Whether you’re a hardcore coffee fanatic or you’re just nursing a cuppa to try and prevent your impending food coma, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to down a cup of flavourless or overly acidic coffee just for the kick. Coffee should be enjoyed and appreciated, which is exactly what these third-wave coffee houses have been instilling in our caffeine-ridden brains.
The third-wave is often synonymous with speciality coffee, both of which value increased coffee quality, more direct trade, a greater emphasis on sustainability and more. It also refers to a movement or mindset where customer service in coffee houses is highly valued, and baristas being able to share the story behind each cup only adds to the distinctiveness of each coffee.
After my recent experience at Narrative Coffee Stand, I was interested to learn more about coffee and its origins from a cherry into this huge billion-dollar industry that has gone on to inspire young passionate baristas to innovate more and more ways of making coffee. However, with the current COVID-19 climate, we’ve been advised not to leave the house, which makes cafe-hopping a slight issue. Thus, with that in mind, here’s a list of nine Singaporean third-wave coffee houses that deliver to your doorstep—I’ve got you covered.
1. Nylon Coffee Roasters
Open since 2012, Nylon Coffee Roasters is no newcomer to the speciality coffee scene, and many other cafes actually source their beans from Nylon, which speaks volumes about the quality of coffee that they provide. They are often regarded as the pioneers of the third-wave movement in Singapore, and there are many who swear by Nylon’s coffee, saying it’s the best in town.
Their focus is the ‘behind-the-scene’ work, which entails them fostering strong relationships with local and foreign producers to see and appreciate the effort that goes into producing coffee straight from the cherry. Just a few months ago, they travelled to El Salvador and Nicaragua to personally meet with the coffee farmers and to learn from them.
This small cafe is run by a group of passionate and expert baristas in a tiny unit at Everton Park, with minimal seating to add to the cosy setting. It’s more of a takeaway cafe, but their baristas can indulge you with some in-depth coffee knowledge if you manage to get a seat.
They recently reopened in April after some renovation works, but have since implemented strict safe distancing measures for customers and only providing takeaway coffees. Alternatively, you can order their coffee beans online and take advantage of free local shipping for orders over S$40 and more from now till 4 May 2020.
Nylon Coffee Roasters: 4 Everton Park, #01-40, Singapore 080004 | Tel: +65 6220 2330 | Opening Hours: 8.30am – 5pm (Mon, Wed to Fri), 9am – 5.30pm (Sat & Sun), Closed on Tues | Website | Facebook | Instagram
Better known as a great takeaway coffee stand, especially for those in the CBD, Alchemist is a third-wave coffee house that believes in simplicity and placing all emphasis on the product, coffee.
After opening their newest branch in Khong Guan Building, Alchemist has quickly become a hot topic with their very own in-house coffee roaster and unique speciality coffee. With a combination of espresso-based and pour-over coffee, their straightforward and unruffled selection of drinks ensures that there’s something for everyone.
Their beans originate from all over the world, from Colombia to Brazil, each with their own unique taste and finish. If you have the time, I’d suggest ordering some pour-over coffee and sitting at the counter to watch it being brewed right in front of you.
Alchemist has kickstarted their coffee delivery programme, so you can enjoy their brews in the comfort of your own home. They will be posting their weekly roasts on their Instagram page and Facebook shop, where you can send in your orders by messaging them directly through their social media platforms. Alternatively, their outlets at Khong Guan Building and International Plaza will still remain open for takeaway orders only.
Inspired by a greenhouse, The Glasshouse is another third-wave cafe serving speciality coffee and artisanal toasts, located at CHIJMES. Boasting full ceiling to floor windows framed with white and an interior of Scandinavian influence with its chic wood furnishings, the cafe screams minimalist.
One of their most popular drinks is their Filter Coffee (S$7), which is brewed from in-house blends that change regularly according to the season. Their blends are obtained from local coffee roasters, one of which being Nylon Coffee Roasters. Apart from drinks, The Glasshouse also serves toast, like their most well-loved Classic Salmon (S$9).
If you’re just dipping your toe into speciality coffee, this is a great place to get started, especially with their filter coffee. Delivery options will be available soon and they are in the midst of finalising their new ‘Takeaway Menu’. Keep updated via their Facebook page but in the meantime, The Glasshouse is still open for takeaways and self-collections.
