Eat Drink KL: Captainade: Artisanal lemonades keep Malaysian pilot on course amid career turbulence

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Captainade: Artisanal lemonades keep Malaysian pilot on course amid career turbulence

When Malaysian pilot Muhammad Afiq Nazar flew his final flight of 2020, returning to Kuala Lumpur from Kota Kinabalu in September, his two-year-old aviation career with the national carrier was temporarily grounded, but that hasn't throttled his work ethic. 

Afiq and his fellow Subang resident, creative arts professional Faiz Hilmi Arshad, both in their mid-twenties, began selling homemade lemonade beside a pisang goreng stall at a sports field in their neighbourhood, earning the attention of weekend evening joggers and motorists.

Now, Captainade is ready to take off for higher altitudes - Afiq and Faiz's brand of lemonades, freshly pressed with zero preservatives, can now be delivered to your doorstep and is set to be available at cafes and other locations in the Klang Valley.

Faiz (left) with Afiq (right) at Subang's Souka Bake Shop

With its pilot's hat logo on every bottle, Captainade is a nod not only to Afiq's occupation but the mentorship of a senior aviator he has flown with, Capt. Nik Izhar, who launched a lemonade business with his wife, Adilla, earlier this year. 

Afiq and Faiz tapped into Capt. Nik's experience and equipment to start Captainade, initially intended to be a change from the sugarcane juice and other typical beverages sold at street stalls. But with Afiq unsure when he would fly again and Faiz keen to tackle a new creative challenge, the two friends soon turned Captainade into a full-fledged brand.

So far, the results have been remarkable: The duo have sold nearly 3,000 bottles, with word-of-mouth from family members helping them clear the runway. Their fans range from younger customers drawn to a hip new drink, to older ones who consider Captainade a health-conscious choice.

For Afiq and Faiz, the response is a testament to Captainade's commitment to quality. Each serving is squeezed on the same day as delivery, so pure in natural lemon richness that it comes complete with the pulp.

Captainade relies on seasonal lemons for its terrific taste. It currently uses a South African varietal, balanced in sweetness and tang, blended with a bit of sugar and water, with no preservatives, fruit concentrate or artificial flavouring.

The lemonade is a wholesome alternative to commercial juices, with all the benefits of a vitamin-powered, detox-friendly hydrator (some folks even like to use lemonade as a breath-freshener). 

At RM30 for five bottles (which calculates to RM6 per 300-ml bottle), Captainade is a fairly priced, hassle-free alternative to making your own lemonade at home. Thanks to Capt. Nik's network, the brand uses professional-grade juicing equipment, bringing out the best in lemons that can cost RM2 per fruit. Free deliveries are offered within the Klang Valley for purchases of at least five bottles; preorders are required a day in advance, with Afiq and Faiz trying to deliver most orders themselves.

Our first encounter with Captainade was on a scorching, humid Wednesday afternoon, after hunting for a parking space in Subang to visit Souka Bake House. Captainade came to the rescue, not only quenching our thirst but reviving our spirits.

Afiq and Faiz have finetuned the lemonade fantastically - it's brightly zippy and zesty but not too tart, with just enough sugar without turning cloying. If you love fresh juices, with flavours that come straight from the fruit and not a factory-made sachet or packet, this is as lively and lovely as lemonades get. Pour it into a glass with some ice, or serve it chilled, and it might become a staple in your fridge, where each bottle can last about five days, perfectly portioned for a fulfilling drink.

The lemonade can easily be paired with savoury food too - it's now sold at Souka, where you can enjoy it with everything from garlic cheese buns to turkey quiche at one of Subang's best-loved bake shops.

In the weeks ahead, you might spot Captainade's distinctive lemonade stand - repurposed from a real-life airline service trolley - at other venues, such as Cycology PJ in collaboration with Just Heavenly Cafe, where cyclists will appreciate a cool perk-me-up after a morning's exercise (Afiq himself is a cyclist who's trying to curb his dependence on isotonic sports drinks).

For now, Captainade serves a frills-free lemonade, but the sky's the limit for its flight plan, with R&D on new flavours (perhaps a matcha lemonade, or one with coconut water?) in the works. And while Afiq vows that Captainade won't fade into the horizon even after he resumes flying next year, we're happy to have an early boarding for this buoyant beverage.


This post first appeared on