6. Dutch Colony Coffee Co.

dutch colony coffee cafe singapore

Their Dutch blend ristretto has a citrus-like acidity, is full bodied, slightly nutty and with a smooth velvety finish. Being coffee suppliers with freshly roasted beans, of course Dutch Colony also has seasonal single-origin coffees at the outlet which can be prepared in various brewing methods of your choice. Their bottled cold brew coffees is also something to look out for, coming in sweetened and unsweetened states.

Dutch colony has since opened a 2nd specialty coffee lab at Frankle Ave, serving even more advanced filter brewing techniques than their Pasarbella store.

Coffee workshops like degustation tasting, latte art making and basic barista training is also provided by Dutch Colony to any aspiring coffee connoisseurs.

Dutch Colony Coffee Co.: 200 Turf Club Road, #02-k67, Pasarbella, Singapore 287994 | Tel: 64670255 | Facebook

7. Toby’s Estate

toby's estate cafe singapore - latte art toby's estate singapore - gibraltar latte

Gibraltar Latte ($4.50).

Toby’s Estate believes in using unwashed or natural coffee, also known as dry processing, as it lifts the aromas without stripping off the flavours unlike wet processing.

The house blend at Toby’s Estate uses the Rodyk Blend, a 5 bean mix of Costa Rica, Uganda, Panama, Brazil and Ethipio beans.

The Gibraltar latte (similar to a piccolo) we tried was floral and fruity on the nose, a nutty front with a rather bright and acidic note upon taste. The acidity tapers off very quickly to reveal notes of berries at the end. Overall a very well-balanced brew. All lattes, cappucinos and espressos are made with a double ristretto shot for more intensity.

The Cafe Mocha ($6) is also another hot favorite you have to try, using real Ghana Red Chocolate melted with the ristretto.

Toby’s Estate: 8 Rodyk Street #01-03/04, Singapore 238216 | Tel: +65 6636 7629 | Website
Opening hours: Mon – Thurs: 730am – 6pm; Fri – Sat: 730am – 8pm; Sun: 730am – 7pm

8. Common Man Coffee Roasters / Forty Hands

cafe singapore common man coffee roasters 40 hands cafe singapore coffee

Partnering with Five Senses Coffee, Common Man Coffee Roasters sources their green coffee beans from all over the world working closely with growers, then roasts it locally for great coffee in Singapore. Acting not just as wholesalers supplying to many Singapore cafes, they also have 2 retail outlets under the same company, namely Common Man Coffee Roasters at Martin Road and Forty Hands at Tiong Bahru.

At the cafe other than seasonal coffee blends, they serve 2 primary house blends: CMCR Espresso and the 22 Martin.

The CMCR espresso is a 3 origin blend from Brazil (Alice estate), Sumatra and Ethopia. The flavour profile is a candy sweet, springy, silky body with herbal complexity and a lingering dark cocoa finish that goes great with milk.

The 22 Martin contrasts with dark chocolate notes, a heavier body, molasses with a long finish.

Common Man Coffee Roasters: 22 Martin Road, #01-00, Singapore 239058 | Tel: 6836 4695 | Website
Opening hours: Mon – Sun 8am – 7pm

Forty Hands: 78 Yong Siak Street Singapore 163078 | Tel: 62258545 | Website
Opening Hours: Tues – Sun: 8am – 7pm (closed mon)

9. Yahava Koffeeworks

Yahava-koffeeworks-singapore

Photo: http://lonelywanderlust.blogspot.sg/

An Australian chain franchised in Singapore, Yahava Koffeeworks is known for scouring the world to bring the finest Arabica single origin coffees as well as an array for brewing techniques. They also supply many cafes in Singapore with their roasted beans.

The default Espresso blend at the retail cafe (which comes in 3 sizes) has a nuanced acidity, heavy bodied and a fruity finish for a balanced coffee. The bean blend I tried is from Colombia, Ethiopia and Papa New Guinea. They do however rotate single origin and blends every other day, so you’ll get something new each time you visit.

Interestingly, you get to taste for free up to 3 single origin coffees before having to decide which coffee bean you want from their massive selection. Extremely informative and interactive, you can tell that Yahava is all about coffee education and culture.

