The best coffee in Singapore

Our critics pick the best places for coffee in Singapore
By Time Out Singapore editors |
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In a city where sleek coffee machines can be found at every turn, you'll want to drink only from the best. So, at the risk of caffeine overdose, we go on the hunt for the most kick-ass cup of Joe you can find on the island – these are our top picks of the best coffee joints in Singapore. 

RECOMMENDED: The best quiet cafés with free Wi-Fi to do work in

Restaurants, Cafés

Nylon Coffee Roasters

icon-location-pin Outram

Dennis Tang and Lee Jia Min's tiny coffee outpost single-handedly turned Everton Park into hip neighbourhood. At this baristas' hangout, coffees are simple black or white affairs, in 3-, 5- and 7-ounce measures. And its staple Four Chairs Seasonal Blend is a common sight across cafés around town.

Nylon's roasts also made it on The New Black's curation of top-notch coffees from around the world, and the pair takes yearly trips to bean-growing regions like El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia and Costa Rica to get up-close with the product – that's dedication right there.

Restaurants, Italian

Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee

icon-location-pin Queenstown

Tan Tiong Hoe taught the founder of local roaster Papa Palheta, Leon Foo, how to roast his coffee. Now Jacob Tan rides on his father’s expertise. There is no menu, so ask for any brew from the rotational range of single-origin coffee beans roasted, ground and brewed in-house, and expect clean-note long black brews in a refined reddish-brown colour coming out from the vintage Elektra espresso machine or the V60.

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Restaurants

Alchemist

icon-location-pin Tanjong Pagar

Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters has opened a tiny little venture so that caffeinated beans can reach the people in the CBD area. At Alchemist, get your coffee black or white and in two sizes, namely six- or 12-ounces, in a to-go cup to kickstart your day. Choose between two espresso brews – Dark Matter is bolder and has a nutty aftertaste while the Luminous blend is lighter with a fruitier flavour ($3-$6). Add an extra shot of expresso or chocolate for a buck. It also offers two filter blends to try ($5).

Atlas Coffeehouse
Photo: Simon Toh
Restaurants

Atlas Coffeehouse

icon-location-pin Bukit Timah

Assembly Coffee gets a sibling café in the Coronation neigbourhood. Atlas Coffeehouse is owners Daphne Goh and Lionel Ang realisation of a goal to serve more hot food than Assembly's tiny kitchen can handle. There are dishes like creamy mushrooms on sourdough ($12) with the option to add a sunny side ($2) or scrambled eggs ($3), and glazed salmon and a fried egg with crisped edges on soba noodles ($17) are their early stars. Assembly's ever-popular waffles ($12-$14) are also on the menu here, and Atlas has also introduced pancakes topped with caramelised bananas or honeycomb ice cream ($18) to its desserts menu – more sweets are on the way, including a pavlova topped with lemon curd and berry compote.

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Restaurants

Jewel Coffee

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

This growing brand of grab-and-go coffees, with an outlet in Rangoon Road, is more than just a way to pick up a quick boost. Hit up the brew bar for a tasty blended or single-origin sip to conquer the post-lunch sleepies.

Restaurants

Caffe Vergnano

icon-location-pin City Hall

Italy's oldest coffee roaster has landed in Singapore. Forget Third Wave – Caffe Vergnano has been a part of coffee culture since 1882, when Dominico Vergnano first started the company in the small town of Cheri in the foothills of Turin. Today, the company is still family owned and run by direct descendants of Dominico, ensuring the quality of the beans. Have a taste of this historic cup of coffee at Caffe Vergnano's 100th café in the world and its first in Singapore. Located in South Beach, the caffeine joint is primed to serve people looking to grab a cuppa in the morning or have their meetings over an espresso or one of its signature hot chocolate drinks ($3.50-$6)

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Restaurants, Cafés

Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters

icon-location-pin Bishan

Upper Thomson is no stranger to the hipster café – and Pacamara fits right in the ’hood. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow sunlight to drape over the minimal (if a little sterile) interiors of white walls paired with white tabletops, but it’s still a cosy-enough spot for catch-up sessions with friends over brunch. A selection of cakes such as the yuzu tart ($6) will tempt you at the till, but order it beforehand to enjoy with a cold-brewed coffee ($6) or a bold, nutty Roadster blend ($4.50-$6). 

Old Hen Coffee Bar
Photo: Old Hen Coffee Bar
Restaurants

Old Hen Coffee Bar

icon-location-pin Kallang

This neat coffee spot in the Farrer Park neighbourhood serves espresso drinks to complement café fare like chicken cheese burritos, croque monsieurs and hot favourite popcorn-topped panna cottas. But the main draw for the java-jonesin' are for its cold-brewed bottled coffee and chilled Valrhona dark cocoa brews, which the devoted take home to ration sips.

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Restaurants

Good Morning Nanyang Coffee

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

Settle for local kopi and ciabatta kaya toasts here instead of your regular cup of espresso and waffles. Brewing its coffee with a coffee sock, this coffeeshop also serves Singapore-style breakfast sets such as half-boiled eggs and nasi lemak.

Restaurants, Cafés

Penny University

icon-location-pin Bedok

Serving the sleepyheads on East Coast, this charming space on the junction of Telok Kurau Road builds an inviting atmosphere with vintage curios sourced from the nearby Changi Junk Store, plenty of desserts and good coffee. Beans from local stalwarts like Oriole Coffee Roasters and Nylon are represented in the hoppers here and brewed with a shiny FB 80 into espressos and ounce-portioned coffees.

