Is it possible that a beverage has the power to determine how great the day will be? Probably not. But there is a difference if you are sipping a cup of a rubbish black drink that tastes almost like coffee, or a delicious brew. From time to time, we switch from tea to coffee, it depends on what our bodies crave. Either way, when we are away from home, we like to try new things. Cafes in KL had followed popular trends and the offer of coffee delicacies caught our attention. That is why every morning we headed for a cup in a different café.
Our stay in this big city was short, but we managed to get a few outstanding coffees. On many occasions, it felt like the baristas are aware that with sharing the knowledge, they were getting the people to appreciate the coffee even more. There are so many cafés, some were good and others were so-so. Read on and you’ll find out more about which ones stuck with us. Maybe you will get an idea of where to get your next cup off good coffee when in Kuala Lumpur.
We came here early in the morning. To our surprise, it was already packed and we were lucky enough to find an available table. The decoration looks industrial with a lot of light. We found it pleasant and there was a small terrace as well. Despite the crowd, the staff was very friendly. When we wanted to know more about their methods, the barista easily explained everything. The special procedure takes two days and consists of cold water slowly dropping on crushed Ethiopian coffee beans, making for a delightful cold brew. The taste of it is smoother and we could taste the subtle chocolate flavor with almonds and roasted peanuts.
There was almost no acidity, just a strong old-fashioned brew. What we found interesting was that it had a slight metallic taste but in a pleasant and cooling way. The flat white with a double shot of Ethiopian medium roast was our second choice. It had a more intense flavor and the milk pairing was great here. The coffees were completely different but each was delicious in its own way. With the cakes looking so delicious in their display, we had to try at least one and their signature item, the King, was spot on.
The fluffy dough was made with chocolate and was filled with gently marinated bananas and peanut butter cream, which also covered the cake, making it even moister. Can we recommend this café? If you are a good coffee lover than absolutely, yes. If you are looking for a quiet place to enjoy your coffee with a book, then probably not.
Prices at VCR
Cold brew: 3.60 USD
The flat white: 2.60 USD
The King cake: 3.40 USD
The Leaf & Co. Cafè
The Leaf & Co. Cafè is our another recommendation for Cafes in KL you should visit. This cafe can easily be considered a second home to hipsters, with its raw industrial look paired with shabby furniture and good coffee. The spacious place was quiet, with an open space in the middle. There was a nice contrast of a green tree and a brick background.
The light shining inside through the opening lights up the gray striped walls. In sync with the flooring is the old furniture, making us feel like time had slowed down. To remain in a tropical mood between the cold walls, we ordered a cold coconut latte and a true classic, espresso.
The espresso was very strong and quite winey, made from medium roasted Arabica coffee beans. It had flavors of berries with some citrus and still a lot of nuttiness. It was basically a neat drink, unlike the coconut latte, which wasn’t really what we were expecting. Instead of real coconut milk, it was made with coconut syrup, which sweetened the drink and gave it a taste of coconut. Still, it was an enjoyable drink that paired well with the Kaya toast we ordered. The Kaya jam is the king in this bite: it is a creamy coconut spread made from coconut milk and eggs.
That on toasted slices of bread is a popular snack in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. If you have the chance, get it with your coffee. Our impression of this café? Great ambiance, pretty good espresso and nice food. The only downside were the cocky waiters, but it isn’t reason enough for us to shy away from this palace in the future. We recommend.
Prices in The Leaf & Co. Cafè
Cold coconut latte: 3.25 USD
Espresso: 1.45 USD
Kaya toast: 1.70 USD
PULP by Papa Palheta
From all the cafés we visited, the PULP by Papa Palheta was my favorite: the coffee tasted the best there and the place was one that I just didn’t want to leave. The ambiance is really welcoming and the design encourages you to walk around. This was previously the paper-cutting space for the nearly 50-year-old Art Printing Works factory & storehouse.
No photos can be taken of this place, security ran on us before our first photo. The inside of the café is nice but packed. This place is more full than Tokyo’s subway. The interior is rich with an old paper pulping machine, which doubles as a table. You can find a lot of their coffee products to buy.