Yahava Koffeeworks:  4 Jalan Gelenggang, Singapore 578188 | Tel: 65547080 | Website 
Opening Hours: Daily 9am – 6pm

10. Yellow Cup Coffee

yellow cup -Nicaragua Latte ($5/$6.50).

A Hawaiian coffee concept, Yellow Cup boasts single origin coffees from Ethiopia, Uganda, El Salvador, Indonesia, Nicaragua , Brazil and even Hawaii. While I was there, I tried the Nicaragua (smooth, simple, sweet hint of maple syrup and butterscotch) and the Sumatra longberry (heavier in profile, spices and herbs, sweet tobacco and dark caramel).

As with many other cafes, the beans rotate regularly too. The latte art could use some work though in my opinion.

You can ask the barrista to recommend what bean variety to try based on your mood and they’ll recommend it. Yellow Cup also does a couple flavoured coffees like a Nutella latte and the Hawaiian coffee (with coconut syrup). Despite being rather new, Yellow Cup has expanded to 4 outlets already!

Yellow Cup Coffee: 36 Beach Road, Singapore 189677 | Website
Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 730am – 630pm; Sat – Sun: 11am -5pm

11. Highlander Coffee

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Latte ($3.90)

Highlander Coffee’s vision is to build a great coffee company that shares the passion for gourmet coffee with anyone who wants to learn.

Highlander Coffee owns their own factory in Singapore, where they roast and pack their self-sourced supply of beans, as well as sell various coffee making equipment. The house blend uses the Quattro, a mix of Brazilian, Ethopian, Columbian and Sumatra beans.

A balanced coffee when paired with milk; nutty, smooth with a sweet malt finish. Consistency is key to Highlander’s success, from the evenly roasted beans to the well-trained barristas making the coffee.

Highlander Coffee: 49 Kampong Bahru Road, Singapore 169362 | Tel: 62261686 | Website
Opening hours: Mon – Sat: 9am – 6pm (Closed Sun)

12. Sarnies / The Lokal

sarnie's - orange mocha

Sarnies and The Lokal are Sydney-inspired cafes which use double ristrettos in their coffee brews imported from Australia, resulting in a more intense flavour.

The latte is a Guatemalan blend that features a sweet, bright and fruity notes to the nose. Give it a swirl through your palate and you will notice a roasted dark, nutty and bitter aftertaste that was rather enjoyable.

Something else really interesting to try is their Orange Mocha – the Orange Mocha is prepared by soaking orange peels into the coffee, to give off a slight tang. The concoction was a little more intense, mixed with beans that complement the chocolate, orange peel and espresso shot. Velvety body with notes of dark chocolate and a hint of citrus, an exciting brew with an interesting piquancy.

Sarnies: 136 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068601 | Tel: 6224 6091 | Website
Opening hours: Mon to Fri:  7:30 am – 10 pm; Sat & Sun: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

The Lokal: 136 Neil Road, Singapore 088865 | Tel: 6423 9918 | Website
Opening hours: Mon: 8am -6pm; Tues – Fri: 8am -10pm; Sat: 9am – 10pm; Sun: 9am – 4pm

13. Dapper Coffee

coffeecafes

Earl Grey Yuan-Yang ($8)

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Gold Brew (it’s a secret, shhh…)

A little cosy spot hidden atop the stretch of shop houses on Amoy Street, Dapper Coffee is definitely a coffee cafe that you have to check out. Unique and quirky, the menu’s experimental take on classic coffees is fascinating. From the Earl Grey Yuan-Yang to its Secret Menu (glittery potions?!?!?! what?!?!?!), you will have something new to try each time you come.

The Earl Grey Yuan-Yang is highly recommended, especially for those with a more bitter taste. Different from the Hong Kong Classic but different isn’t bad. Instagram-worthy and cold, the Earl Grey Yuan-Yang is your go-to mid-afternoon chill drink. The Gold Brew is also a must-order, especially if you believe in unicorns. I mean, what other coffee has glitters swirls?

