Where to go when you need a good cup of joe in Kuala Lumpur
Whether it’s an iced latte, double espresso shot or filter brew, many of us need our daily cup(s) of coffee in order to survive and thrive. Besides the standard kopi that’s favoured by many throughout Malaysia’s capital city, there exists a burgeoning specialty coffee movement that has gained a legion of fans in the city. Using a range of different brewing contraptions with an emphasis on the unique provenance and growing methods of the various coffee beans, these specialty coffee shops aim to provide a different – and perhaps more considered – experience for local drinkers. Here are seven of them that’s worth checking out.
With a location within the city centre and an outpost in the trendy Bangsar district, VCR is one of Kuala Lumpur’s most popular specialty coffee shops. The café’s all-black exterior – which applies both locations – stands out amid the surrounding buildings, while inside you’ll find a team of baristas doling out delicious brews made with their in-house roasted beans. We recommend going for the cold brew or an espresso tonic or try their house-made kombucha if you’re after something tart and refreshing.
2. Feeka Coffee Roasters
Given that their name is a play on the Swedish word “fika” – the practice of taking a break to share a beverage and a snack with friends – it’s no surprise that chill vibes and a friendly ambience reign supreme here at Feeka. Founded in 2013, the Bukit Bintang operation is considered as one of the scene’s pioneers. Why not try the cold brew, cappuccino or ristretto made with their seasonal house blend? You can also pair your coffee with a donut from local operation Donut Plan.
3. Seraph Awaken
Conceived as a way for people to connect over coffee, Klang’s Seraph Awaken is a roaster and cafe with retro, old-school vibes mismatched chairs, marble tables, patterned square tiles and a fuss-free atmosphere are reminiscent of a coffee shop from yesteryear. The brews, however, are firmly of the present, with single-origin varieties and custom blends made from coffee beans they roast themselves. There’s even a single-origin chocolate drink that’s worth a try.
The café outpost of local coffee roaster The Roast Things, Cream puts their coffee beans front and centre of the customer experience. You can sample brews – be it a filter coffee, iced latte or affogato – made using various blends and single-origin offerings from the likes of Colombia, Kenya, Costa Rica and Honduras, among other key coffee-growing regions. Want to learn more about a specific roast? Their team of expert baristas would be more than happy to strike up a conversation.
5. Merchant’s Lane
This Petaling Street coffee shop is a Chinatown gem, with its high ceilings, vintage and rattan furniture and rustic vibe proving a hit among all. You can grab a seat in the bright and airy main area, or head to an adjoining section that boasts plenty of potted and hanging plants for a more nature-centric ambience. Pair an espresso-based beverage with food options including a Nasi Lemak Pancake or the cheekily named Better Than Sex: pandan roti jala (Malaysian crepes) with melted cheese, kaya toast-flavoured ice cream and gula melaka sauce.
6. Transparent Coffee
Located in Bangsar, Transparent Coffee – which transforms into Coley Cocktail Bar at night – is one of the newer players on the scene, but has quickly developed a following for its excellent brews made with beans that owner Joey Mah sources directly from producers. Make your way through the lush plant-framed entrance, grab a seat in the cosy interior and order yourself a filter brew of whatever single-origin variety they’re serving that day.
Pulp, the Malaysian flagship outlet of Singaporean coffee roaster PPP (formerly known as Papa Palheta) can be found at creative space Art Printing Works in Bangsar. It’s a spacious café, roastery, showroom and workshop space rolled into one – heaven on earth for coffee geeks – and where quality shots using in-house roasted beans are pulled using a Synesso espresso machine. We recommend trying a refreshing and light cascara cold brew or decadent iced mint chocolate.