The Best Coffee in Singapore
This article on Best Singapore Coffee was created and first published by TheSmartLocal.com.
To write this guide, we enlisted the help of @alainlicious, a true coffee aficionado whom we met by chance. We casually asked him what his favourite cafes and were blown away by the level of detail and analysis he had for each of them, and in particular the coffee they served.
People often asked me for suggestions for cafes which serve the BEST coffee. I am pleased to introduce my first effort with TheSmartLocal on this guide to the 15 Best Cafes for Coffee in Singapore.
You may be wondering, “Why fifteen cafes, and not twenty or thirty?”. There is no magic number, however I just felt that this number is just right, and I would not want to bore you down by reading hundreds of coffee reviews.
This guide was compiled based on a holistic approach of various factors, such as taste and aroma (quality), value (affordability), style and coffee art (presentation). I hope serious coffee lovers or those who have been searching for a good coffee joint will now have their answers all in one page. Apart from Highlander and CSHH, all these pictures were taken by myself during visits to these cafes.
Here's my list of the 15 cafes that serve the best coffee in Singapore, in no particular order.
Sarnies is one of those perfect places for early risers and working executives in the heart of the Central Business District. Simply named for their sandwiches, Sarnies serve a concise menu of hearty salads and sandwiches in the day, while their menu changes in the evenings. This café offers a solid brunch menu during the weekends.
I love the coffee at Sarnies for the consistency in their well-roasted blend and strength in taste. Whenever I am at Sarnies, I always order cup of flat white for its well-bodied aroma and taste.
2. Nylon Coffee
This used to be a hidden gem in the Everton Park neighbourhood, but this tiny place is no longer a stranger to many coffee drinkers. They have since expanded to include a communal table and a few more seats.
Nylon serves freshly-brewed coffee from its unique blend of seasonal coffee beans. The coffee here is truly outstanding, strong and flavourful.
3. Liberty Coffee
The one and only coffee roaster in Singapore that sporadically opens during seemingly random days. You actually have to make effort to check on their social media pages on Facebook and Instagram, for their opening announcement in order to drop by and a good cup of coffee.
Alternatively, you can always taste Liberty’s coffee at some of their partner cafes - Namely Patisserie G, Artistry, Flock Cafe, and a few others.
Artistry is more than just a cafe. It is a platform for emerging artists to début their exhibitions, host talks and performances. The space at Artistry is also an art gallery where you can admire the art pieces hanging on the walls of the cafe.
Serving up the locally roasted Liberty Coffee, Artistry proffers an honest menu of brunch food and artisan desserts.
The coffee here is definitely a plus for me. The barista at Artistry serves a real good shot of espresso so much so that I often have two cups of coffee before leaving this place.
5. The Plain
The Plain lives up to its name for their simple interior, comfort food, and great coffee. Breakfast is served all day here. They are perfect for late risers and those who desire toasts, eggs and sandwiches at any time of the day.
The Plain does their most perfect cup of coffee with their exclusive blend of Genovese beans. I strongly recommend the Flat White if you are looking for something Melbourne-styled. The coffee at The Plain persists deep into a smoothly balanced finish.
Ronin does not have a signboard, or any clear indication from the outside. Many people would just walk past and miss it. Here’s a tip to spot Ronin - look out for the giant metallic plate that reads 17 Hong Kong Street, and the heavily tinted doors.
Opened by the same folks behind The Plain and The Bravery, you can expect good coffee and excellent sandwiches from this mysterious cafe.
7. Toby’s Estate
Toby’s Estate a renowned coffee chain from Australia, is definitely the place to go for caffeine and brunch. Located by the river along Robertson Quay, Toby’s Estate has an alfresco area for those who like to enjoy their cup of coffee quietly on a weekday afternoon. There is indoor seating at a large communal table, if you are here with a big group of friends.
Toby’s Estate takes pride in roasting and blending their own coffees, for its unique identity and specialities. The espresso at Toby’s Estate does not taste too acidic. In fact, you can actually taste a bit of sweetness in their coffee blend.