If you need a little sweet snack to balance the coffee, Dapper Coffee also has amazing cakes on offer. The Gula-Melaka Walnut Oat Cake and Salted Egg Black Sesame Cake are both one of a kind. And what’s even better is that they taste amazing. They serve booze too, just saying.

Dapper Coffee: 73 Amoy Street, Second Floor (Above Alati Restaurant) | Tel: 9005 4790 | Website 
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 8am – 5pm 

14. Geisha Specialty Coffee

geisha specialty coffee singapore esmeralda geisha

Panama Esmeralda Geisha Coffee ($15)

geisha specialty coffee latte burlington square

Latte ($4.5)

If you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur, you won’t want to miss out on Geisha Specialty Coffee and their exceptional brews. Geisha coffee’s true business is back-end coffee bean supplying though, so the shop is decidedly small more – more for showcasing their coffee beans rather than to act as a cafe. This is the kind of true indie hipster cafe not much people have heard of yet.

Considered one of the world’s most expensive and sought after coffees, the award winning Esmeralda Special coffee is sold only through a privately held, international auction for roasters. Price adjusts yearly according to how much the company wins the auction price at.

The Esmeralda Geisha Coffee ($15) is the most expensive black coffee I’ve had in Singapore, which was intense, highly complex with aromatic fruity notes in the aroma, the coffee is very smooth to drink almost like tea in fact. The finish was slightly dry but flavoured with a sweet-potato aftertaste.

Geisha Specialty Coffee: 175 Bencoolen Street, Burlington Square, #01-55, Singapore 189649 | Tel: 9062 5726 | Facebook
Operating hours: Mon – Fri: 10am-7pm; Sat – Sun: 1pm-7pm

15. Artistry

artistry best cafe singapore coffee

An art gallery + cafe in a shophouse dedicated to the local art scene, Artistry makes a pretty awesome coffee in addition to their brunch menu. When I was there, they used a blend of Brazilian and Jamaican beans from Liberty Coffee (if I’m not wrong it’s the Speakeasy blend), which yielded a subtly sweet and nutty, medium-bodied coffee with a kick. The blend is subject to change though according to the season.

Artistry: 17 Jalan Pinang, Singapore 199149 | Tel: 6298 2420 | Website
Opening hours: Tues-Sat 10am-11.30pm; Sun 10am-7pm (Closed on Mon)

16. Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters

pacamara cafe thomson best singapore best cafe singapore coffee pacamara

Latte – 5 oz ($5)

A Singapore Partnership with Thailand, Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters focuses its emphasis on the essence of coffee without distractions. Formerly OZ specialty coffee, the cafe has undergone a rebrand using the well-established Thai cafe name – Pacamara.

The coffees come in 3 sizes, 3 oz, 5 oz or 7 oz, but the size merely increases the amount of milk used and its still a single espresso shot. The house blend uses beans from 4 origins: Brazil, Ethiopia, Guatemala and Sumatra. Flavour profile can be described as nutty, floral, creamy with that hint of caramel that becomes more pronounced when the coffee gets a little cooler. A light bodied coffee that’s pretty easy to drink.

Pacamara also does a few single origin filter coffees like the Ethiopia y Kochere, a clean coffee with cherries and wine on the palate. I love the open coffee bar concept where you can watch the brewers upfront make your coffee, and interact with the baristas as well.

Pacamara: 185 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574333 |  Facebook
Opening hours: Tues – Sun: 9am – 11pm

17. Drury lane

cafe singapore coffee drury lane cafe singapore coffee drury lane espresso

Espresso ($3.50).

Drury Lane is a 2 story cafe joint at Tanjong Pagar that gets their coffee supply from Papa Palheta. The coffee blend they use for their house espresso is the Nuts + Bolts, composed from Brazil Cerrado, Tanzania Karatu. Taste wise, it’s nutty with hints of sourness towards Grapefruit and a smooth body.

Drury Lane: 94 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088515 | Tel: 62226698 | Website
Opening hours: Mon – Thurs: 9am – 830pm; Fri: 9am – 10pm; Sat – Sun: 10am – 6pm

18. Jewel Cafe and Bar

jewel-cupping

Jewel Cafe is a another specialty coffee house that roasts their own beans with precision at the back of the cafe, as well as regularly hold coffee cupping sessions to taste single origin beans and their unique characteristics. It was very enlightening having a look at their coffee roasting machine at the back of the shop as well, where the owner passionately explains the different stages of coffee roasting and the precision used.

