Cafes for coffee in Penang
Penang is an island with plenty of hidden gems, be it for its hawker food haunts or quaint cafes. Its coffee culture has been thriving in recent years too. Find coffee roasters and hole-in-the-wall coffee shops cropping up around town, where award-winning baristas work up their magic behind coffee machines.
With the myriad of old and new speciality coffee shops in Penang these days, it isn’t hard to find a decent cup of coffee in any cafe. To help you narrow down your options, here are 10 cafes for coffee in Penang that should not be missed if you’re serious about your daily cup of joe.
Table of Contents
- Cafes for coffee in Penang
- 1. Ome by Spacebar Coffee – for a stellar cup of hand brew drip coffee
- 2. Forest Cloud Coffee Roasters – coffee roastery with coffee kombucha
- 3. Constant Gardener Coffee – a tranquil space with zen vibes
- 4. Wells Cafe – originated from Taiwan
- 5. Reframe Coffee Roasters – on-site coffee roastery
- 6. Little Collins Street Cafe – a welcoming European-style cafe
- 7. Lunabar Coffee – cafe for plant & coffee lovers
- 8. The Alley – speciality coffee by award-winning baristas
- 9. R Coffee Co. – hidden cafe in a guesthouse
- 10. 15Grams – baking studio with takeaway coffees & cakes
- Cafes for coffee in Penang
1. Ome by Spacebar Coffee – for a stellar cup of hand brew drip coffee
Image credit: @ong_suki
Nestled within a labyrinth of heritage houses in George Town, Ome by Spacebar Coffee was once a hidden pride among its regulars. Now, you’ll see a line snaking along an alleyway that leads to the cafe’s gorgeous verdant entrance – garlands of green, leafy tendrils bestrewn with flowers drooping over the doorway.
Speciality coffees are Ome’s forte, with light- and medium-roasted beans sourced from local and international roasters on rotation. Fret not if you aren’t well-versed in the types of beans and their aromas, as knowledgeable baristas here are always willing to offer drink suggestions.
The coffees are simple, but well-executed and brewed with great precision. Served in a 6oz cup with a single espresso shot, the White Coffee (RM10) here is satisfyingly light and smooth, with a hint of sweetness from milk. Else, choose from a selection of beans and revel in the melange of flavours as you sip on their Hand Brew Drip Coffee (RM18), the aftertaste a gratifying finish.
Image credit: @bloop.eats
With a focus on coffees, Ome’s edibles are limited to cakes displayed at the counter, mostly as accompaniments to the bitter coffees. Nevertheless, the Olive Oil & Zucchini Bread (RM13) is a hefty and wonderfully moist slab served with sour cream, while the Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cake (RM15) makes an especially spectacular pal to the robust beverages.
While this friendly coffee joint is everything you would hope for from a quaint neighbourhood cafe, the space has limited seats – so do note that dining is limited to an hour per group of patrons, if you happen to drop by on a busy morning.
Address: 1, Lorong Toh Aka, George Town, 10100 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: Sat – Wed 7.30am-4pm (Closed on Thursdays and Fridays)
Contact: 019-690 8259 | Ome by Spacebar Coffee’s Facebook | Instagram
2. Forest Cloud Coffee Roasters – coffee roastery with coffee kombucha
Image credit: @forestcloudbev
More than just a chic cafe, Forest Cloud Coffee Roasters is a spacious coffee shop, roastery, and experience store – a combination of a coffee academy, R&D coffee lab, and even a coffee machine “clinic”.
Sleek, airy, and light, this cafe makes a wonderful pitstop for freshly roasted coffee made with their own in-house blend. Snag a seat by the window, where you can watch the bustle of central George Town as you idle your time away with a cup of coffee.
At a cafe where the roasting process happens right at the back of the store, having a cup of their Filter Coffee (RM16-25) is the best way to sample their variety of roasts. Or go for the simple White Coffee (RM11) – nothing like a strong expertly pulled coffee to awaken your senses.
If you’re in the mood for something lighter, try their speciality beverages such as Miyama Matcha Latte (RM13) or signature Hojicha Latte (RM13). Sourced directly from Kyoto, the tea used in the drinks are packed with deeply-soothing earthy notes and umami flavours.
Forest Cloud also offers a series of in-house Kombucha (RM45), uniquely concocted with their signature flavours – Coffee, Hojicha, Matcha, and Cocoa. To retain their flavour and freshness, these kombuchas are only available within Penang Island, and are brewed and bottled in small batches.
