Can you smell it? The gorgeous, seductive aroma wafting out into the streets… Yes, that’s it, freshly roasted coffee beans, imported from the finest sources in the world.
If you’re a serious coffee nut, then you’ll have spent this recent ‘era of the hipster’ revelling at the sound of each new, artisanal coffee roaster or café that’s been opening up in Singapore. It all really started with Papa Palheta’s when the scene took off at breakneck speed, and possibly a hundred have since been opened.
We frequently get asked where to go for the best cup o’ Joe, and we reckon it’s high time we shared the caffeinated love. After spending weeks and months trying and testing coffees, we have narrowed it down to what we think are the top 10… And in the interests of fairness, here is the shortlist of all the contenders that we’ve tried out:
Kiasu Coffee, Penny University, Dimbulah, Revolution Coffee, Common Man Coffee Roasters, Jimmy Monkey Café, Jewel Café and Bar, The Plain Café, Nylon, Loysel’s Toy, Chye Seng Huat, Tiong Bahru Bakery, Dbl Shot, Oriole Café, Highlander Coffee, Liberty Coffee, Papa Pahlita, Kooka Café, Maison Ikkoku, Shots Espresso Bar, Selfish Gene, Strangers Reunion, Hungry Chimps, Lauren Jasmine, Sarnies, The Naked Coffee, Kith Café, Chris’s Coffee, Forty Hands, Toby’s Estate, Carpenter and Cook, SPRMRKT, The Book Café, Department of Caffeine, Kickstart Brewiches, The Spiffy Dapper and The Coffee Shot.
Common Man Coffee Roasters is essentially a genius of a café crafted by the masters of Forty Hands and 5 Senses. Offering their loyal customers a selection of house blends that suit every sort of mood, this joint can be easily regarded as one of the major to-go places for quality coffee in the island. The folks at Common Man have a passion for coffee that is anything but common, only brewing the most delicious coffees from the freshest coffee beans sourced from places around the world that you probably never knew existed. Oh, and they also serve unbelievable all-day breakfasts. If you haven’t been, go. Now.
Common Man Coffee Roasters is located at 22 Martin Road #01-00, Singapore 239058, p. 6836 4695. Open Mon-Sun 7.30am – 6pm.
I’ve only just discovered Nylon recently. This is truly a hidden gem, located at 4 Everton Road (near Neil Road), you’d really never know about it unless you lived on the block or had heard whispers from a friend. There aren’t any seats here, and the place is tiny, but we say this is irrelevant as the coffee is truly outstanding: strong, flavourful roasts, with a beautiful HDB al fresco area to enjoy as your setting. You can tell from the crowd drinking there that they have very loyal followers. Customers even bring their own foldable chairs!
Nylon Coffee Roasters is located at 4 Everton Park #01-40, Singapore 080004, p. 6220 2330. Open Mon 8.30am – 5.30pm, Wed-Fri 8.30am – 5.30pm, Sat-Sun 9am – 6pm.
Granted, I might be biased as City Nomads HQ is just around the corner. But after a few years of being in business I still come here on an almost weekly basis to grab a cold brew or latte and I have never been disappointed. I’m the guessing the same applies for the queue that is always lining up for coffee no matter what time in the morning or afternoon it is!
Chye Seng Huat Hardware is located at 150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207563, p. 6396 0609. Open Tue-Fri 9am – 7pm, Sat-Sun 9am – 10pm.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Artistry since it first opened. It’s been redesigned and has a lot of changes. One of which is the quality of their coffee. To my pleasant surprise, their coffee has gone from good to superb. Great place to sit outside, enjoy some music and have a cuppa.
Artistry is located at 17 Jalan Pinang, Singapore 199149, p. 6298 2420. Open Tue-Fri 10am – 11pm, Sat 9.30am – 11.30pm, Sun 9.30am – 4pm.
I am a Sarnies regular (as are basically 90% of their customers). Food is great, staff there are super friendly and seem to know everyone’s name. My go-to here is their cortado (essentially a double shot short latte) or espresso martini, which is actually better than any cocktail bar version I’ve had!
Sarnies is located at 136 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068601, p. 6224 6091. Open Mon-Tue 7.30am – 10.30pm, Wed-Fri 7.30am – 11.30pm, 8.30am – 4pm.
Kith is one of the relatively older café joints in Singapore, and they’ve deservedly cultivated a very loyal customer-base. One huge bonus here is that Kith’s coffees are not only strong, but massive. Order a large latte and you’ll be taking half of it home to savour later. Their sandwiches and salads are pretty delish as well, packed with tasty fresh ingredients.
Kith Cafe is located at 9 Penang Rd, #01-01E Park Mall, Singapore 238459. Open Mon-Sun 8am – 10pm.
Toby’s rocks….the massive long wooden communal table, the al fresco seating area, the yummy sandwiches and wraps, and of course, above all else, the consistently excellent coffee. Look to the side of Toby’s and you’ll regularly see the fresh beans being roasted right before your eyes, all in the name of preparing for some more of their super coffee offerings. And the smell….mmmmmm.
Toby’s Estate is located at 8 Rodyk Street #01-03/04, Singapore 238216. Open Sun-Wed 7.30am – 6pm, Thu-Sat 6.30am – 10pm.
Jewel Cafe and Bar has certainly proved its worth when it comes to speciality coffees. Roasting its own beans every day, you can choose from single origin coffees, cold brews, Chemed brews, and even V60s. With two spacious levels of well-lit seatings and very knowledgable staff, we’re sure you’ll love this place, coffee nerd or otherwise.
Jewel Cafe and Bar is located at 129 Rangoon Road, Singapore 218407. Open Tue-Thu, Sun 9am – 10pm, Fri-Sat 9am – 11pm.
Granted I am a little biased as I literally live around 300m from Loysel’s (lucky for me!), but nonetheless, this place makes the top 10 pretty comfortably. The coffee here is excellent, as are their yummy cakes and super affordable brunch menu. Add that the super chilled al fresco section by Kallang river and you have a winning location. Also, it’s only of the few places that actually has the cortado coffee on its menu (my fave). Loysel’s Toy is located at TURE, 66 Kampong Bugis
Forty Hands serves up hundreds and hundreds of coffees every day. They are strong, smooth, beautiful and very, very tasty. It’s no wonder that, like a Duracell bunny, their coffee keeps the residents of Tiong Bahru going, and going… and coming back for more!
Forty Hands is located at 78 Yong Siak Street #01-12, Singapore 163078, p. 6225 8545. Open Mon-Sun 7.30am – 6pm.
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