Forget Starbucks – Favorite Coffee Spots in Singapore

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Okay I’m a coffee snob. Maybe not, but there’s a certain way I like my coffee – chocolatey, deep, dark and with no hint of that bitter after taste. My coffee has to be delicious, and let me tell you – Starbucks just doesn’t cut it at all. With the huge number of cafes popping up in Singapore, let me share with you a couple of my trusted favorites that I head to for a good cup of coffee. These are ranked according to how good I think their coffee is, as per my discerning taste – please note my sarcasm. Not only does it wake me up, I just love how a good cup of latte or cappuccino tastes. If I could, I’d have at least 3 cups a day, even one before I sleep.

Please note that my favorites are dependent on the proximity and ease of the locations to my home or where I work from the most. Definitely not the sort to travel too far for good coffee – since I need it on a daily basis, it has to be easy to reach.

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Penny University
402 East Coast Road, Singapore 428997
Closed Mondays

I love Penny for the fact that I get to choose the size and strength of my coffee. My order consists of a 7 oz with an extra shot, and sometimes with a Snickers Tart to-go. I’ve heard great stuff about the desserts there, but have only tried the Greek yogurt with granola (huge serving, lots of fruits, delish), the turkey + cheese croissant (yes!), Croque Monsieur &  one of those salads that I can’t remember (but good stuff). I love the roast of their beans, and there’s effectively only a 5% bitter after taste that’s mixed with a chocolatey warm linger. The space is well decorated and I love the booth seats, but if you intend to spend the day in the cafe, be prepared to come out smelling like food & oil as the ventilation isn’t that good. They get really packed on weekends, so skip the crowd and just grab your coffee to go. They do, however, have plugs and wi-fi, so it’ll make a good space to work from for a couple of hours on weekdays.

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Percolate
136 Bedok North Avenue 3 #01-152B, Singapore 460136
Closed Tuesdays

New favorite – just found this spot a couple weeks back and I ADORE it because it’s 10 minutes away from my place, so affordable ($4.50 for a latte), and very unpretentious. It’s gaining some popularity at the moment, but fret not, I love my coffee to go anyway. Apparently opened by an ex-Papa Palheta barista, the two owners are there on a daily basis. The decor is simple and minimal, and they use flowers and some duck figurines to add accents. The only downside is that they open at 10:30am on weekdays, leaving me with early morning sadness as I have to wait for my caffeine fix. Haven’t tried anything else on the menu and I don’t think I will – their coffee has 0 bitter after taste and gives me the same happy vibes as that of Penny.

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Kith Cafe
Quayside Isle, Sentosa Cove, 31 Ocean Way #01-08
Closed Tuesdays

How is this third on my list and yet the furthest? Let me explain – please note that I’m only mentioning the Kith at Sentosa Cove, and this is because the iced latte + iced mocha there is epic. It comes in a huge plastic takeaway cup, with just the right amount of ice to coffee. The coffee at Kith is like your oldest friend, it never lets you down and you get to pick up right where you left off. After a huge cup of this, I can barely stomach anything else but I’m as happy as can be. The view, ambience and colors at this outlet also perks up your day, and chilling by the water just relaxes you. Although the prices here are slightly higher, the quality of the food is good, and the staff are extremely friendly and helpful. I would like to caution you to never visit the Kith at Park Mall (horrendous food, prices and service all around), while the Kith at Robertson is best for their comforting toasties and pasta.

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Working Title
48 Arab Street, Singapore 199745
Open everyday, YES

Grab your coffee to-go here – love the coffee, no bitter after taste, great roast. Both the iced and hot lattes are delicious, so it just depends on what you feel like having on that particular day. Whether packed or empty, day or night, I’ve not been disappointed by the coffee here. Huge plus? They’re open 7 days a week, so you can rely on them when you need a caffeine kick. They have a selection of ice cream sandwiches and cakes that are pretty good, so consider that too. It’s located below a backpackers hostel, so expect a number of foreigners in the cafe. They’ve got plugs and wi-fi, which is a huge plus. The huge con though, is that the space can get pretty grimy and dirty (which is why coffee to-go), and they sometimes get a bit under staffed when it comes to cleaning up. Get your coffee and head to the various stores around Haji Lane & Arab Street to do some sightseeing and shopping instead!

