Want to treat yourself? There is nothing quite like a fresh brew in the morning to brighten up our otherwise hectic day. Writer Christel takes you through the best cafes around town.
My friends say I’m a nicer person after my daily cup of coffee. As the self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur on the block, here are my top 5 coffee recommendations - it's never a bad idea to treat yourself to one amidst your daily hustle!
Grids & Circles
A passion project by its founders, Grids & Circles is a well-loved cafe where you can just chill out, or study if you’d like.
I first discovered Grids & Circles after a workout at Cross Street Exchange, when I was yearning for an ice-cold cup of coffee. Nestled in the ethnic enclave of Chinatown, I was pleasantly surprised to find such a cosy and quaint coffee spot.
Just a minute away from the Chinatown MRT station, Grids & Circles’ minimalist exterior instantly piqued my interest. Little did I know that it would become one of my favourite coffee spots.
Amongst their extensive (exciting!) selection of drinks, I was instantly drawn to the crowd-favourite Lavender Coffee ($6.50). Creamy, slightly sweet and absolutely pleasant, take a sip and expect delicate notes of lavender to roll off your tongue, balancing out the slight bitterness one usually expects of coffee.
If you can’t decide amongst GRIDS Coffee Bar’s sizable selection of coffee, taste the best of both worlds with their Coffee Flight ($8) which offers 1 espresso + 1 flat white of the same coffee origin. According to the Grids & Circles team, the flight was put together in consideration of guests who want to taste espresso in its most authentic form, but yet also enjoy the balanced, milky notes of the latte. For an additional $5, take your pick between a matcha cheesecake and yuzu meringue to go with your coffee. My sweet tooth couldn’t pass on the velvety matcha cheesecake - and it proved to be an excellent choice.
With Grids & Circles located just a couple of MRT stops away from SMU at Chinatown, it is also the perfect study spot if you’d like a change in your study environment amidst the finals grind - present your student card and study at your own pace for $20 per day!
Grids & Circles has also kindly extended 10% off the ala carte menu for SMU students.
Address: 200 South Bridge Road Nearest MRT: Chinatown Opening hours: 9am to 6pm (Mon - Wed, Sun) | 9am to 10.30pm (Thur - Sat)
Oriole Coffee + Bar
My next recommendation has to be the coffee from Oriole Coffee + Bar! It’s actually been around for years. I’ve only recently discovered it, but I’ve loved it since.
Their Iced Latte ($7) is my top pick. The slight bitterness of espresso is balanced out by the creaminess of milk, making the drink undeniably enjoyable. I enjoy the energy boost I can get from this.
The Taisho White ($8) is Oriole’s signature cold brew. Named after an era in Japan (1912-1925) where cold brew was believed to be popularised, the Taisho White is steeped overnight using lower temperature water.
Compared to the iced latte, the Taisho White is slightly sweeter, milkier and overall lighter on the palate. Great if you prefer milder coffee!
Oriole Coffee + Bar is located at Somerset, a couple of minutes from the MRT. Not to worry if you don’t feel like travelling there just to try the coffee. Let me let you in on my guilty pleasure in between lessons! The Marmalade Pantry in SMU (next to Koufu) sells iced latte ($5.50 with student discount) made from Oriole’s coffee beans. Just as good.
Address: 96 Somerset Road #01-01 Pan Pacific Services Suites Orchard | Singapore 238163 Nearest MRT: Somerset Opening hours: 11.30am-10.30pm
Daizu Cafe is a Japanese-Western fusion concept that centres its products around the holistic use of soy, nutrition & sustainability.
Around the corner of Farrer Park MRT Station, the cafe’s minimalist aesthetics and creative conceptualisation aim to reduce the stress one faces in daily living, as well as enhance mindfulness to deliver timeless enjoyment.
They offer a myriad of interesting drinks, and what stood out to me was their Strawberry Latte ($7), because it was my first time coming across such a drink in a Singaporean cafe! It reminded me of the strawberry-flavoured Hello Panda, so if you enjoy it as I do, it is worth giving the Strawberry Latte a try. The latte is a delightful meld of espresso atop strawberry milk, offering the right amount of sweetness from the strawberry milk, and bitterness from espresso. I was hesitant to try this at first, but I’m glad I did.
Next up is the Kurozato White ($7) of Daizu Cafe’s cold brew series. Smooth and easy to drink, the Kurazato White is fragrant and milky. Slightly sweetened, the drink is great if you enjoy your coffee mild.
Address: 29 Rangoon Road | Singapore 218407 Nearest MRT: Farrer Park (Purple Line) Opening hours: Daily, 8am to 10pm
My go-to for delish, affordable coffee.
Mad Roaster was first opened at Amoy Street Food Centre. While it may feel out of the ordinary to see cafe-style coffee in a food centre, their owner Madeline made this choice so that she can keep prices low, and yet remain accessible to the CBD crowd. Thanks to its popularity, Mad Roasters now has a second outlet at Depot Road.
Mad Roaster actually started with Madeline’s work in Thailand, where she assisted refugees with their asylum applications. It was at that time that she came up with the idea of providing them with work opportunities, through Mad Roasters.
The prices of their coffee start from $2.80. I’m not a fan of oat milk, but I must say that their Oat Milk Iced Latte ($4.50) is really tasty, and is my favourite drink on the menu! With a thick texture and velvety mouthfeel, I enjoyed how the taste of the oat milk they use goes so well together with the espresso. Strong enough for a caffeine kick yet enjoyable because of the delicious oat milk, I’m sure many others will enjoy this!
Part of the proceeds from Mad Roasters goes to the refugees Madeline assists. If you’re in the area, be sure to check Mad Roasters out for the good coffee - and for a good cause too.
Amoy Street Food Centre Outlet Address: 7 Maxwell Road, #02-107, Amoy Street Food Centre, MND Complex Annexe B | Singapore 069111 Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8am to 3pm | Sat 11am to 2pm (Closed on public holidays) Depot Road Outlet Address: 108 Depot Road #01-14 Nearest MRT: Telok Blangah/Redhill/Labrador Park Opening hours: 9am-4pm (Tues-Sun)
Packs a punch like its name suggests. Located in the heart of the CBD, Punch Cafe has a contemporary indoor-seating area and a beautiful hidden courtyard garden perfect for the gram’.
Though the cafe looks unassuming from the outside, its interior offers a charming ambience that will melt all your stress from school away.
My pick here would be one of Punch Cafe’s signature drinks, the Iced Wicked ($7). Fancy name I know - but just expect an alluring marriage of purple mint, espresso, coffee and milk, all in a cup. The Iced Wicked was a barista’s recommendation. Definitely a good choice of drink, especially on a hot day. The addition of purple mint gives the drink a refreshing twist, offering added dimension to your sip of coffee.
If you prefer the classics, they also serve a good cup of Iced Latte at $6. It is crafted with 13 types of beans from the Australian brand ‘Super Brazil’.
P.S. If you’re heading down for their coffee, Punch Cafe also serves awesome brunches. You’ve got to try their Tiger Prawns and Scallop Aglio Olio!
Address: 32 North Canal Road | Singapore 059288 Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay Opening hours: Daily, 8am – 6pm
Run, don't walk to get your coffee fix today. I’m already thinking about my next coffee treat.