Most of their retail coffee is of single origin from countries like El Salvador, Ethiopia, Brazil and Sumatra, although they do have blends as well like the Alpha Red Blend. Every 2-3 days, Jewel will change the beans in the machine hopper so the taste profile constantly switches around every now and then.

Jewel Cafe and Bar: 129 Rangoon Road, Singapore 218407 | Tel: 6298 9216
Opening hours: Sun – Thurs: 9am -10pm; Fri – Sat: 9am – 11pm

19. Collective Brewers

collective brewers cafe singapore changi

Newly opened by a coffee veteran formerly with Papa Palheta, Collective Brewers believes in sourcing, supporting and brewing only from local Singapore coffee roasters, hence the name Collective Brewers. Their current espresso blend comes from Common Man Coffee Roasters, which is a combination of Guantamala La Santos, Colombia Primavera and Ethiopia Yirgzero.

As a black coffee, you get a grapefruit acidity, brown sugar, caramel flavours in a medium-bodied coffee. With the addition of milk, the caramel, brown sugar and cocoa flavours become more prominent. Collective Brewers will also very soon start curating even more local coffee roasters and serve the best of the lot at their little cafe far in the East

In the cafe, there is also a filter coffee bar where single origin coffees like the India Veer Attika is served. Choice of V60 paper filter or French press metal filter allows the brewing methods to contrast each other, although different origins tend to favor specific brew methods as well.

A space for both Singapore’s professional and home-based coffee purveyors — including roasters and baristas — to showcase their coffees, with different tastes and flavor profiles.

Collective Brewers: 301 Changi Road, Singapore 419779 | Tel: 9818 5314 | Website
Opening hours: Tues – Sun: 10am – 10pm (closed mon)

20. Strangers’ Reunion/ Strangers’ at Work

cafe singapore coffee-01050029 best cafe singapore coffee stranger's reunion

Syphon filter coffee – Kenyan beans ($6.90).

Stranger’s Reunion is one of the hippest cafes in Singapore now, seeing crowds come in for coffee daily. They offer various filter brews like Aeropress, Syphon or Wave dripper which all bring out different strengths of a coffee.

I tried the Syphon filter coffee with Kenyan beans, which highlights the acidity with a heavier body and complexity. Acidic, fruity apricots with slight nuttiness and a clean finish.

The espresso uses a 3 bean ‘Chakra’ house blend from Brazil, Ethiopia and Guatamala. The Magic Coffee ($5.50) is also one of the popular items here, said to have the perfect ratio of coffee to milk. Due to its popularity, waiting for a cup of coffee might take a while and I took 30 minutes to get my filter coffee. Perhaps the normal espresso based ones will be done a lot quicker as the baristas prioritize what to make first.

Strangers’ Reunion: 35 Kampong Bahru Rd, Singapore 169356 | Tel: 62224869 | Facebook
Opening hours: Sun – Thurs: 9am – 10pm; Fri – Sat: 9am – 12am

Strangers’ at Work: 11 Collyer Quay #01-07, Singapore 049317 | Tel: 62224869 | Facebook
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm

21. Atlas Coffeehouse

atlas coffeehouse

Opened by the folks behind the now defunct Assembly coffee, Atlas Coffeehouse joins the ‘third wave’ Singapore coffee movement, priding itself in presenting artisanal java for the masses. As quoted by them: “Trust Coffee. It never fails to make the day better!”. Indeed, even cold coffee has never broken my heart unlike my cold ex.

Atlas Coffeehouse gets its house blend from Liberty Coffee roasters, which rotates the beans around each season. The common blend was Guatemala and Brazil which yields a chocolatey, nutty, medium bodied profile customized for milk pairing and easy drinking. Despite the bean seasonality, the flavour will never change too drastically so as to appeal to the milder local palate. They also do single origin filter coffees using Aeropress and V60.

