1. The traditional kopitiam: Heap Seng Leong
For a quintessential Singapore coffee-drinking experience, make a beeline for Heap Seng Leong. Located along North Bridge Road, this veritable institution is helmed by a father-and-son duo and has been around since the 1970s. Their speciality is kopi gu you – strong local coffee with a dollop of salty butter that enriches and tempers the bitterness of the beverage. If you’re here during breakfast hours, order some charcoal-grilled kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs to make a meal out of it. +65 6292 2368
2. The old-school roaster: Kim Guan Guan Coffee
One of the few traditional roasters left in Singapore, Kim Guan Guan has been supplying quality coffee to many of Singapore’s kopitiams (coffee shops) since 1988. During the roasting process, Indonesian Robusta beans are dark-roasted at a high temperature with the addition of sugar and margarine – this gives the beans the nutty and smooth flavour that characterises local coffee. For your own bag of their coffee beans, place an order on their website.
3. The new-school roaster: Compound Coffee Co
Serious coffee geeks should make a beeline for Compound Coffee Co, located in Kaki Bukit on the eastern end of the city-state. The roasters here take a rigorous and scientific approach to their craft, dedicating plenty of time to training, research and experimentation in order to ensure that each roast highlights the unique flavours present in the beans, which include some of the rarest in the world, such as Indigo 0318 from Ethiopia and Chorinho, from a farm named Daterra in Brazil. Sip on a filter brew or latte in their bright and homey space, and don’t forget to pick up a bag of single-origin coffee beans to take home with you.
4. The coffee cocktail: Loof
Fancy a caffeinated libation with a local twist? Head to Loof – a breezy rooftop bar located on the top floor of Odeon Towers in the city centre – to sample the Kopi Cat. The cheekily named drink is presented in a plastic bag (used to serve coffee in many local hawker centres and food courts) that’s been tucked into an old-school enamel mug. The drink itself features a delicious combination of rum, orange liqueur, mocha and salted caramel foam.
5. The subscription service: Hook Coffee
From single-serving drip sachets to bulk bags of whole beans, speciality coffee subscription service Hook Coffee has something for just about everyone. Coffee beans are sustainably sourced from all over the world – including Kenya, Costa Rica and India – and are either available as single-origin offerings or incorporated into exciting blends. For those who prefer a more acidic coffee, we recommend the Flower Power or Cherry Bomb. If you like something with a heavier body, go for the Gold Digger or Sweet Bundchen.
Discover how Singapore’s coffee culture crosses borders to the American coffee capital of Seattle in this video: