I am not a fan of big cities, but Kuala Lumpur is for sure the one that I could fall in love with. It is multicultural and combines modernity with tradition in a unique way: skyscrapers, mega sized shopping malls and parks on one way, temples, mosques, night bazars and street food on the other. In such an environment, specialty coffee scene was a must. And for sure, Kuala Lumpur is very developed in this segment, from highly professional roasters to amazing coffee shops and skilled baristas.
I’ll present you below 4 coffee shops that I visited during my stay in KL.
1. THREE LITTLE BIRDS (and ARTISAN ROAST)
This industrial design coffee shop is situated in Sentul area, away from the city’s centre buzz. I had the chance to meet Joey, one of the owner of Three Little Birds coffee shop and the roaster behind Artisan Roast. He introduced me to his roastery, which is situated near the coffee shop. Joey is in the back of sourcing the coffee beans, he does direct sourcing from Colombia, Brazil and Indonesia, but you will find in his range a lot of other single origins: Kenya, Ethiopia etc. The roasting is done on a Smart Roaser by Loring. They roast as well for other coffee shops in Kuala Lumpur and other cities in Malaysia.
Artisan Roast is also home of trainings for baristas going to competitions. For example, the winner of 2017 Malaysian Barista Competition trained in Artisan’s facility and he won with one of Artisan’s coffee.
I had a V60 pour over from an Ethiopia Nano Chala, which blown me away.
Do not forget to taste their freshly roasted and own processed chocolate, branded SENIMAN. If you are a chocolate lover, you won’t regret tasting it. As they say, “it can lead to sudden bouts of happiness”.
Address: D7, Junction of Jalan Sentul and Jalan Enam, Kuala Lumpur
VCR is a very good looking coffee shop, situated in the heart of KL city. The café was built in 1927 and the place was remodelled, adding a modern twist to the old architecture, keeping its original, old charm.
I met Kenneth Lee, the head barista and the roaster from VCR. This year, he won 3rd place in Malaysian Barista Competition and I had the chance to taste his competition coffee, Panama Finca Deborah Geisha. I had a V60 pour over which was clean, jasmine and apricots taste, sweet with a black tea aftertaste. Wonderful!
On the ground floor is the bar and a few seats and on the first floor you’ll find a nice, airy zone with rattan chairs.
Go there, taste their sensational coffees and don’t miss out the cakes!
Address: 2, Jalan Galloway, Kuala Lumpur
Artelier coffee shop is situated in the heart of Bintang Bukit area, in the shopping centre Pavilion. Unusual for a specialty coffee shop location, but a very nice surprise.
The coffee shop is owned by 2009 Japan Barista Champion and is modern decorated, as a shopping mall place usually is.
It’s well equipped with a Black Eagle from Nuova Simonelli and with passionate baristas. Rain, the head barista prepared some amazing V60 from a Kenya, then another one from a Colombia Huila AAA, roasted in Japan by Glitch Coffee & Roasters and last, a cappuccino from Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. Even if there are no seats at the bar, I recommend you to stand there and have a chat about coffee with the barista.
Address: Pavilion Kuala Lumpur in Bukit Bitang (Lot 2.75.00, Level 2)
4. RGB & The Bean Hive
When coffee meets friendly and passionate people, you have RGB (rather good beans). RGB was the loveliest surprise in Kuala Lumpur, because their approach is very friendly, their staff are funny and communicative and because it makes you feel like you know everybody in there since a lifetime.
RGB roasts their coffee on a Diedrich roasting machine and they own a Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machine. They were calibrating the grinder and I had the chance to make my own cappuccino. The decoration of the place is absolutely lovely, a very friendly and hisptery approach with colourful chairs, tables and sofa, with bookshelves on the walls.
I truly recommend this place, and do try their vegetarian burgers. We did it and it was one of the best things we have eaten.
Adress: 35, Jalan Damai, Kampung Datuk Keramat, Kuala Lumpur