The Singapore coffee scene is a tangled web of East meets West and everything in between. If you think that a good coffee is hard to find in Singapore then you really should try the ones on this list. The coffee scene here is thriving and it’s getting better all the time.
Firstly I should clarify the kind of coffee shops I’m talking about. In Singapore coffee falls into two main categories: kopi, the traditional brew favoured by locals; and coffee, as imported from the West via Melbourne. Local kopi is famous for its sweet flavour, a mix of strong filtered coffee combined with condensed and evaporated milk and sugar. It resembles a cup of instant coffee with milk but is actually very tasty. My favourite is Kopi Peng, an iced version that’s very suitable to the climate here.
As you may be able to guess my allegiances lie with the Melbourne variety. Having been brought up on the brew from a young age in my home town, I’ve become very fussy when it comes to finding good coffee shops in foreign cities. Non Melbourne-ites will probably roll their eyes at my coffee snobbishness, but I still marvel at a visit back to Melbourne where every coffee I order comes exactly as I like it, nice and strong, without the bitter aftertaste. And there do seem to be quite a few Melbourne-ites who have set up shop in Singapore to showcase their coffee brewing skills. Here are a selection of my favourites:
Near Robertson Quay
*New Addition* Common Man Coffee Roasters, sister to 40 Hands in Tiong Bahru (below), has now opened at 22 Martin Road. Click the link for more but aside from brilliant coffee their weekend breakfast is just about perfect.
Kith Cafè on the river at Robertson Quay is a great coffee shop in a perfect location. The staff here are super friendly and their strong coffees are always welcome. They serve a great brunch here as well. You can find them at 7 Rodyk St, #01-33 or at Quayside Isle, Sentosa Cove, 31 Ocean Way, #01-08.
Smitten (closed) is a smart little coffee shop at Quayside. They roast their own beans and also offer bags for sale. The knowledgable staff make a nice strong brew and there is also a good selection of sweet treats for consumption. You can find Smitten at The Quayside, 60 Robertson Quay, #01-11.
Kampong Glam area
Maison Ikkoku in the bustling Arab Street area is a little enclave of coffee heaven. Not only that but they serve basic brunch options with an extended menu on the weekend. And best of all there’s a bar upstairs if you feel like a tipple. You can find them at 20 Kandahar Street.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware is actually a little north of the Kampong Glam area. This cool little coffee shop serves some of the best coffee in Singapore, in a quirky cafè beside a hardware store. The food menu is also decent and they have great cakes. They’re at 150 Tyrwhitt Rd.
Chinatown and Tanjong Pagar
The Plain on Craig Road makes me feel like I’ve been transported back to a coffee shop in Prahran in Melbourne. Their coffees are fabulous and they offer a good food menu and brunch to boot. The Plain is at 50 Craig Rd.
Oriole Coffee Roasters is one of very few good coffee joints in the Orchard area. They’re located at 96 Somerset Rd, #01-01 Pan Pacific Suites.
If you’ve read some of my other posts you probably know that Tiong Bahru is one of my favourite ‘go to’ areas for all kinds of eating and drinking options. 40 Hands is a coffee shop that is small in size but large in its approach to serving strong and good coffee. I almost always stop by here for a caffeine fix when I’m in the area and recently I’ve discovered that they do a very good big breakfast. You can find 40 Hands at 78 Yong Siak Street.
Tiong Bahru Bakery make a decent coffee to go with their amazing pastries. To be honest my first reason for visiting would actually be the delectable croissants, washed down with one of their coffees it is a true winner for breakfast. You can find them at 56 Eng Hoon St, or in Raffles City at #B1-11.
Jimmy Monkey is a man truly dedicated to his coffee. A Melbourne boy who has lovingly imported his coffee machine and brews to Singapore, Jimmy’s is a great place for the coffee and for the all day menu on offer. The only downside is the location at 9 One-North Gateway, #01-51, which is really a taxi ride unless you live nearby.
Loysel’s Toy [closed] occupies a great spot on the river near Lavender. There is indoor and outdoor seating and it’s the kind of place you could sit all day. I personally think their coffee is a little weak but a double shot makes it a good cup. They’re at 66 Kampong Bugis at the bottom of the Sam Tat building.
*New Listing* Penny University is one of few coffee houses on the East Coast. Located all the way up at 402 East Coast Road, it’s also opposite Oh Deli, a great place for fresh meat and deli groceries.
Do you know any other good coffee shops in Singapore?