At Urban Journey, coffee is an essential part of our lives. Like most people, we wake up feeling grumpy and prepare for work in a haze of lethargy. But the minute the scent of coffee hits our nose, we perk up. Just one sip and the brain starts to run, the eyes brighten, and a satisfied smile spreads across the face. That’s how important coffee is to us. Being serious coffee buffs, we make it our business to know where to find the best java in the area we work, the Central Business District. Read on to learn about our favorite secret and not-so-secret coffee haunts in our hood.
Free the Robot
This hole-in-the-wall cafe is fronted by just a white wall with a small window surrounded quirky blue graphics of robots, and inside you’ll find more robot illustrations along with wooden tables and a black and white tiled floor. The coffee comes any way you like it from straight-up espresso to cappuccino to cold brew, and the menu features great breakfast, lunch and brunch dishes like the Avocado Pesto Toastie, Croissant with egg mayo and smoked salmon, and Truffle Fries, all at very reasonable prices.
If you’re looking for a chill spot to while away a few hours over great coffee and hearty comfort food, Grain Traders should be on your radar. Their high-quality beans come from Papa Palheta with a good variety to choose from including Brazilian, Guatemalan and Ethiopian beans brewed by hand, filter or cold brewed. They also have fresh teas, hot and iced cocoa and enticing menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We highly recommend the Tequila-Cured Salmon Bagel with roasted jalapeno cream cheese and the Banana Cinnamon Oatmeal.
138 Market Street, Capitagreen #01-01/02/03 and 100 Tras Street, 100AM Mall #01-03/04
Any cafe that makes all their espresso-based cuppas with a double shot of espresso deserves kudos in our books, and even more so if those double shots are made with strong single origin beans from primo coffee growing regions from around the world. Jewel Coffee was one of the pioneers in the artisanal third-wave coffee scene in Singapore, and to this day they continue to put out consistently good cups of joe prepared by baristas who really know and love their beans.
Nine locations including Tanjong Pagar Centre, Cecil Street, Collyer Quay, Shenton Way
Dark wood and copper accents create a cosy ambiance at Dapper Coffee, a casual cafe that has fab coffee, an eclectic lunch menu with a mix of healthy and hedonistic fare, and free Wi-Fi to help you while away the hours. Settle in with a latte and a slice of salted egg black sesame cake, or brighten up your Instagram feed with a photo of their famous Unicorn Tears, a sparkly blue bevvy that they swear is ‘mythical animal cruelty free’. By night the space turns into the Spiffy Dapper, a speakeasy style bar.
Adding to Singapore’s specialty coffee scene is Mellower Coffee, a recent transplant from Shanghai. Both their locations are modern and roomy with a good mix of sofas and stools, and they offer a rich and nutty house blend made with beans from Brazil, Ethiopia and Colombia. If you’re into unique coffee creations, try the Sweet Little Rain, which consists of a ball of cotton candy suspended over a steaming Americano so that the candy slowly melts and drips into the coffee.
There’s a real springtime vibe going on at Shop Wonderland, a cute cafe with botanical wallpaper and fresh flowers on the counters and tables. In fact, the cafe also doubles as a florist and a creative workshop where you can learn how to create your own floral arrangements. This is a great place to pop into for a coffee and something sweet, as they have a great selection of cakes like the Earl Grey Lavender Cake, Banana Rum Butterscotch, and White Chocolate Coconut Passionfruit.
134 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: +65 6299 5848
Hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 6pm, Sun: 10am - 6pm
Conveniently located smack dab in the middle of Raffles Place, this glass cafe has become a popular hotspot for working professionals to catch up over great coffee and contemporary cuisine. Grab a seat on the terrace or in the air-conditioned interior and sip on smooth blends made with freshly roasted beans. Shouts go out to their Spanish Baked Eggs and Lobster Mac & Cheese, and craft beers, ciders and cocktails are also in the mix.
Escape the CBD crowds at this cosy little cafe on the fourth level of One Raffles Place. Here you will find specialty coffees made with custom roasted beans and served just the way you like it either cold brew style, straight up espresso, or using their V60 Aeropress for pour-over cuppas. They also have an eclectic food menu featuring items like the Open Roast Beef Sandwich with balsamic tomatoes, rocket and a wobbly sous vide egg, and the Guinness Stout Chocolate Cake.
You’ve got to love a coffee shop that insists on giving double shots for all their coffee drinks, especially when those shots are made with freshly roasted single origin beans from coffee growing regions like Costa Rica, Brazil and Uganda. Not sure what single origin is your style? The staff are super friendly and happy to walk you through the different beans and flavour notes. They also have premium teas and a tasty cakes to go with your caffeine.
The funky décor exudes a friendly and pulsating vibe, while the coffee beans are a good mix of regional and international blends. Organic low-fat soy milk is also used, enhancing the richness of the coffee drinks. Tip: If you're just grabbing a coffee to go, be careful when heading at lunch time, as this spot gets packed.
An offshoot to Strangers' Reunion (home of the two-time and current National Barista Championship), bringing specialty coffee to The Arcade in the CBD. Bitter-sweet and pungent. That’s how they make it, and that’s how we love it. Home to THE current national Barista champion of Singapore, you can be sure the effort that goes into every cup of coffee is of the utmost passion and dedication. This cozy corner is a great place to pick up your coffee and go.
When you think of great coffee, a Japanese fusion joint may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but The Flying Squirrel offers up delicious Papa Palheta coffee along with their delicious sushi rolls and tempura. The vibe here is relaxed, the industrial chic design is cool, and the bar is the perfect spot to settle in for a coffee or tea either alone or with good friends. They also have a delicious Green Tea Latte ($5.20). It’s smooth and silky and perfect for a rainy day.
Fans of Omotesando Koffee in Tokyo and Hong Kong will be happy to know that you will soon be able to get their high-quality coffee right here in Singapore. Slated to open this month in The Work Project, a co-working space in OUE Downtown Gallery Mall, the cafe will feature their signature minimalist design as well as artisan coffees made with beans roasted in Kyoto by Ogawa Coffee Roasters. We hear the baristas have all been trained by baristas from the Tokyo and Hong Kong cafes, so you can be sure your cuppa will be perfect every time.
6 Shenton Way, OUE Downtown Gallery Mall Level 4, The Work Project