Image credit: @maggie19c
While you can purchase drinks and desserts at the counter, a part of the cafe is reserved for serious coffee drinkers who want to shop for roasted beans, tea collections, as well as coffee equipment and machines. If you aren’t living in Penang, Forest Cloud also delivers their products throughout Peninsular Malaysia.
3. Constant Gardener Coffee – a tranquil space with zen vibes
Image credit: @brewdepartment
Housed in the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce Building, Constant Gardener Coffee is a long-established coffee haven and a favourite spot for locals to refuel at when exploring the streets of George Town.
Unlike many cafes that are the buzz of the town for a short while before disappearing, this spot has become a mainstay in Penang’s coffee scene, consistently serving up quality brews with excellent service.
This sliver of a cafe oozes zen vibes – warm auburn planks cover the coffee counters and tables, while a wall of potted plants embellish the space. Serene and comfortable – and with plenty of available plug points available around the cafe – many linger over hushed conversations in the cosy corners of this coffee shop, while others sip on their drinks quietly as they read or write.
Expect the order the usuals here – including rich Lattes (RM13) and perfectly-pulled shots of Espresso (RM8). While their brews are topnotch, customers rave about their luscious hot chocolate drinks too – Dark Hot Rich Chocolate (RM14) or Gardener’s Dark Magic (RM15).
Image credit: @cariesty_lim_
For snacks, there are a range of cakes and pastries displayed at the counter. There is also a selection of interesting ice-cream flavours served in scoops of two, such as Cendol (RM13), Macadamia Nut (RM14), and Mango Lassi (RM12).
If you don’t plan to hold back on the sweet treats, go for the Ice Cream Sandwich (RM16) – a delicious mess comprising generous scoops of ice-cream nestled between a hefty croissant.
Catch their Early Bird Menu, from 9am till 11am on weekdays, and you might snag discounts on selected menu items.
Address: Ground Floor, Penang Chinese Chamber Of Commerce Building, 9, Lebuh Light, 10200 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: 9am-8pm, Daily
Contact: 011-6078 7883 | Constant Gardener Coffee’s website | Facebook | Instagram
4. Wells Cafe – originated from Taiwan
Image credit: @wuei_loon
Originated and founded in Taiwan back in 2013, Wells Cafe has since found a home in Penang.
Their revamped two-storey space at Hin Bus Depot is a mix of modern and retro. It is predominantly contemporary, but has traditional touches such as dark wood panels, wooden communal seatings, old-school furnishings, tall leafy plants, and ample natural light that give the cafe a down-to-earth vibe.
The cafe takes pride in their thorough roasting and brewing processes, specialising in light roasting with two distinct styles – Traditional Japanese, which creates a sweet and complex brew, and Modern Nordic which has a balanced, bright and fruity flavour profile.
In-the-know coffee fans will be delighted by their extensive pour over coffee options – there’s the full-bodied and robust Brazil Minas Gerais Lambari (RM16), or Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Harfusa (RM16) with distinct floral notes. If you’re not one for bitter black coffee, Cinnamon Cappuccino (RM14) and their selection of Chocolate drinks (RM16-20) are crowd pleasers.
Image credit: @jonbongg
While customers enjoy the fruit of roast upstairs, the ground floor of the cafe is where their baristas go about their business behind the coffee bar, and brewing equipment is displayed.
From packets of house blends that line the shelves to the cafe’s own kitsch and merchandise – such as tote bags and tumblers – you can spend some time browsing through their small retail corner for anything that you might fancy.
Image credit: @jsm0998
5. Reframe Coffee Roasters – on-site coffee roastery
Image credit: @batugotravel
The pocket-sized Reframe Coffee Roasters may don an unassuming shopfront, but the cafe has undoubtedly some of the best beans and brews on the island.
Here, you’ll find yourself among a community of friendly coffee enthusiasts, baristas-in-training, and cafe regulars – all of whom will chat up a storm with you, especially when it comes to geeking out about anything coffee.
The baristas here take their coffee seriously. Besides sourcing some of the best beans from around the world, the small-but-mighty cafe has an on-site coffee roastery where their in-house beans are roasted and later used to serve expertly-brewed speciality coffee.
Their menu is blissfully straightforward. If you’re looking to properly experience their blends, go for a quality cup of brilliantly-pulled Espresso (RM8), Black Coffee (RM8), or White Coffee (RM10). They rotate single origins daily, so don’t hesitate to approach the helpful baristas for customisations and recommendations.
Image credit: @where.i.drink
Less-caffeinated options include delicate Hojo Tea (RM12) selections or a creamy Chai Latte (RM12) served with non-dairy milk.