8. One Man Coffee
One Man Coffee is the newest cafe along Upper Thomson Road that has joined the current wave of hipster cafes brewing in Singapore. It shares the same floor area with Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar. Thus, look out for the latter’s signage and you will not miss it. One Man Coffee offers a lean all-day brunch menu and a variety of pastries sourced from artisanal bakeries.
Though the space here is extremely small, it has its own unique charm and vibe. From the name itself, you can actually tell the concept of their brew. One barista crafts one coffee beverage for one person at one time. In this way, the coffee can be perfected for one to enjoy.
9. Department of Caffeine
Located in the area of Duxton Hill, Department of Caffeine (Commonly known as D.O.C.) is one cafe to watch out for when you are around the neighbourhood. Apart from its sheer good and unpretentious food, D.O.C. brews pleasing cups of coffee for its customers.
The Department of Caffeine takes coffee seriously and utilise coffee beans from sustainable source. The baristas at D.O.C. pull a full-bodied coffee that can perk me up and possibly last me more than half a day.
10. La Ristrettos
The most unexpected cafe, hidden in the crevice of Novena Medical Center. It is small but cozy, serves good ristretto shots and interesting food menu.
Outdoor seats are also available in the garden for you to breathe in some fresh air. The coffee at La Ristrettos is rich and strong, but it does not leave behind any bitter after-taste.
11. Chye Seng Huat Hardware
Chye Seng Huat Hardware (CSHH) may sound and look like a long-running hardware shop by its name and exterior, but it is actually one of the most popular cafes in Singapore.
I do not usually fancy iced coffee, but due to the hot climate in Singapore, sometimes I tend to order that. CSHH’s cold brew is exceptional, which I would order, rather than simply having an iced latte. Their version of cold brew is cool, flavour-packed and simply enjoyable.
12. Highlander Coffee
A missing gem that is so well kept, some coffee enthusiasts do not even know its existence. They are located at Kampong Bahru Road, not far away from Strangers Reunion, which has a lot of ongoing hype and noticeably long queues.
Highlander Coffee, on the other hand is much quieter than its neighbour. Although they may not have the hipster look of a cafe that most expect, they certainly have one of the best coffee around.
The folks at Highlander Coffee are unpretentious, and totally serious and passionate about their coffee. I always enjoy my cup of caffeine at this tiny quaint cafe.
13. Jewel Coffee
A coffee boutique also located in the Central Business District, serving light meals such as sandwiches and salads for the busy executives getting their caffeine fix.
Jewel Coffee is known to serve double shots for its cup of brew. They are ideal for coffee drinkers who like their coffee slightly bitter with an astringent quality.
For those who are looking for an extensive menu of food, you can check out their second outlet, Jewel Cafe + Bar, which offers a selection of unique creation. Additionally, cocktails and speciality coffees are also available there.
14. Common Man Coffee Roasters
Located just a stone's throw away from Robertson Quay, Common Man Coffee Roasters (CMCR) is one place which stands out among the slew of cafes with their quirky exterior and uncommonly polished interior.
CMCR serves a menu of bistro-quality food that goes hand-in-hand with their coffee selection of unconventional blends. The coffee beans at CMCR are from 5 Senses Coffee, a brand from Australia, which is generally smooth and velvety with a little acidic backnote.
15. Oriole Coffee Roaster
Just off the Keong Saik stretch, this hidden gem is a nice, quiet hideout perfect for a good cup of coffee and chat with a companion.
With a blend of old school and modern, Oriole offers affordable comfort food and quality coffee beverages. Apart from the regular espresso, latte and cappuccino, coffee lovers will be delighted with their Oriole specials, which are double ristretto servings of the Oriole espresso blend, as well as some of their winning coffee creations.
This comes to the end of our guide to the best coffee in Singapore. I hope you found it interesting and informative and that it aids your future cafe hopping sessions. Do post your comments if you do discover outstanding coffee and cafes outside my list that deserve to be recognized.
I hope to explore more coffee places, and welcome all coffee lovers to join me on my coffee trails. You can follow me on my Instagram (@alainlicious) for my latest visits.