By Caitlyn Ng
I’m sure when you read the title of this article, the first places to pop into mind aren’t those chain franchises that you can find in even the most remote parts of almost any town (read: Starbucks or CBTL). If you managed to guess it’s the quaint artisanal cafés and coffee joints that have been sprouting up in the Klang Valley, most notably in places like Bangsar, Mont Kiara and the KL City Center, kudos to you! And who’s complaining? But what exactly is the pull these coffee connoisseurs have on the customers, apart from the avant-garde art and the quick caffeine fix?
It can be said that the quality of the coffee beans which these joints use that actually play a major part when it comes to the handcrafted java. To get coffee that good, something’s gotta give though, and it comes in the form of the price for one serving. In order to get the right grade of beans to produce these delicious cuppas, they’re flown specially into Malaysia from all over the world, and they don’t come cheap! The costs are then passed on to the customers, and we do feel the pinch on our pockets.
On that note, we decided to round up a list of 5 of the popular, yet more affordable, coffee cafés that one can head to in order to fix those jitters or blues. Nothing beats the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the cosily warm atmosphere of most of these places!
Artisan Roast Coffee, TTDI / Bangsar/ PJ – RM5 to RM10
Considered to be one of the pioneers on the scene, one of the great things about Artisan is that the prices of their coffees are really affordable, considering the origins of the beans used. They only create handcrafted coffee from specialty grade beans that make up the top 2% of those produced in the world. Which means the beans have zero defects, and that translates into an almost-perfect result. And how much would that set you back by? If you can believe it, the prices for the coffee range will only set you back by RM5 – RM10, depending on your choice of beverage. In addition, there’s the dutiful selection of sweet treats such as cakes to add a saccharine buzz to your day.
Antipodean Café, Bangsar – RM6 to RM10
Located in Bangsar, some people would usually grouse about the limited parking spaces available, and the sometimes long wait for tables but this is usually quelled by the tantalising cuppa awaiting their taste buds! This is one of the cafes which still have crowds of people thronging it, especially on a weekend, even though they’ve been on the scene for the past 3 years. Featuring a top-rate menu with lots of classic good food to warm the tummy, it’s the freshly brewed coffee that catches our eye! The beans are only sourced from Indonesia’s top specialty roaster, Merdeka Coffee, so you can be assured of the quality. Expect a price range of RM6 – RM10 for their brews.
Coffee Societe, Publika – RM5.50 to RM11
It’s very important to ensure that customers are happy as they sip on their handcrafted beverages, and here at Coffee Societe, one can find enough happiness to chase those blues away. Apart from the hearty comfort food and decadent desserts served here, there’s their Melbourne-inspired coffees with a price range of about RM5.50 – RM11 for their hot and cold beverages. For all those addicted to caffeine, hearken up to good news! There’s an ongoing promotion where on the 1st and 3rd Friday of every month, you can have a free flow of as much coffee of your choice as you want for only RM15 nett. That’s right, more reason for you to celebrate!
Top Brew Coffee, Hartamas – RM6 to RM10
This café, tucked away in Sri Hartamas, is led by one of espressolab’s former employees who managed to win the 2012 national Malaysia Barista Championship as well as emerge 2nd runner-up in the regional Food Hotel Asia Barista Challenge: JH Yee. An unpretentious café, the coffee beans are the stars of the show as they are sourced from 2 different suppliers: Lighthouse (Penang) and 5 Senses (Australia). There’s even a special blend of coffee available at the café called the Panama Don Pachi Geisha that will set you back RM25 per serving! Worry not, the coffee blends there have a price range of RM6 – RM10 for those who are looking for their regular fix.
Ministry of Coffee, Mont Kiara – RM5.80 to RM12.80
Finally, if you are someone who would like to enjoy a good brew made from fair-trade beans (it will feed your conscience as well), check out Ministry of Coffee and their coffee beans! They are sourced from Doi Chaang, located north-west of Thailand, and the profits are shared fairly amongst thousands of indigenous Akha farmers. With that said, how are the prices like? They can cost a wee bit more, with prices from RM5.80 – RM12.80, but they have the equipment and expertise to whip up a fairly mean cuppa. And for those who wish to satiate a growling stomach, rejoice for they serve savoury brunches and hearty mains all day!
We are well aware that there are heaps of cafes that are just as outstanding in their coffees, with matching price tags as well; there could probably be new ones popping up even as the writer is typing this! But we’re definitely not capable of covering all of them in one article, the list might be a mile-long by the time we’re done!
However, one thing is for sure. For the ultimate caffeine fix (though perhaps not as healthy or individually brewed specially for you), your local mamak will be the place to go! Now this is the place where it’s cool to be seen, whether for that quick catch-up session with pals, a late supper or for a general chill-out. It doesn’t hurt that the price of a “kopi o ais kaw” will cost you about the same price as 1/3 of the cheapest blends at one of the cafes above!