Like other coffee sanctuaries that focus solely on their brews, Reframe Coffee doesn’t serve any food. But they are more than happy to offer a simple but indulgent liege-style Waffle (RM10) topped with scoops of ice-cream.
Image credit: @loft.67
Their coffee beans are supplied to a number of cafes in Penang, and are available for orders on their website as well.
6. Little Collins Street Cafe – a welcoming European-style cafe
Image credit: @tomoko_lifelog
Reminiscent of a cafe tucked in the cobblestoned heart of England, Little Collins Street is a treat for Instagrammers and coffee-loving customers alike.
Step into the quintessentially English cafe, with its old-school tiled floors and French bistro rattan chairs, and you’ll feel worlds away from the busy streets of George Town. The cafe is packed with Parisian references, including an antique grandfather clock and a collection of European paintings framed on their walls.
Image credit: @ooowenong
While the cafe’s ambience pulls a good crowd during the weekends, it isn’t just the aesthetics that makes the cafe worth a visit. Their extensive drink menu boasts the usual caffeine choices as well as a decent selection of speciality latte that’ll appeal to casual and curious coffee drinkers.
A strong cup of Black Coffee (RM10) or Flat White (RM11) are some go-to favourites. But we recommend the Rose Latte (RM12), or Affogato (RM16) which will settle both your dessert and coffee cravings.
Image credit: @aroundthecoffeeshops
The barista bar holds a fairly large display of tempting sweet treats and light pastries – it’ll be hard to turn a blind eye towards them. Like their IG-worthy interiors, these homemade bakes are just as eye-pleasing.
Some of the standouts are the gorgeously crisp Cream Cheese Croissants (RM8). Their massive Cookies (RM10) – Chocolate Chip, Matcha, Red Velvet, and Chocolate Peanut Butter – are so decadent, one could be considered a meal in itself.
7. Lunabar Coffee – cafe for plant & coffee lovers
Image credit: @eatswithjojo_
Lunabar Coffee is housed in a white building, located on a quiet street where there’s a stretch of residential houses and small offices. Without any obvious signs, you might easily miss out on this cafe, if not for its immensely verdant entrance.
The dense jungle of leafy plants takes up the entire front, except for a slight partition as a walkway leading to the cafe.
Image credit: @deerang_625
Inside, it is no less green. This neighbourhood coffee shop feels more like a friend’s cosy home, with simple furnishings, mini bookshelves, random knick-knacks and collectibles, as well as smatterings of plants at almost every corner of the space.
You might even spot a few furry felines slinking about the cafe.
The cafe’s uncomplicated menu comprises amazing beverages that uses freshly-roasted beans. Their speciality would be their Hand-drip Coffee (RM18) – but they make a mean Latte (RM15) as well.
Don’t hesitate to ask the friendly baristas about their seasonal beans, which vary quite often.
For some wildcards, try the Coffee Lemonade (RM12) or Hojicha Latte (RM13). Otherwise, order a pot of Tea (RM10) to share, which pairs well with their simple yet astoundingly delicious treats, especially their Banana Bread (RM12).
Image credit: @wendywonderstruck
Lunabar Coffee hosts pop-up stores that sell books and clothes, typically every other weekend. So drop by to spend hours browsing for items and sipping on coffee at the cafe.
Address: 10d, Jalan Clove Hall, George Town, 10050 George Town, Penang
Opening hours: Thu-Mon 11am-6pm (Closed on Tuesdays & Wednesdays)
Contact: 010-932 2810 | Lunabar Coffee’s website | Facebook | Instagram
8. The Alley – speciality coffee by award-winning baristas
Image credit: @psylancer
It is easy to walk right past The Alley and its modest facade. But locals would know that the old-school shoplot is actually home to an OG Penang cafe. Simply look out for a sign that reads Kedai Gaharu Keat Seang, and keep your fingers crossed for available seats at this popular shoebox-sized cafe.
The Alley is a homey haven and a vintage treasure trove. Find steel top tables, old-school armchairs, newspaper clippings plastered on the walls, and even a retro gaming machine here.
Image adapted from: @thealleypenang & @tqzzzzzz
One sip of their coffee and you’ll see how this cafe stood the test of time.
With a team of professional baristas – who snagged second place in the Malaysia Brewers Cup 2022 – their brews and pulls will not disappoint coffee connoisseurs. Sample their best with Pour-overs (RM16) or Cold Brew (RM13), made with single-origins. To try their house blends, you might fancy a Piccolo (RM10) or Cold Brew White (RM15).