The Glasshouse: 30 Victoria Street, CHIJMES, #01-03, Singapore 187996 | Tel: +65 6900 3237 | Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm (Mon to Thurs), 8am – 10pm (Fri), 9am – 10pm (Sat), 9am – 6pm (Sun) | Website | Facebook | Instagram
4. Chye Seng Huat Hardware
To pay homage to the hardware building it used to occupy and the heritage of its vicinity along Tyrwhitt Road, the landlord of the building and its new owners decided to name it Chye Seng Huat Hardware (CSHH), which means to ‘flourish again’. CSHH is now home to PPP Coffee (formerly known as Papa Palheta) and has gained itself a steady following for its unique Art Deco shophouse feel and of course, its third-wave coffee.
One of their highly-raved drinks is their Cold Brew, which comes in three different variations—Black (S$7.50), White (S$8.50) and Nitro Black Matter (S$7.50). Their Hand-brewed Drip Coffee (S$7.50) is freshly made on the spot, with seasonal single-origin coffee grounds. They also serve a wide selection of dishes, ranging from breakfast, salads, mains and desserts, as well some bakes displayed at the counter.
You’ll be glad to know that CSHH is on your favourite food delivery apps, Grabfood and Deliveroo, and you can still grab a bag of beans-to-go from the Coffee Bar or order online if you don’t want to make the trip down.
CSHH will still be open for takeaway from 9am – 9pm daily, and all food and pastries will be going at 20% off from now till 12 April 2020. They are endeavouring to make their items available for islandwide delivery, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Located at 22 Martin Road, Common Man Coffee Roasters is another third-wave cafe that serves an extensive selection of fresh in-house brews, along with an all-day brunch—sounds like an ideal afternoon out.
Common Man Coffee Roasters has an array of speciality coffees to choose from, including the more popular Filter Coffee (S$6) and the Uncommon Coffee (S$8). Both of these vary from day to day, so be sure to ask the barista’s about the day’s brew beforehand. Some of the options for filter coffee include YirgZero from Ethiopia, while you can choose the Las Lajas Black Honey from Costa Rica for the Uncommon Coffee.
Although the cafe’s namesake came from the owner’s desire to sell speciality coffee to the common man, these prices aren’t that affordable, so be prepared to spend when you’re here. At least, it’s on quality coffee and delectable brunch dishes!
Thankfully, Common Man Coffee Roasters has linked up with food delivery partners at Deliveroo, FoodPanda and Grabfood, so you can have them delivered straight to your doorstep without any fuss. The cafe will still remain open for pre-orders via Whatsapp (CMCR Martin Road: +65 9739 0704 | Common Man Stan: +65 9739 0106), take-away and delivery, and you can even order coffee from their website with free shipping for orders above S$50.
6. Jewel Coffee
Born in 2011 at One Shenton Way, Jewel Coffee was conceived by owner Adrian Khong who wanted to provide the best coffees in the world to coffee enthusiasts and novices alike. They provide a selection of uniquely roasted single-origin expressos that rotate daily, which are conveniently roasted in-house too.
Their coffee hails from countries like El Salvador, Ethiopia, Brazil and Sumatra, and the beans in the machine hopper are changed every few days to switch up the taste profile. Some of their popular drinks include the Flat White, depending on what’s on the menu for that day, and they also serve various food items like croissants and quiches.
Jewel Coffee is now available on Fairprice in the form of beans and ground coffee (S$18 per 250g), and they have also partnered up with FoodPanda to bring their produce to our doorstep. You can also order their coffee online or at their Facebook shop, for a coffee pick-me-up at home.
7. Brawn & Brains Coffee
Brawn & Brains Coffee is also one of the older third-wave cafes set up in 2013 at Guillemard Road, and they have since grown into a micro-roaster, cafe and retailer based in Singapore. Their goal is to source for and roast high-quality coffee beans that can be made accessible for everyone to appreciate. Their coffee is roasted meticulously in small batches, in order to bring out the unique flavours in each bean.
