Seeking coffee, here, there & everywhere: We've sniffed out the scent of fresh caffeine in three continents for this sweeping survey of what cities in Australia, Europe & Asia offer cafe-hoppers.
First up, Industry Beans, one of the most acclaimed openings this year in Melbourne, the Australian city that chiefly inspired the recent surge in KL's cafes & coffee bars. Tracing this trend back to its roots seems like an essential experience.
Industry Beans is parked in a warehouse brimming with bags of beans from across the world, bursting with regional, estate & micro-lot coffees that pass strict cupping & evaluation processes.
A role model for what ambitious Malaysian cafes can aspire to someday be: Industry Beans elevates the science & art of preparing coffee, including by infusing it in the cleverest of cuisines.
Exhibit A: A kangaroo burger, inimitably Aussie, mounted with marsupial meat crowned with coffee mustard, caramelized leeks & a relish of tomato & fennel in a brioche bun, accompanied by vegetable chips.
Customers can have their coffee & eat it at Industry Beans: Try the likes of latte pearls ...
... cold-drip caviar ...
... stick-to-the-teeth coffee toffee ...
... & aeropress jelly, trail-blazing examples of what can be done with raw/roasted/brewed coffee.
And the beverages? Also among the best to be found anywhere; sip on the Brothers Blend, distinctively composed of two Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffees, 60 percent washed from the village of Dusermo & 40 percent natural from the high slopes of Aricha Keble.
Next up, teleporting thousands of miles to Athens, where contemporary cappuccinos are slowly but steadily seeking to challenge traditional Greek coffee.
In a city where history rules, Mokka is a cornerstone for coffee lovers, with a family legacy that stretches back four generations to 1922, visited by prime ministers, poets & painters through the decades; today, it blends that heritage with modern perspectives on coffee.
Mokka's also known as the first Greek company to use certified specialty coffees in its blends, employing single-origin beans from Central America & elsewhere. Forget pretty latte art for these beverages; looks matter little as far as Mokka's baristas are concerned.
Greek coffee coexists harmoniously with frappes on Mokka's menu, boiled instead of brewed for bitter-creamy concentration & paired with loukomi, similar to Turkish delights.
Finally, our road brings us back home to KL, to Nowhereman, a casual pop-up coffee bar that popped up this week in Bangsar, spearheaded by Artisan Roast, the venerable brand that we've covered faithfully since its birth in Ampang nearly three years ago.
Run by jovial barista Joey Mah, Nowhereman's venue for the next six months is a suitably & strikingly stark set-up, sharing a space with a nearly monochromatic clothing store showcasing the work of fashion wunderkinds Joe Chia & Justin Chew on a Telawi shop-lot's second floor.
Mah emphasizes interaction with customers at the frills-free Nowhereman, whose signature 'Cough Syrup' blend comprises Colombian & Indonesian beans, described as a deliverer of citrus acidity & an orange peel finish. Some may wonder, why visit Nowhereman if Artisan's easily accessible in Bangsar Village, PJ & TTDI? The response: this blend is exclusively brewed here.
Black, white, mocha Valrhona _ pick your poison.
The food at Nowhereman is carefully selected to support local entrepreneurs: Gourmet sandwiches of sourdough stuffed with smoked salmon, as well as carb-rich pleasures filled with egg, rib-eye steak or chicken are also available ...
... courtesy of Tommy Lee, better known as Tommy Le Baker ...
... plus sweet treats like crumbly-fluffy baby buttermilk lemon poundcakes topped with juicy berries & Yuletide-appropriate, richly complex but not cloying brownies with twin-colored chocolate, cranberries & nuts thoughtfully perfected by Karen Tan, the charismatic curator of TartArt. All in all, Nowhereman (a Beatles-inspired moniker? maybe) marks a nice addition to KL's cafe scene & a satisfying way to wrap up this globetrotting coffee-&-more crawl.
Warehouse 3, Corner of Rose & Fitzroy Street, Melbourne, Australia
Mon-Fri, 7am-4pm; Sat-Sun, 8am-5pm
Mokka Specialty Coffee
Athinas Street, Athens, Greece
Second Floor (note: no signboard), 20, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur
Daily for now, 9am-9pm. Opposite Alexis & G3 Kitchen, above the Live It Up store.
The Oct.-Dec. edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favorites is now available in an eBook for free, convenient reading on computers, tablets & smartphones. It comprises reviews of 100 eateries that span various locations, cuisines & budgets: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favorites-Oct-Dec-2013 (link expires Dec. 31, 2013; see blog entries after that date for new link)