Non-coffee drinkers will find their Single Origin Chocolate (RM14) a more-ish cup, and the Uji Matcha (RM14) a pleasantly earthy and sleekly-sweet drink.
If you happen to be dropping by after your temple and jetty expeditions nearby, you might find their Sodas (from RM13) and Coldies (from RM14) more refreshing choices.
Image credit: @jhphotography_95
The Alley isn’t just known for their coffee – they whip up crowd-favourite Churros (RM12) – these sticks of fried fritters are dusted in sugar and Oreo crumbs, with a dip of your choice. Their Supreme Burnt Cheesecake (RM16), a silky and velvety beauty, is another winner among customers.
Image credit: @psylancer
R Coffee Co. is a sleek coffee shop tucked away inside a guesthouse – The Frame.
The cafe’s roomy space oozes contemporary minimalism with a clean and airy interior that brings in plenty of natural light – the perfect respite from the hustle and heat of George Town. They use their space well too – there are plenty of seating areas, a simple barista bar, and even a small tranquil courtyard.
Though they are new to the coffee scene in Penang, R Coffee Co. is not a cafe to be overlooked. The baristas are professional when it comes to the brewing – you can taste the expertise in their coffee.
Choose from single-origin beans or their house blend for their coffee drinks. Their Espresso (RM8/small and RM10/large) will give you a satisfyingly bitter kick, while Flat White (RM1/small and RM13/large) has the right amount of nuttiness and milkiness.
Non-coffee drinkers can order iced drinks, such as Sparkling Black Tea (RM13), or Matcha Lemon Tonic (RM15) which is an uncanny but surprisingly refreshing concoction.
Image credit: @carmenbeloved
If you’re feeling peckish, pick a sweet treat from the glass display right by the counter. Favourite choices among patrons are the Niko Neko Matcha Cream Cheese Pound or Valrhona Dark Chocolate Pound (RM15/slice), each served with a cascade of soft cream, freshly whipped upon request.
10. 15Grams – baking studio with takeaway coffees & cakes
Image credit: @sum_jinyi
Penangites have likely heard of 15Grams Cakes & Coffee Bar. When talking about coffee shops in Penang, this spot is often brought up by coffee lovers. The cafe recently halted their business in the midst of moving to a new space, leaving regulars longing for a sip of their brews again.
Now hidden in the backstreets of a residential neighbourhood – in a garage, to be precise – 15Grams has been converted into a baking studio with a takeaway coffee counter, so regulars can still swing by for coffee, which are still as good as ever.
Image adapted from: 15Grams
While their new ordering procedure might take an order or two for some getting used to, the ingenuity of this grab-and-go will have you picking up your daily cup of joe here due to the convenience of it.
To order, simply click on the link on their IG page and cart your coffee or dessert picks. Once your payment is through – voilà, your steaming cup of coffee will be ready for you when you arrive at the desired time. Delivery options are available as well.
Image adapted from: 15Grams
There is a mix of old favourites and new beverages on their revamped coffee menu. Of the many bestsellers they have, we recommend Black Angel (RM15) – an iced black coffee with a foamy layer of their special in-house cream on top, making the coffee smoother than it already is.
Their Level Latte (RM13) is also a crowd-favourite – a 4oz cup of intense espresso is elevated with a splash of cold cream and milk.
Image adapted from: 15Grams
Non-coffee drinkers can go for the rich Hojicha (RM14) or Matcha (RM14). But if iced beverages are more to your speed, we recommend their soda drinks such as Raspberry Summer (RM16) and Matcha Lemon Fizz (RM15).
While their drinks are a highlight, their bakes are adored by customers as well. Find Korean-style roll cakes on their menu for RM18 per slice. Flavours include Orange Passionfruit, Black Sesame, and Pandan Sweet Potato, all as impressive to behold as they are delicious to eat.
15Grams accepts whole cake orders as well.
Cafes for coffee in Penang
A great cup of coffee has become an essential part of Penang’s food and cafe culture. So it’s no surprise that there are an abundance of cafes on the island, which caffeine enthusiasts frequent and coffee connoisseurs would approve of.
Be it in-house roasted beans, excellent drip coffee, speciality beverages, soothing ambience or decadent desserts, this list of cafes in Penang for coffee lovers has the locals’ stamps of approval.
Other food places to check out in Penang:
- P.66, a minimalist cafe hidden in a stationery shop
- Dear You, a hidden Korean-inspired cafe with DIY toasts
- Level 2 Coffee & Food, industrial cafe with an outdoor campsite