Indie coffee joints are sprouting up in Singapore at a incredible rate. Recently, someone came up with the idea of introducing a 'disloyalty card', where one would go around to all these little coffee joints to collect 'stamps', and after you've finished going to all 8 cafes, you get a free drink. Pretty good, isn't it? It's good publicity. If you've been to one, you will be tempted to try the other outlets, and you may find something that you'd like (or else just go back to your favourite coffee joint) -
I have had the pleasure of going to all 8 coffee places, so here's a run-through of all the places. I notice that it would not be fair to actually put a rating to it, especially since i'm friends with quite a few of the owners, so I will just give you the low-down, and what to expect.
Here goes, in the order that's presented on the card:
1. The Broers Cafe:
Located at Petain Road, at the start of Jln Besar, the Broers cafe is brightly lit, and is in fact in one of the condominiums in that area. The beans are from Highlander, and they use a Vibienne, if i am not mistaken. You get what you expect from Highlander, pretty consistent, 4 bean blend. Some chocolatey notes, and good with milk.
2. Forty Hands
Harry is the owner of Forty Hands, located at Yong Siak street, in tiong bahru. It is an aussie-style cafe, the beans are sourced from 5 senses which is a famous roastery in Perth. On its day it is one of the best in Singapore. Especially when it first opened, some of the cups i have had from 40 hands were just exceptional: rich, chocolatey, complex, etc. They also have some single origins, which you might be fortunate to have a chance to try. Recently though consistency has been an issue. They do very good tau-sa-pias as well.
3. Jewel Coffee
Jewel Coffee is one of my favourites. The barista, Shin Hao, and owner Adrian, are extremely friendly and nice people, making it a pleasure to come here. And besides it's near my workplace. In fact i think i frequent this joint almost every day. They specialise in single origin coffees, to be drunk any way you want it, syphon, drip, or espresso-based, with their Strada machine [top of the end]. You get all sorts of single origins, from a delightful Tanzania full of berry-like, blackcurrenty flavours, to Lintong, which was very herbal, and of course Brazil, with chocolate notes, and sometimes Sidamo. I often ask for some special favours here, but I should not mention it lest shin Hao and Adrian kill me. ha-ha. but it's excellent.
4. Jimmy Monkey Cafe and Bar
Located at Buona Vista residences off One North, jimmy Monkey was opened by a husband and wife team, with the husband hailing from Melbourne, the land of coffee. It's got an interior that is reminscient of the great melbourne cafes, such as seven seeds and st ali - think tall roofs, natural materials, almost a warehouse look - and of course, there's a slayer as well. Their blend is a blend of costa rica and guatamala. Pretty bright and probably better drunk without milk.
5. Loysel's Toy
Another one of my favourites, Loysel's Toy is from the people that brought you Papa Palheta - Leon's brainchild. They roast their own beans, and it's a great place to chill, with some nice pastries, hot food, etc. and of course the coffee is excellent. Their signature blend is the Terra Firma, which goes very well with milk. Recently they have started offering single origins which are great for me because sometimes you wanna try something different. Loysel's is extremely popular especially on weekends.
6. Oriole Cafe and bar
Oriole boasts two of Singapore's leading baristas, John and Keith, and roasts in-house as well. They supply to many outlets, such as Black, and jewel Coffee. At one time when their beans came from Spinellis they were excellent; at the start when they started roasting their own, standards dropped pretty drastically and I admit I haven't gone back for a long time. But now having tasted their beans from other outlets, they must be doing something right again - probably i will go back soon, ha-ha.
7. Smitten Coffee and Tea Bar
Darren and his wife runs this place - located at Robertson Quay, the Quayside. They roast in-house as well and their blend is called the Thumper blend. It is pretty bright, and quite fruity, although I've given feedback to Darren to perhaps add more body - which he is thinking of doing. Nice environment, and of course, you get great macarons sourced from ET-Artisan Sweets.
8. SOHO Coffee
SOHO coffee is a pretty cool cafe, which has just opened. Located off armenian street, it is a proper food place with lunch, dinner, and brunch menus. I had a pretty good breakfast set that day, but of course today we're here to talk about their coffee. Their blend was pretty good, a 3-bean blend. As a piccolo latte it was competent, but it really shines as an espresso. Nice body, sweet and well-balanced aftertaste.