By Julian Chua

With over 400 billion cups consumed each year, coffee has to be one of the most popular beverages in the world. In Singapore, coffee culture is intrinsic to the fabric of the F&B scene. From the humble Kopi Tiam stand to the specialty joints popping up all over town, coffee represents more than just a hot drink; it gives us an opportunity to start conversations, connect socially or professionally and allow time for ourselves.

The foundations of what makes a brew to your taste is down to the origin, grade and roast of the beans. However, perfecting the art of roasting and brewing coffee takes skills and knowledge. A seasoned barista should understand water quality and temperature, correct brewing methods, roast level, rate of extraction, grind size and ratio of coffee to water.

Kick back and relax at one of these five great coffee houses in Singapore whose baristas have their art down to a science.

Baristart Coffee
Concept: Popular Hokkaido café

This famous Japanese café produces high-quality coffee with milk imported exclusively from Hokkaido, Japan. This isn’t any ordinary Hokkaido milk, mind you. This particular milk is from Brown Jersey cows farmed in Biei, a small town in Hokkaido and is prized for being rare. There are fewer than 800 Brown Jersey cows left in Japan, making up around 1% of the total cow population.

With its ultra-premium Hokkaido, fuller-than-full-fat Jersey milk as the key ingredient in many of its items on the menu, baristas are able to achieve that extra creamy taste to the full-bodied flavor of their arabica coffee blend. As well as serving coffee, its menu also includes shaved ice, parfait, ice-cream selections and food items such as salads, pasta and sandwiches.

This 40-seater café is bright and spacious and has an open-glass high ceiling to let the sunlight in. Lush greenery spreads across its  countertop and trails across the walls, so you can sip your coffee with the feeling of being al fresco inside. Decor is deliberately simple and

65 Tras St, Singapore 079004

Bearded Bella
Concept: Melbourne-inspired eatery

Bearded Bella has two flagship offerings: its brunch a its coffee. You can expect great coffee from this place and its co-founder Regina Tay, emerged as the winner of the Singapore National Barista Championship back in 2016. They source raw coffee beans directly from producers and roast them on-site. Must try coffees include espressos, cold brews and their house ‘coffee slushie’.

Their food is largely inspired by café trends in Melbourne. Must try dishes include Eggstraordinary eggs & snags, Italian meatballs and sauerkraut and Spiced scrambled. Located in an ornate shophouse, this café exudes a bright, personal and cozy vibe with its glass rooftop, modern design layout, wooden tables and pink cushions. To the front of the café is an enclosed courtyard seating area – great for anyone who enjoys their coffee experience outdoors.

8 Craig Rd, Singapore 089668

Coffee Academics
Concept: Purveyor and roaster of specialty coffee

This coffee house brand originates from Hong Kong, with Singapore being their first expansion overseas. Known for their specialty coffee, where state-of-the-art equipment is used to brew the perfect cup, their core mission is to make specialty coffee as accessible as possible to the masses. They strive to design a unique experience in-house with what they call their “7 Sensory Station” – a personalized and educational coffee session at the Espresso Bar, Tea Academics Bar, Cupping Corner, Culinary Counter, Custom Blend Concierge, Hand Brew
Bar or Roasting Corner.

In terms of food, their menu showcases a distinct selection of Modern European and Modern Asian dishes that come in generous portions.

The vibe of this coffee house is friendly, relaxed and welcoming. Its interior marries modern with a nod to the coffee houses of old, blending wood, brick and black, white and gold decor.

Scotts Square Level 2, 6 Scotts Road Singapore 228238

Concept: Japanese specialty café

Originally a coffee equipment retailer in Japan, thisJapanese brand branched out into coffee-brewing with a goal - to promote and educate people on Japanese-style coffee making and its coffee culture. It has since captured the hearts of many coffee lovers with its quality coffee brews such as its Matcha Latte, All Seasons Coffee in Tokyo and Taco Coffee from Hyogo.

All their raw coffee beans are sourced from countries worldwide, such as Brazil, Colombia and Ethiopia. Its interior design is quintessentially Japanese: minimalistic, yet homely with clear floor-to-ceiling windows and extremely comfortable cushion chairs to lounge in. Located in the City Hall district, it’s the perfect place to indulge in a cup of morning coffee before the daily grind.

331 North Bridge Road, #02-01, Odeon Towers, Singapore 188720

The Populus Café
Concept: Contemporary gastro-café

The founders behind this café have a ton of experience when it comes to the delivery of caffeine-rich beverages to consumers. This collaboration between well-established Department of Caffeine and 2Degrees North Coffee Co, a coffee bean roaster/distributor, has
resulted in the creation of a new eatery that brings together good food and fantastic coffee. Coffee drinkers are spoiled for choice with a wide range of seasonal specialty coffee that are sourced from producers all over the world. Their specially roasted beans are also available online for you to continue the experience at home.

This modern-looking café that is hidden within a row of shophouses on Neil Road, looks stylishly bright, contemporary and has an industrial interior design. Seating layout is compact, yet efficiently arranged to accommodate traffic flow and ordering of food and drinks.

146 Neil Road, Singapore 088875