They offer many different types of coffee, from single-origin espresso roasts to filter roasts and even their own House Blend (S$15). Their single-origin beans hail from countries across the world like Indonesia, Colombia and Brazil, with special processing methods as well. Apart from selling their beans online, they also supply other cafes and engage in wholesale practices.
From 7 April 2020 onwards, Brawn & Brains Coffee is only offering takeaway and delivery, and orders can be made online for their freshly roasted coffee. They also have their own merchandise, like tumblers, pour-over kettles for your home use and even a mini grinder. For local coffee orders, enjoy free shipping for orders over S$25 when you use the code FDBB!
8. Old Hen Coffee Bar
Situated in a relatively quiet area of Farrer Park along Rangoon Road, Old Hen Coffee Bar first opened its doors in 2014, and has since opened another outlet called Old Hen Kitchen which serves a greater variety of dishes. Run by three boys, Terry, Ivan and Mason, Old Hen is the product of their aspirations to run a third-wave coffee house.
Their signature drinks are the Creamy White Cold Brew Coffee (S$6) and the Cold Matcha Milk (S$7.50) made with matcha powder from Kyoto, both of which are made in-house. They also serve up Black (S$4.30) and White (S$4.80), along with filter coffee—they source their beans from a variety of places, one of them being Oriole Coffee, a popular local roastery-cum-cafe.
In what they’re calling their ‘Circuit Breaker Specials’, they’ve launched a series of offers for customers so they can still enjoy Old Hen’s third-wave coffee while at home. Firstly, they’ve expanded their online store, and also introduced a Circuit Breaker Special Menu.
They are also offering a 10 to 15% discount on self pick-up food items and the option for curbside pick-up when you call them to place your order, meaning you can collect and pay for your order while staying in the car. Meanwhile, they’ve extended operating hours, so both stores are open seven days a week for takeaway and self pick-up.
Last but not least, we have Narrative Coffee Stand, a hole-in-the-wall third-wave coffee shop that just opened at Bras Basah Complex in July 2019. Although it’s considered a baby in the business compared to forerunners like Brawn & Brains, you should know that there’s no lack of experience here—the co-owner and head barista Thong used to work at Nylon Coffee Roasters for about a year, before he decided to open his own cafe.
At Narrative, some of their espresso beans are sourced from Europe, specifically Scandinavia, where the beans are processed straight from the coffee cherry and there’s complete transparency for the whole harvesting process. Thong only provides single-origin beans, to make sure the identity and authenticity of the beans aren’t lost in a blend.
The selection of beans includes beans that he obtains from Nylon Coffee Roasters, or ones that he sources for himself like the Los Rodriguez beans from Bolivia, which has a unique winey acidity with hints of fruity and floral flavours. Depending on the season and harvest, the selection here may change from time to time, but Thong ensures freshness in all his coffee by freezing them to prevent them from ageing.
For the month of the circuit breaker, Narrative has been testing out their ready-made bottles of coffee, as well as matcha to deliver straight to your doorstep. They are also looking at delivery for hot coffees and bakes within a certain radius of their shop, so keep a lookout for any progress on these two fronts via their social media!
For the time being, they will still remain open for takeaways, and you are encouraged to drop them a DM or Whatsapp them at +65 9488 4493 to place your order beforehand. This way, they can have your order ready for collection and reduce waiting time, or pass it to you when you utilise the pick-up-point below their store for a quick drive-through.
Narrative Coffee Stand: Blk 231 Bain Street, Bras Basah Complex, #01-05, Singapore 180231 | Tel: +65 9180 2937 | Opening Hours: 8.30am – 6pm (Mon to Fri), 10am – 6pm (Sat & Sun) | Facebook | Instagram
For me, I think the process of learning about how coffee—a drink that many cannot live without—is derived and the effort that goes into transforming a fruit into this aromatic wonder, makes the whole process of drinking it even more enjoyable. Now, you can relish it in the comforts of your own home and experiment with the different species of beans and types of brewing if you’re feeling adventurous.
Having said that, one of the undeniably key factors that defines third-wave coffee is hearing each unique coffee story from these passionate baristas who are shaping the future of coffee, so definitely do visit these coffee houses for the authentic coffee shop experience!