Since 2013, Kuala Lumpur’s specialty coffee scene has evolved. While we used to drink instant coffee, the formation of the Malaysian Specialty Coffee Association heralded the rise of specialty cafés and roasteries. In addition, Kuala Lumpur held the second Malaysian Barista Championships, Brewers Cups, and Latte Art Championships in January. In light of this, category champions will represent Malaysia at the world stage.
As a result, anyone visiting Kuala Lumpue can access special coffee brewed by amazing people. However, with so many choose to from, it can be hard to pick one. So read on for our list of cafés worth visiting.
Why These Five?
Everyone has an opinion on which cafés are best. As a result, cafés below are not necessarily Kuala Lumpur’s top five cafés. However, they are definitely worth a visit.
You’ll find that these five cafés represent a type of coffee house. As a result, the list includes cafés run by specialty geeks and mall cafés which capture a section of Malaysian coffee houses.
1. VCR Cafe
If a single place deserved accolades, it’s this café located on Jalan Galloway. As a result, it’s outstanding for its photogenic qualities and line-up of baristas.
Firstly, three of their baristas placed highly in Malaysia’s Barista Championships, Brewers Cups, and Latte Art Championships. Keith Koay is 2016’s Malaysia Barista Champion, Jun Lim is 2016’s Malaysian Brewers Cup 1st Runner-Up, and Jeffrey Tan is 2016’s Malaysian Latte Art Championship 1st Runner-Up. In addition to this, the café’s managing partner, Andrew Lee, has judged many competitions.
This set-up has made VCR Café a must-visit destination. Quality is paramount here; every shot is weighed before pulling to ensure consistency.
Recline with some cake or try out their brunch menu as well as their house/guest blends and single origins. Don’t hesitate to chat with the baristas, who’ll happily give you expert recommendations.
|Where||No.2 Jalan Galloway, (Off Jalan Pudu) Bukit Bintang|
|Espresso Machine||Synesso Hydra|
|Grinder||Nuova Simonelli Mythos One|
|Coffee Offerings||In short, espresso and filter options from various local roasters. V60, Kalita, AeroPress, and Chemex|
|Food||Brunch and lunch menu available with cakes and pastries|
|Retail Offerings||Espresso-based drinks ranging between RM7-RM16. However, bottled sodas are also available.|
2. The Red Beanbag
Long before specialty coffee began trending, husband-and-wife team Yew Keong and Lee Hai Lin were pushing boundaries. They created an Australian-inspired café experience which has evolved into their own distinctive style. Additionally, they’ve opened the Yellow Brick Road.
Just like VCR Café, The Red Beanbag can boast of its big names. In this case, it’s Jason Loo, Malaysia’s first Barista Champion. He competed in 2015’s World Barista Championships.
Yew Keong and Lee Hai Lin don’t do anything by halves. Therefore, their coffee range is supplemented by juices and smoothies. Because these are popular, they’re available countrywide.
The Red Beanbag has a talented kitchen crew and baristas. For example, if you drop by for lunch you can sample their cakes and desserts. Meanwhile, the baristas will brew you a coffee that will leave you smiling.
|Where||A4-1-08, Solaris Dutamas (access through Publika), Jalan Dutamas 1, 50480|
|Espresso Machine||Nuova Simonelli Aurelia|
|Grinder||Nuova Simonelli Mythos One|
|Coffee Offerings||Espresso blend by Grand Central, Australia and filter by various local roasters, as well as V60 available|
|Food||Brunch and lunch menu available, with cakes and pastries|
|Retail Offerings||Espresso-based drinks ranging between RM7-RM16, bottled juice available|
3. New Chapter by The Owl’s Café (Kuala Lumpur)
Thomas Ooi and partners only opened New Chapter by The Owl’s Café at the end of January. However, the Owl’s Café is older. They have a reputation for outstanding coffees and waffles and engaging the community. As a result, the café is always busy.
As a result, they’ve opened a second larger location up the road. It’s located at the back of the Calvary Convention Centre mega-church in Bukit Jalil. Above all, everyone is welcome irrespective of their race, creed, or religion.
