One for the Coffee Addicts
Bras Basah Bugis
With the thriving cafe culture here, there are so many coffee options available across the island that leaves one spoilt for choice.
Faced with all the espressos, long blacks and cappuccinos out on the market, I have an embarrassing confession to make - frankly, I couldn’t tell the difference between a flat white from a latte if my life depended on it.
Determined to right this wrong, I decided to explore Bras Basah.Bugis for my first foray into the coffee scene and see if there’s more to coffee than just how bitter or sweet it is.
Image credit: Geisha Specialty Coffee
Geisha Coffee’s flat white. Image credit: Daniel Teo
Geisha Specialty Coffee
Located directly opposite the LASALLE College of the Arts, this cosy cafe is easy to miss despite its prominent location, especially if it’s your first time there. The small space seats approximately 10 people and it can feel a little congested when it is a full house of customers.
Geisha Specialty Coffee’s signature blend is a mix of four different beans sourced from America and Central America, and is described as full-bodied with chocolatey and nutty notes.
Their uniqueness stems from the fact that they are one of the first cafes to sell geisha beans in Singapore. The gold standard for coffee beans, geisha beans can only be purchased through an auction and the costs change yearly depending on the fetching prices.
The novice’s take: I ordered a flat white and found it rather mild with a homespun presentation. Its flavour lacked intensity and while not a must, some latte art would not have gone amiss. Overall, a simple coffee for those looking to build up their nose for caffeine.
Rating: 3 / 5
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10am - 6pm. Saturday and Sunday, 1pm - 6pm.
Where: 175 Bencoolen Street, Burlington Square, #01-55, Singapore 189649
Image credit: Daniel Teo
Montana Brew Bar’s flat white. Image credit: Daniel Teo
Montana Brew Bar
A great place to chill at in the late afternoon, this industrial chic cafe is a 10-minute walk away from the crowds of Dhoby Ghaut and Plaza Singapura.
Although tempted by their signature quirky waffles (think Mac and Cheese waffles), I stayed focused on the task at hand and went right into sussing out their coffee.
What I discovered was that Montana’s drinks seemed just as thoughtful and creative as their waffle flavours. Aside from the usual coffee offerings, Montana also serves a line of coconut cold brews with different mixers.
Conceived from the idea of producing sweeter coffee that retains a natural flavour, the beans are steeped in coconut water and the end product is a refreshing cold brew with a smooth, soft finish.
Montana doesn’t roast their own beans so they source it from Common Man Coffee Roasters, a specialty coffee roaster that is based in Singapore and operates throughout Asia. Their house blend, the 22 Martin, has chocolatey notes.
The novice’s take: I tried two drinks here - the espresso and flat white. The first sip of espresso was a shock to my sense s. While only chocolatey notes were savoured at first sip, I seemed to pick up hints of other notes that added onto the rich and full-bodied taste. Whatever those unidentifiable notes were, the espresso here packs a real punch and is good for anyone seeking a potent caffeine fix.
In comparison, the flat white was a lot more palatable for me. I found it sweet, perhaps due to the milk and foam lending a natural sweetness which help to balance out the intensity, as was explained to me. Montana uses ristretto shots which is a more concentrated espresso variant.
Rating: 4 / 5
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday, 11am - 10pm. Friday, 11am - 11pm. Saturday, 9am - 11pm. Sunday, 9am - 9.30pm.
Where: 1 Selegie Road, PoMo, #02-25, Singapore 188306
Image credit: Instagram / curiouspalette
Flat white (left) and espresso at Curious Palette. Credit: Daniel Teo
The brainchild of the good folks behind Stranger’s Reunion at Kampong Bahru, this cafe is located on Prinsep Street.
With white walls and rustic furniture that adds to its cosy appeal, it’s no wonder this cafe is one of the most Instagram-worthy ones around. In the day, the glassy interior provides generous natural lighting that is great for taking photos.
Curious changes their beans seasonally but strive to maintain the quality and flavor notes with each iteration. They experiment with new blends to find interesting flavors and have used beans from Ethiopia, El Salvador and San Carlos.
Their signature house blend, Chakra, has tasting notes of bergamot aroma, grapefruit acidity, strawberry and peach sweetness with a black tea finish.
The novice’s take: The espresso here was easier on my taste buds, and I found it a lot more approachable. The milky flavour of the flat white was also well done and comparable to what I tasted at Montana.
I felt the fruity notes in Curious’ blend made for a softer contrast and it was a less intimidating option to start one’s artisanal coffee journey with.
Rating: 4 / 5
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday, 9am - 10pm. Closed on Tuesday. Friday and Saturday,
9am - 12am.
Where: 64 Prinsep Street, Singapore 188667
So there you have it - a novice’s raw, unfiltered opinion on some of the caffeine-infused highlights of Bras Basah.Bugis.
Knowing what I know now, I may even be tempted to abandon my trusty kopi peng for the occasional gourmet coffee treat.
Author: Bras Basah Bugis
29 Mar 2017