Wake up and smell the coffee – quite literally. As tastes get more discerning and the interest in drinking good coffee and knowing where it comes from has increased, so has the number of independent coffee roasters and specialty cafés in Singapore. We're not complaining of course – because caffeine is a good thing for us, especially in the mornings.
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 PPP (formerly known as Papa Palheta), the two-storey coffee complex hides a roastery and a ground floor café. Coffee is the bestseller here of course, but stick around for small bites to go as well.
Nylon Coffee Roasters opened its doors in 2012 and was one of the earliest boutique roasters in Singapore. They still remain a leading name when it comes to quality coffee here. Though the space is small, the joint has a loyal following of coffee drinkers who vouch that the coffee here is the best in town. Serving single origin coffee, the brand is passionate about sustainability and transparency – don't be afraid to ask where your coffee is from. Nylon also offers a filter coffee 'subscription' from $20 a month which delivers straight to your home.
This minimalist coffee bar and roastery has just the right laidback vibe to unwind with a book and freshly poured coffee. Treat your tastebuds to the rich flavours of roasted beans from Latin America. The menu is simple, offering single-origin coffees starting from $4 and non-coffee options as well.
In case it doesn't ring a bell, Tan Tiong Hoe was the one who taught the founder of famous local roaster Papa Palheta, Leon Foo, how to roast his coffee. Now Jacob Tan rides on his father’s expertise by running Tiong Hoe & Co, and has portioned off about 600 sq ft of its flagship roastery in Queenstown to open the 10-seater café with business partner/fellow barista, Juliana. There is no menu here, so ask for any brew from the rotational range of single origin coffee beans that are roasted, ground and brewed in-house. Expect long black brews in clean notes streaming from the vintage Elektra espresso machine or the V60. Our favourites include the spicy, earthy and smoky monsooned malabar AA from India and a citrusy yet creamy Kinshasa from Kivu in Congo.
The comfortable space flooded in natural light is known for its hearty brunch staples like avocado toast ($17) with quinoa, feta and pomegranate as well as spiced scrambled eggs ($18) with mushrooms and crispy kale. If it’s a cuppa you’re looking for, you’re at the right place. Co-owner Regina Tay is a National Barista Championship Winner and roasts the beans in-house in small batches.
If you’re a fan of laid-back, Aussie-style cafés, check out Sarnies. Its cuppas have made it to Lonely Planet's list of best coffees, and its beans are roasted in-house to ensure freshness. Espresso shots start from $4, with their latte and flat whites going for $5. For those on the keto diet, it even offers bulletproof coffee ($6). The joint is also notable for its coffee subscription service, which will see a blend of your choice delivered to your doorstep regularly, ground just the way you like it.
After months of hype and anticipation, % Arabica's Singapore outpost has finally opened its doors. Originally from Kyoto, this roastery and café has 37 outlets worldwide, and two more outlets are slated to join this Arab Street joint by the end of the year. Known for its excellent brews, its house blend comprises of beans from single origin estates in Brazil and Europe, roasted to a medium roast for balanced flavour (from $4.50). Its roastery is housed at the back of the café, so patrons can also take a peek at the roasting process. Currently, the café only sells drinks, and if you're dropping by, remember to snap a photo of your cuppa with its distinctive logo for the 'gram.
This charming, cosy café has been making waves ever since its debut on the local scene two years ago. Its blends are roasted in-house, with black, white and filter variations (from $3.50), but it's also known for its non-coffee drinks, like the ginger latte ($6.50), chai latte ($6.50) and matcha latte ($6). Food here is all about comfort. Think wagyu beef and mash ($29), chicken stew ($16) and cream curry udon ($17). If you're tired of jostling at CBD cafés but want some hearty grub and good coffee, this is the place to be.
From its high ceilings and concrete floors to its wooden-topped chairs and tables, Five Oars Coffee Roasters takes industrial-chic to a whole new level. Coffee selections come in black, white, mocha and pour over (from $4.50), and blends are sold on-site. Its food isn't shabby either – Valrhona chocolate pancakes ($20), mentaiko mac and cheese ($21.50), and chicken rosti ($17) are just some of the delectable dishes it has on the menu.
This relatively new café and co-roasting space is conveniently located at Somerset, and currently offers a small selection of brews. Cuppas start at $4.50 for black, $5.50 for white and $6 for cold brew, while teas start from $6. Different varieties of filter and espresso beans are freshly-roasted and available on its retail shelves, although supply is limited to ensure quality. Café food here is limited to bakes and savoury bites from Carpenter & Cook. As a co-roasting space, Glyph also sources coffee from other roasteries once a month, so its menu is constantly changing.
This riverside warehouse space run by Toby Smith (after whom Toby's Estate is named) is an all-in-one café, roastery and retailer. With a team of professional baristas, more than three types of brewing machines as well as a range of siphons, you can be sure that a cup of joe here will be one to remember. Espresso shots start from $3.50, while the standard latte, flat white and cappuccino go for $5. The café also serves up all-day breakfast and indulgent grub, so hit up this popular brunch spot to unwind on the weekends.
In partnership with OG Aussie craft beer brewers Little Creatures, Schibello Coffee Roastery (which also hails from down under) has opened their own in-house roastery alongside the craft beer brand. It's all about good brews here, with the in-house micro-brewery making craft beers including its flagship pale ale, pilsner and IPA (from $12). And if you're an early bird, Schibello Coffee Roastery delivers your daily caffeine fix from 8am. All the beans are roasted on-site and they believe in creating a cup that everyone enjoys so they keep it simple with four house blends at the moment.
Besides being a decent breakfast and brunch establishment, Common Man does exceptional coffee as well, and it all starts with the bean. Through its partnership with Five Senses Coffee, they are able to source some of the best coffee from quality producers from East Africa to Sumatra, from South America to India. These beans are roasted in-house and also at its larger roastery in Senoko.
Only the best beans make the cut at Dutch Colony, and it makes sure of that through its dedication to research. From sourcing trips to single origin estates to partnering with trusted coffee exporters, only beans that are obtained through fair and sustainable practices and traceable lots are selected. Coffee beans are carefully roasted in small batches and profiled to gently bring out the best flavour and sweetness that highlight the micro-region and farm where the coffee comes from. Like we said, dedication to research!
Tucked away behind Sembawang Hills Food Centre is this gem of a café. Arabica beans are roasted on-site, and free tastings are available every day of the week. Aeropress filters, V60 drips, and other coffee-making paraphernalia are also available for sale, but be sure to have a cuppa in-store before picking up one of its freshly-roasted blends (starting from $14/250g) to take home with you.
Originally known as Oz Specialty Coffee, Pacamara Boutique has been operating from its Thomson Road location for several years now, and has attracted many patrons due to its clean, sleek space and Instagrammable dishes. It has recently broadened its menu selections to comprise hearty salads, pasta and meat dishes. Filter and drip coffees are the roastery's highlights, with different daily blends available (from $3.50). Its attractive takeaway coffee cups make for a great snap as well.