The team have also taken the jump into roasting. Consequently, you’ll be able to try their espresso blends and single origins. They’ve also retained their waffles. With their incredibly friendly and tenacious team working behind the bar, I’m certain that their success will continue for many years to come.
|Where||Calvary Convention Centre, Jalan Jalil Perkasa 1, Bukit Jalil, 57000|
|Style||Independent café at the back of the building. In short, you can collect a pass from security.|
|Espresso Machine||Kees van der Westen Spirit Duette|
|Grinder||Nuova Simonelli Mythos One|
|Coffee Offerings||Espresso blend and single origin, both roasted in-house. On the other hand, V60 is also available.|
|Food||Waffles in addition to a future lunch menu|
|Retail Offerings||Espresso-based drinks ranging between RM7-RM16 as well as bottled soda.|
4. TThe HUB
In Overseas Union Garden, husband-and-wife team Nicholas and Yuki Tay have dedicated themselves to an understanding roasting and brewing. Unsurprisingly, Nicholas is a micro-roaster and certified Specialty Coffee Association of Europe Authorised Trainer.
Every shot is weighed and ground in a Mahlkönig EK-43 grinder. Consequently, it’s extracted in their Sanremo Opera machine. Finally, the coffee is brewed.
The HUB has an extensive selection of Ninety-Plus coffees, all roasted in-house by Nicholas. Consequently, each filter brew has its TDS recorded and assessed by the barista before being served. Alternatively, you could buy a bag to brew yourself.
Coffee geeks should visit this place. Most importantly, you’ll find that the coffee is excellent and you enjoy a conversation with the Tays.
|Where||61, Jalan Hujan Rahmat 3, Taman Overseas Union, 58200 Kuala Lumpur|
|Espresso Machine||Sanremo Opera|
|Coffee Offerings||Espresso and filter coffee, all roasted in-house. On the other hand, V60, Chemex, Clever, and AeroPress are available.|
|Food||Brunch and lunch menu available, Similarly you can also order cakes, pastries, and waffles.|
|Retail Offerings||Espresso-based drinks ranging between RM7-RM16. In addition, bottled cold-pressed juices are available.|
5. Infusion Specialty Coffee Co.
The phrase “mall cafés” normally call to mind places like Starbucks. However, don’t let that stop you from visiting Infusion Specialty Coffee Co.
This café is located in the largest shopping centre in Malaysia. Despite this, it’s a departure from the typical specialty café, which you might expect to have rustic décor and a less commercial location.
Yet co-owners Douglas Tan, a 2015 Malaysia Brewers Cup Competitor, and Terence Tong, a 2016 Malaysia Brewers Cup Sensory Judge, form a formidable team. For instance, they offer up their own coffee blend, containing specialty-grade Robusta and a selection of filter coffees. And as a result, they’ve developed a loyal following.
Shoppers will find this to be the perfect place to relax with a coffee in the mall. You can bring any friends who don’t like coffee as their range of hot chocolates is superb. Most importantly, their cakes, sandwiches, and handmade macarons are also great.
Enjoying a great cup of coffee while taking a break from shopping? Sounds great to me!
|Where||Lot SK-108, 1 Utama Shopping Centre (Old Wing), Bandar Utama, 48700 Petaling Jaya|
|Style||Independent café located inside the shopping centre|
|Espresso Machine||Wega Concept|
|Grinder||Fiorenzato F64 Evo|
|Coffee Offerings||Most importantly, there’s an espresso blend by Coffex Coffee. Additionally, there are filters by local and overseas roasters. You can also choose V60, Clever, Chemex, and AeroPress|
|Food||Brunch and lunch menu available. Likewise, you can also order sandwiches.|
|Retail Offerings||Espresso-based drinks ranging between RM8.50-RM18. Additionally, bottled juice available|
In conclusion, Kuala Lumpur has an excellent range of specialty coffee shops. Basically, you’re sure to find something you love in at least one. In other words, use this list to explore the city. Let us know what you find.
Edited by T. Newton.
Perfect Daily Grind.