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Artistry
17 Jalan Pinang, Singapore 199149
Closed Mondays

This would have ranked way higher on my list, probably a tie with Percolate, but I’ve only been there thrice, and it’s been hard for me to pop by for another visit. The coffee here is strong and deep, and it’s probably one of the few places that I’m happy to order just black coffee with no sugar or milk. Other than the coffee, please also consider ordering the peanut butter & jelly french toast – super yummy, loved it so much I finished the entire plate. They are apparently taking that off the menu soon, so try to pop by within the next couple of weeks.

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Sarnies
136 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068601
Open everyday!

Ok guys, the reason Sarnies is so low on my list is because I’ve only been there twice, and they were 3 years apart. I recently managed to pop by for a cuppa and was blown away by the coffee. Delicious, just the right hint of chocolatey goodness, and no bitter aftertaste. Perfect for anyone in the Raffles Place area. I was also extremely tempted by the yummy smells that were coming from the kitchen, and their menu looked exceptional. The staff were upbeat, I loved the music that was playing there, and there was a steady flow of customers coming through the door. If it weren’t for the fact that I try my best to steer clear of the CBD due to the office crowd, I’d visit this joint on a daily basis.

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Chye Seng Huat Hardware
150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207563
Closed Mondays

Honestly, this would have been #1 on my list. For a good year and a half, I visited CSHH for my coffee fix. I loved the coffee – the roast was exceptional, they used Meiji milk, and my cappuccino was never burnt. Dark and chocolately, each and every time I held that cup in my hand and sipped on it, a blissful sigh would escape my lips. They had a delicious breakfast, and the carrot cake was small and the perfect snack. Sadly, they changed their blend / roast sometime early this year, and after 3 attempts that ended up with me getting bitter aftertastes, I decided that I could no longer rely on my favorite joint for coffee. We went our separate ways, leaving me with a broken heart. CSHH – here’s a question for you – WHY IN THE WORLD DID YOU CHANGE YOUR ROAST?! Still worth a visit though, just in case they receive my message and change their roast back to what it was – I’ll update you on this.

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I wanted to quickly list a couple of other places that I would consider getting coffee from sometimes when there’s just nothing better nearby – Joe&Dough, Brill Cafe, Toby’s Estate & Department of Caffeine. If you’ve any coffee spots that you love, PLEASE recommend them to me and I will definitely visit them!

July Love + Read List

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 July went by in quite a flurry, interestingly enough. I’ve decided to combine both my love and read lists for the month again, since it makes more sense. So, let’s go!

