40 Hands coffee | Tiong Bahru, Western Singapore area
The coffee at this cool hole-in-the-wall venture by Australian Harry Grover and the Spa Esprit Group has always been the main attraction, and they’re at least partly responsible for making Tiong Bahru one of the hippest neighborhoods around Singapore. But it’s not just the coffees that are worth the trip, the food’s good too. The sarnies, cakes and baos all make for great company with a flat white or a long black.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware coffee | Little India area
From the Papa Palheta folk comes this spot located in an Art Deco shophouse that’s retained its original hardware store decor with a 360-degree coffee bar, The Roastery and The Annex, where you can learn and sample more unusual beans. Try the bottled cold brew coffee, served with milk and syrup on the side for you to doctor to your taste.
Jewel Cafe and Bar | Little India area
The second and larger branch of Jewel Coffee is a two story facility outfitted with cool metallic ceiling fixtures. The place puts out great coffee, from standards like the long black ($5.50) to less common cold drip manual brews like the Portland ($7) ice coffee. There are also cocktails including a refreshing white peach sangria ($16) made with sauvignon blanc. To eat, find a menu of hearty burgers such as Praise the Lard ($18), which is topped with bacon jam and apple slices, as well as lighter bites like the yogurt bowl with fruits and homemade granola ($9).
Jimmy Monkey | One-North, Western Singapore
Michael Ryan has kitted out this characterful old barracks space with the city’s first Slayer espresso machine (he helped build the $29,000 beast himself) and feeds it with a weekly rotation of high-end beans and blends. Every shot is an obsessively calibrated double ristretto; and it’s probably the most intense pull you’ll find in the city.
CAD Cafe Singapore | Kampong Glam area
This place is run by designer Chad Samson and business partner David Ahier. On the menu are coffees like espresso ($3.50), Americano ($3.50) and iced coffee ($5.50). To go along with the drinks, order up pastries from The Bread Project such as pain au chocolate ($4) and apricot danish ($4.50). There’s also a food menu featuring toasties ($5) like mature cheddar and pickled asparagus, as well as mozzarella, red pepper and walnut pesto.
Oriole Coffee Roasters | Tanjong Pagar area
The third Oriole outlet in a Chinatown shophouse is rather different from its cousins and features a dedicated roasting facility, a research laboratory for experimenting with new beans and new methods, and a training lab. The boutique café on site features a local twist and serves up kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs.
Department of Caffeine Singapore | Tanjong Pagar area
At this cozy cafe, coffees (from Australian roasters Five Senses) start at $4, and teas ($7) from local blenders Tea Bone Zen Mind are also available. To eat, there are bites like the mushroom sandwich with thyme and brie ($12) as well as fresh salads (from $9) such as beetroot with plum, and soba with wakame. On weekends, there’s also brunch, with items including French toast stuffed with maple syrup bananas ($15).
Nylon Coffee Roasters | Everton Park area
This place is a must for serious coffee lovers. Primarily a coffee roaster, this small joint is best for a quickie takeaway for a cup of espresso ($3) before you proceed to check out the rest of the area. Reminiscent of Papa Palheta and Chye Seng Huat (proprietors Lee Jia Min and Dennis Tang were former partners at the two joints), this is a quaint, scaled-down neighbourhood version specializing in six types of blends using beans from El Salvador and Kenya.
Rokeby | Serangoon area
The establishment serves artisanal coffee (from $3.50) complete with latte art, as well as a decent selection of starters (from $6.90), Western mains such as prawn risotto ($18.90) and kurobuta pork collar ($23.90).
Toby’s Estate Singapore | Robertson Quay area
This Aussie arrival has taken up residence in a gorgeous old go-down on the Robertson waterfront and home to a state-of-the art smokeless roaster which spirals up toward the. The counter is split between a “fast” espresso bar, and a “slow” bar serving black coffee made with the likes of Chemex and Clover equipment. There’s also direct-sourced beans, coffee-making kit and appreciation classes.