Atlas Coffeehouse: 6 Duke’s Rd, Singapore 268886 | Tel: 6314 2674| Facebook
Opening hours: Tues – Sun: 8am – 7pm (closed mon)

22. Jimmy monkey Cafe & Bar

jimmy monkey coffee cafe singapore

Opened by a true native Melbournian who craved the authentic coffee culture back home, Jimmy Monkey aims to bring the ultimate Melbourne coffee experience to Singapore.

Beans are roasted on-site from some of the best socially responsible independent and Rainforest Alliance farms, with seasonal green beans sourced from all over the world.

The house espresso coffee is a handpicked blend by Jimmy Monkey’s experienced barista, or occasionally from single origin beans for more distinct characteristics. The house blends change month to month, which is hard to pinpoint the exact consistent flavour but are normally customized to go well with milk.

However, you do get to experience different varieties from all over the world and you’ll just have to place your faith in the experienced baristas at Jimmy Monkey. They also do french press and syphon filter coffees if you prefer.

Jimmy Monkey: 9 One-north Gateway, #01-51 one-north residences, Singapore 138643 | Tel: 67778470 | Website
Opening hours: Mon – Sat: 8.30am – 10.30pm; Sun: 8.30am – 6pm

23. Tolido’s Espresso Nook

tolido's-espresso-cafe-singapore best

Tolido’s cafe has one of the most intricate looking coffee arts I’ve seen, way more complicated than the typical heart or leaf art – this shows very good control over the temperature of the coffee and milk.

Using beans roasted by Yahava Koffeeworks, the Arabica house blend combines Colombian, Ethiopia and Papa New Guinea beans to give a strong robust body. There is a mellow acidity to the coffee as well as lingering caramel and floral flavours, but is overall pretty balanced and simple to drink if you like a heavy mouth feel.

Tolido’s Espresso Nook: Block 426 Crawford Lane, #01-63, Singapore 190462 | Tel:  6648  0178 | Website
Opening hours: Tues – Thurs: 9.30am – 7pm; Fri – Sat: 9.30am – 10pm; Sun: 9am – 6.30pm (Closed mon)

24. The Providore

providore cafe Hot-Chocolate

The Providore Hot Chocolate ($6.50).

The Providore is a local grocery store cafe concept, selling packed merchandise and also serving as a deli cafe at Mandarin Gallery amongst other branches. The coffee here is roasted locally by Toby’s Estate and the custom 4 bean house blend is unique to The Providore.

The blend origins include: Costa Rica, Sumatra, Africa Uganda Bugisu and India Monsoon Malaba. Taste profile is chocolatey, nutty, spicy, mild acidity, medium – full bodied with a hint of  saltiness. Other than espresso, they also do single origin pourover filter coffees with the V60 or Aeropress tableside for your scrutiny.

The thick Hot Chocolate is another sinful alternative The Providore is famed for.

The Providore: 333A Orchard Rd, #02-05 Mandarin Gallery, 238897 | Tel: 6732 1565 | Website
Opening hours: Daily: 9am -11pm

25. Maison Ikkoku

maison-ikkoku

Specialty brew coffee prepared by baristas trained by Hiroshi Sawada of Tokyo’s famed Streamer Coffee Company, the heavily Japanese and French influenced Maison Ikkoku cafe just went through a major overhaul to present a new look. Maison Ikkoku also means “House of the Moment”.

The flagship blend is called ‘Nineteen42’ and is named as such because 1942 was the year when the Japanese showed much innovation, unmatched quality, precision and passion in whatever they did (although I’m sure many older Singaporeans would disagree with their so-called misguided ‘passion’ during this period).

The Nineteen42 consists of 3 coffees:  Natural Brazil Fazenda Dutra Jatoba, Natural Brazil Fazenda Rainha and Washed Indian Bibi Plantation AA Typica Strains.

This blend was designed to be suitable for the general masses, from a new coffee drinkers to seasoned ones, who are consistently looking for subtle notes of hidden flavours. Comforting with nothing too wild but instead a nice balanced cup, the taste profile can be described as resembling dark cocoa, with lingering hints of cedar and spice.

They recently launched their own Maison Ikkoku Coffee Roasters as well, foraying into wholesale of their products and coffee training.