There is also a tasting table where you can sample coffees and smell different beans. At the order table, you have written guidance, so you can easily find something to suit your mood. Everything here is about making the guest happy and indeed we were, despite the lack of WI-FI. We had a flat white coffee and a San Antonio Chaguite (naturally processed) drip brew.
The yummy flat white coffee was made from medium roasted Ethiopian coffee beans and it went delicious well with the caramel pecan pie. The crunchy pecan nuts had a gentle taste that let the coffee shine through. We easily tasted bright acidity and a medium but silky body. However, the lemon brûlée tart was the second mouthwatering bite, which we choose to have with the San Antonio Chaguite.
The tart had intense sweet and sour taste and its citrusy aroma matched the coffee. The rich blueberry with chocolate taste was top notch, its gentle acidity provided nice flush to clear the sugar from the tart and its complex taste was deeply satisfying.
This coffee was special and at PULP, they make an effort in making and presenting it well. They take things very seriously here. If you are a coffee enthusiast, this is a must-visit place in Kuala Lumpur.
Prices in PULP by Papa Palheta
Flat white coffee: 2.90 USD
San Antonio Chaguite: 4.30 USD
Caramel pecan pie: 3.60 USD
The lemon brûlée tart: 2.90 USD
(X) COFFEE in the ISETAN shopping mall
On the third floor of the Japanese shopping mall, ISETAN, is (X) COFFEE. This was a Japanese roasting stand that we were looking forward to visiting the most. The precision of the Japanese in everything they do filled us with many expectations. However, we were deeply disappointed even before we got to taste the coffee. The coffee was served in plastic mugs: we can’t get over that, even though they were the reusable kind.
Plastic is a material we hate and it surely doesn’t add to the experience. Just holding a plastic mug gives Vivi goosebumps, not to mention leaking chemicals into the drink. There is also a difference in the taste of coffee when you drink it from a plastic cup. And if we mention a price, at almost $22 for a cup, you know everything. The coffee was good – overpriced, but good.
The Nicaragua Limoncillo was citrusy and buttery. The Juan Ramron Geisha from Costa Rica had a complex fruity taste, of mango, peach and blueberry. The coffee taste is very mellow and you can find a lot of similarity with fruit juice more than coffee. What we liked at this open café was that it was in the middle of a bookstore and we were able to borrow a book while we had coffee.
There are many interesting reads and in the end, you can also buy the one you like. All in all, this is a relaxing place, where no one will force you out even if you sit there for a little longer than it takes to drink your coffee. There is a lack of desserts and normal cups, but your coffee will be good.
Prices in (X) COFFEE
Nicaragua Limoncillo: 4.30 USD
The Juan Ramron Geisha from Costa Rica: 22 USD
We stopped in at Switch because there was a rumor about their delicious cakes. At this place, we started off on a bad foot, because we couldn’t find it, but we kept trying. Once we finally found it, we weren’t sure that we would enjoy our time there, because it just wasn’t what we expected. It looks more like a temporary solution for quick coffee rather than a nice café. It wasn’t a coffee shop inside a mall, but only a few tables with a preparation place in the hall of a shopping mall. Our purpose isn’t to judge before we try so we had a coconut lychee cake and a Valrhona salted caramel.
The coconut lychee had a surprisingly buttery topping, with good lychee flavor. It was a nice creamy cake with chiffon pastry and crunchy coconut. The caramel cake had a nice sponge, which was actually the best part. What we didn’t like was the sour taste of cream. The salted caramel and chocolate tastes were very present, but the sourness prevented us from enjoying it. If the artisanal cake shop would offer some intimacy or charm, we’d be much happier there.
Prices in Switch
Lychee Coconut: 3.10 USD
Salted Caramel Japanese Cheesecake: 3.20 USD
Cafes in KL are thrilling
Surely there are plenty of awesome cafés that we didn’t get to visit, but it was enough to feel the trendy coffee culture here in Kuala Lumpur. That’s why we heartily encourage you to try something else than just hotel coffee: go to a place where the main focus is on making the best possible coffee. A broad range of coffee brings new flavors to the popular drink and with its growing popularity, people will keep developing it. Every step matters and it starts with growing the bean, processing and then roasting it till the final step, the preparation. There is passion and the sky is the limit!
Cafes in KL map
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