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Restaurants, Cafés

Chye Seng Huat Hardware

icon-location-pin Kallang

Follow the hipster past the huge covered metal gates and you’ll find Chye Seng Huat’s semi-secret (well, not so much anymore) compound in the Jalan Besar industrial zone.

Headquarters of Third Wave coffee pioneers Papa Palheta, the two-storey coffee complex hides a coffee school and retail space on the second floor, while a full inventory of coffee gear dominates its ground floor café. Wait in line by the vinyl player piping Phoenix or The xx into the perpetually crowded space, and order an espresso made with its Nuts and Bolts or Terra Firma blends, or a procured single origin to drink in the café.

Restaurants, Hawker

Dapper Coffee

icon-location-pin Tanjong Pagar

Before the nighttime shenanigans of The Spiffy Dapper kicks in, 73 Amoy Street is a cosy, romantically lit coffee spot.

The experimental drinks here are the result of creative thought by Dapper co-owner Abhishek Cherian George and head chef Christine Seah – but if it's a straight espresso you're hankering after, their functional espresso-based drinks are brewed with a punchy house blend.

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Restaurants

Sarnies

icon-location-pin Tanjong Pagar

Sarnies’ cuppas that have made it to Lonely Planet’s list of best coffees – choose from an exhaustive list of brews including flat whites, macchiatos and mochas.

Restaurants

The Populus Coffee and Food Co

icon-location-pin Outram

This collaborative effort by Department of Caffeine and coffee-roasting outfit 2Degrees North Coffee Co occupies a sun-drenched shophouse unit with swirly Edison bulbs studded on the walls, pulling in a crowd of office types and bleary-eyed bartenders checking in for a pre-shift java jolt.

The rounded, dark chocolatey notes in Caldera house blend is built on Brazilian and Columbian beans that 2Degrees North roasts just for the café, and the sleek steel Victoria Arduino machine is quite the looker.

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Restaurants, Cafés

The New Black

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

This über-sleek, homegrown concept is all about exposing local drinkers to new expressions of the roasted bean. While the idea of having guest roasts on rotation isn’t exactly fresh in Singapore, The New Black rejects the idea of pushing its own house label.

Bronwen Serna, The New Black's director of coffee, together with 28HKS' Spencer Forhart – he’s the advisor and curator of the project – are constantly on the lookout to cull beans from illustrious roasters from all over the world. Big names include Norway’s Tim Wendelboe, Denmark's The Coffee Collective, Small Batch from Melbourne, and Olympia Coffee Roasting Co from the US. The Republic Plaza branch of the chain also conducts free tastings of its many beans on offer on Tuesdays, 3 to 5pm.

Restaurants

Curious Palette

icon-location-pin Rochor

Three-time Singapore National Barista champion and ASEAN Barista champion Ryan Tan has a new coffee spot. But there are more than coffee drinks ($3.50-$10) and Aeropress, Syphon and Wave Dripper ($6.90) brews made with a roasted in-house blend and the occasional guest blend – a comprehensive all-day breakfast, lunch and dinner plan is also in place.

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Restaurants, American

RONIN

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

The good folks behind hipster joints The Plain and The Bravery seem determined to slake our thirst for their Genovese cuppas – they’ve only just gone ahead to open up their third café along the chintzy HongKong Street. There are your requisite bare designer light bulbs, cement-washed walls and friendly service, but the mood at RONIN (whose name is Japanese for 'master-less samurai') is considerably darker; matte black finishes lend it a snazzy, mysterious air. Then there are its smooth-as-always lattes, minty Wicked Mochas and matcha lattes.

Restaurants, Cafés

Common Man Coffee Roasters

icon-location-pin River Valley

Harry Grover, the Spa Esprit Group and Melbourne-based Five Senses Coffee collaborate on this local favourite, which brews its popular 22 Martin and CMCR Espresso blends, as well as grow local appreciation for the different beans they manage to procure for the café.

Coffee-cupping sessions every Wednesday give café-hoppers a shot at cupping coffee just like the pros do, and the space frequently hosts the local barista community for workshops and yearly Aeropress Championships. You just have to love a coffee bar that gives back.

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Restaurants, Coffeeshops

MAVRX Coffee Apothecary

icon-location-pin Tanjong Pagar

At this tiny monochrome-and-marble coffee nook on Duxton Road, creative presentation is king. Featuring the Carmello blend by Aussie coffee roasters Allpress, the cold brews ($5) here are served in five medical syringes and the takeaway spot pours piccolo servings in limited edition coffee waffle cones for you to have your cuppa and eat it too. For the utilitarian drinker, standard espressos ($3) and double shots of black ($4.50) and white ($5) coffees are also on hand to deliver a caffeine fix.

Jimmy Monkey too
Natasha Hong
Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Jimmy Monkey too

icon-location-pin Buona Vista

Sorry Jimmy Monkey, the coffee geeks in us like JMtoo better. After a roaring brunch trade at the original, Michael Ryan's brand returns to its coffee-serious roots with a brew bar kitted with two top-of-the-line Slayer machines from Seattle. Sit around the brew bar, dominated by the main machine, as your barista brews Jimmy Monkey's flagship, a full-bodied Ironbark 3.3 blend, for an espresso ($4), latte, cappuccino ($5), or mocha ($6).

Other coffee features

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Dapper Coffee - cold brew
Photo: Natasha Hong
Restaurants

Best cold-brewed coffees

Don't settle for a watered-down espresso – these are the city's best cold coffees, steeped to bring out their beans' nuances and best qualities.
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