Maison Ikkoku: 20 Kandahar Street, Singapore 198885 | Tel: 6294 0078 | Website
Opening hours: Mon-Thur: 9am – 9pm; Fri-Sat: 9am – 11pm; Sun: 9am – 7pm

26. Flock Cafe

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Latte ($5.50).

Getting their house blend from the famous Liberty Coffee, the espresso used by Flock cafe is Liberty’s flagship Speakeasy blend although even the barista seems unsure which specific region the beans come from (it’s from Brazil Fazenda Lagoa Mondo Novo, Guatemala Finca Santa Ana La Huerta, Ethiopia Sidamo), but I think as a professional barista, coffee knowledge should definitely be buffed up here.

A light bodied coffee, there are initial notes of nuttiness, then transiting to caramel and cocoa with minimal acidity. Milk foam was a bit weaask, but degree of the coffee was good drinking temperature.

Flock cafe: 78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-25, Singapore 162078 | Tel: 6536 3938 | Website
Opening hours: Mon – Sun: 8am – 6pm

27. Necessary Provisions

necessary-provisions cafe singapore

A casual joint in the neighborhood area, Necessary Provisions lets friends and family enjoy honest, simple food with excellent coffee and teas.

Necessary Provision’s coffee beans are sourced from coffee estates around the world and roasted in-house. They focus on producing the best flavours by cupping and tasting several blends seasonally to evolve the house blend. The result of these meticulous steps is the home blend – ‘Thumper’, which is currently combination of 2 coffee origins – Kenyan and Brazilian. The blend origin does change sometimes if they find a more suitable coffee bean, but is not as frequent and probably only changes every 6 – 12 months.

In contrast to many other espresso blends, Necessary Provision’s version is quite acidic akin to citrus bright orange, chocolatey and heavy bodied. If you’re not a fan of acidity or sourness, you might not enjoy this.

They also offer 2 single origin filter coffees which are either nutty (like the Kenyan Kia-ora) or floral (Ethiopia Konga) in profile for customers to choose. Every tuesday features a special single origin coffee as well for more variety.

Necessary Provisions: 21 Eng Kong Terrace, Singapore 598993 | Tel: 9231 7920 | Website 
Opening hours: Tues- Thur: 10am – 10pm; Fri – Sat: 10am – 12am; Sun: 10am – 6pm
(closed Mon and first Tues of the month)

28. 7kickstart

7 kickstart cold coffee cafe singapore ice drip coffee 7kickstart

7Kickstart is a 100% Singaporean owned cafe currently residing in the Singapore Art Museum. The owner Swee Sim believes in challenging the elitist perception of specialty coffee, bringing accessibility and education to the masses.

The house blend espresso uses Brazilian and Indonesian beans, which is full bodied, strong and nutty on the palate. Their newly introduced and very tediously made ice drip coffees use single origin beans and is something fussy coffee lovers will enjoy, as they serve a degustation tasting of these smooth cold variants.

7Kickstart @ SingaporeArtMuseum: 71 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189555 | Tel: 83897877 | Facebook
Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 8am – 7pm; Sat: 10am – 7pm

29. 63 Espresso

63espresso-cafe 63espresso

Piccolo latte ($4.50)

A part of 63 Celsius restaurant, 63 Espresso serves up honest coffee for the caffeine starved office workers of Marina bay. They import Allpress espresso, roasted in Sydney and shipped weekly to Singapore for freshness. The head barista Hairol believes the coffee is more consistent in quality than some of the local roasters.

Mainly concentrating on takeaway coffee, the house blend is called ‘Carmelo’- a blend of Brazil, Sumatra, Guatemalan and Colombia beans. Many office workers like this blend because of its heavy bodied nature, where you get a good kick like old school kopi. Bold and lively, there is very subtle hints of caramel but I found it more similar to a light nuttiness. 63 Espresso also serves single origin brewed coffees seasonally.

63 Espresso: 12 Marina View #01-03, Singapore 018961 | Tel: 85220863
Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 7.30am – 10.30pm; Sat: 9.30am – 2.30pm (closed Sun)

30. Percolate

percolate coffee

Although Percolate does not roast their own coffee beans, they are more unique in the sense that they occasionally bring in 2 different roasters at the same time, for example from Papa Palheta and Nylon Coffee roasters. The various blends tend to change seasonally as well, but the Terra Firma seems to be a more staple blend.