July’s Love List

  • Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park – I recently visited the park after years of not going there, and had SO MUCH FUN. I think it is one of Singapore’s most underrated attractions! They put so much effort into taking care of the birds, and I loved walking about the entire day just peeping at flamingoes, parrots, eagles and those penguins! We spent about 6 hours there, and my favorites were the High Flyers show and the Lory’s Feeding. I got pooped on at the Lory’s enclosure, but no biggie, I forgive you for ruining my hair. There’s currently a 49% discount of all tickets till the end of August (National Day Promotion), definitely worth a visit!
  • Umm, each and every time I shave my legs, I end up with a rash, which I end up scratching for the next week, then leaving me with little scars all over my legs. After suffering for a couple of months, I succumbed to Veet Shaving Strips, which I think I will be using for a long time to come. Easy to use, fast, and so effective. My legs were left smooth and rashless. I like to slather on some Nivea Extra Nourishing Milk after, and I’m done – painless, quick routine that I do every 2 weeks.
  • Pretty late to discover (okay I knew they existed but was too lazy to visit) the amazing, a-ma-zing food that Pact by Kilo serves. Popped by for lunch the other day, and ordered the Tuna + Salmon sashimi. The raw cubes of fish were mixed with fresh lime, shoyu, mint, crispy rice and chili flakes, giving you this wonderful medley of tastes in your mouth. I ordered their Beef Short Ribs bowl with quinoa to-go for the boy, and he LOVED it despite it being his first time trying quinoa. (He’s not a healthy eater by the way, so that says a lot.) Check out their full menu here, and prices are pretty reasonable considering the quality and quantity.
  • I’m currently addicted to natural Greek yogurt, topped with some organic honey and sprinkled with a couple handfuls of blueberries. None of that commercial honey ever since I found a bottle of organic mountain honey and it adds such a great dimension to the yogurt. I smash the blueberries around while stirring everything together, and its such a healthy, yummy treat for either breakfast or a midday snack.
  • Coconuts – raw, pure and straight from the husk. Fresh coconut water is so hard to find, and when they are bottled, the prices are pretty insane. I’ve gone all natural and caved in, and have stared buying a couple of fresh coconuts every few days. Chop to open, pour the water into a glass, enjoy. Plus, you’ve got the meat to chomp on after, making it so much more delish. (Realized I’ve a ton of food loves this month, but I’ve been trying to make healthier adjustments to my diet choices.)

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July’s Read List

  • This was a good read about why women cheat, and how one writer went undercover on Ashley Madison and learnt so much more. Relationships require constant commitment and effort, and when either one stops investing or communicating, you can definitely expect the failure of a relationship.
  • This really made me ask myself about motivation and daily habits, and I will be incorporating this into my passwords. I’ve been using the same password for more than 5 years (SUCH BAD DIGITAL HABITS), and am excited for how such a seemingly insignificant change could so greatly impact my life.
  • I’m pretty sure a lot of us have a love-hate relationship with fast fashion. We want to spend healthily and wisely on our fashion choices, even better if our purchases are within budget and wallet-friendly. With all the financial boundaries we have to work with, aka should this amount of money be spent on fashion or food, cheaper is better. Yet at the same time, how ethical is the production of fast fashion? Lower costs, greater guilt? Great read, an issue worth contemplating about.
  • This resonated so deeply with me – 100% how I feel when clients, rather than deferring to your professional opinion, insist on designs to change with their opinions, despite having past proven case studies that prove otherwise. Such a painful, sad process.
  • Why Geniuses Don’t Haves Jobs – interesting read, and I know a couple of people who are like this. I think there’s a lot of thought going into how to break traditional rules when it comes to work in general, not only for individuals who are “different”.. more on that in a later entry.
  • Yes to Slow Change. You can’t rush change, you can’t rush learning, you can’t rush creating something new. So much wisdom in one entry.
  • Our brains are amazing things… and this article reminds me why. I definitely agree that naps improve your overall performance, but I’m not too sure about increased creativity when tired though. What are your experiences?

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Thanks for reading, and till the next one loves!

July: 4 Must-Haves

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Jacket by All Saints, Dress by Forever21, Sandals by Charles&Keith, Necklace by Ariel Gordon.

I must admit, I missed out on June’s must-haves, but am making up to you with these 4 babies. I call this the high-low list – 2 rather expensive items that I’d love to invest in, and 2 cheaper items that will be great additions to your wardrobe for the summer. Or in my case, additions to my wardrobe period, since there’s only summer here in Singapore all year round.

I also have to confess that I cheated a little, since I already own two of the items – but hey, shouldn’t I be sharing the good things? Also, since they’re must-haves, I should have them, no? The sandals are a huge must, comfortable and very chic (you might have seen them on my Instagram), while I await the floral romper to arrive. I’ll keep you updated, worry not. Other than that, still obsessed with everything pearl and everything leather. Why not? Point to note – leather jacket’s sleeves can be removed, turning it into a vest that’s perfect for chilly summer nights. SCORE.

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