The Terra Firma blend from Papa Palheta, which is a three-bean blend (Brazil Alta Mogiana, Guatemala Antigua La Flor, Ethiopia Sidamo Suke Quto), is designed to be a well-rounded coffee. This mix results in nutty, rich, vibrant notes with lemon zest and chocolate overtones. A more complex coffee that goes well with milk, but not as easily accepted by the mainstream Singapore coffee drinker.

The Four chairs guest blend which is also regularly served at Nylon Coffee is a lot easier on the palate with a sweet, blackberry finish.

Percolate: 136 Bedok North Avenue 3, 460136 | Tel: 82590316 | Website
Opening hours: Mon, Weds – Fri: 1030am – 930pm; Sat – Sun: 9am – 930pm (closed Tues)

31. Oriole Coffee + Bar

oriole coffee bar singapore best cafe singapore oriole coffee

One of the pioneers of third wave coffee movement in Singapore since 2008, Oriole Coffee + Bar is a place where coffee enthusiasts gather to enjoy the brew, to learn about the bean from one another and to inspire a love for coffee and the good life. Oriole has since undergone a revamp and has much Melbourne coffee culture influence from its consultant who has shared his wealth of knowledge with the local baristas.

At Oriole Coffee, the essence of the perfect coffee experience boils down to the dedication of its roasters and baristas. Only after meticulous and careful consideration do coffees feature in Oriole Coffee’s line-up of espressos and filter coffees, such as Oriole’s house blends, the Yellowbird and Raven.

Yellowbird (Ethopia, Guatamala, El Salvador), Oriole Coffee’s first seasonal espresso blend, with its uniquely bright and chirpy characteristic differs from the typical heavy bodied Italian espresso. Drinking this roast gives a sense of adventure like going on a vibrant journey of discovery. Something unique Oriole does is also to shake this espresso blend with orange zest and ice for a sort of introductory iced espresso drink served in a martini glass – very pleasant and easy to take indeed.

Raven blend (Guatamala, Brazil), in contrast personifies a darker profile and a lot more intense with nutty aftertones – the older generation of Singaporeans will prefer this heavy coffee for its thicker flavour.

Oriole: Pan Pacific Serviced Suites. #01-01, 96 Somerset Road., Singapore 238163 | Tel: 6238 8348 | Website
Opening hours: Sun – Thurs: 10am – 11pm; Fri- Sat: 10am – 12am

32. The New Black

TheNewBlack-1

TheNewBlack-2

Located in CBD ,The New Black is largely catered to office workers and serves coffee priced from $4.50.

The New Black features artisanal coffee from the best coffee roasters around the world such as Small Batch Roasters from Melbourne, Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. from Washington and Singapore’s very own Nylon Coffee Roasters.

In order to bring out the best flavour in these imported coffee beans, each cup of coffee is brewed in the same manner with the help of high-tech equipments. Unlike other coffee joints, they also have a ‘Taste Wheel’ which aids customers in understanding the flavours of each coffee bean.

The New Black: Republic Plaza. 9 Raffles Place, Singapore 048619 | Tel:6410 9318 | Website 

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 8am – 7pm  ; 9am – Sat: 2pm (closed Mon)

Related Guide: Best Breakfast Places in Singapore Better Than Brunch

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Editor’s End Notes

There were literally days where I drank coffee till my hands were shaking, fingertips sweating and I imagined seeing a unicorn. I’m not sure how professional baristas can cup and taste anything more than 10 espresso shots a day without going ballistic.

As much as I would like to quit caffeine forever after months of coffee fueled tasting madness, if there are any other specialty coffee places that bring in unique roasters, do let me know in the comments.

I would also like to specially thank all the Singapore baristas who helped guide me on where to go for good coffee, as well as explain to me the coffee profile.

*Note: Liberty coffee has ceased to serve consumer retail coffee and only accepts coffee bar tasting by appointment, and continues to supply cafes on the backend to many cafes.

Related Guide: Best Cafes in Singapore Perfect for Brunch

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