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Where to enjoy your coffee in KL

Helen Alexander

Senior Contributor

To understand what makes Malaysia’s capital tick, you simply need to order a cup of coffee. Whether you choose to sip yours at a traditional Chinese Kopitiam or in an industrial-chic third-wave café that is packed with knowledgeable baristas, you’ll have the chance to sit back and rub shoulders with the locals.

Coffee shop-meets-classroom

Situated off a residential street in Bangsar neighbourhood and occupying a former paper-cutting building amid a concrete jungle of old printing warehouses, Pulp oozes hard-to-find appeal. The KL offspring of Singaporean roasters PPP Coffee, the team behind the city-state’s beloved Chye Seng Huat Hardware café head here for a latte with a side of learning. There’s a cupping room where topflight baristas introduce caffeine fanatics to single-origin beans and brewing techniques, as well as an on-site shop selling gadgets and gizmos.

Casual coffee drinkers needn’t feel intimidated; this airy wooden space is just as much about cake and conversation as it is cold-drip and Aeropress accessories.

Address - 29-01, Jalan Riong

Pulp, Kuala Lumpur

Kopi O and an old-school atmosphere

Step inside an imposing red building just a five-minute walk from Dang Wangi metro station, and soak up the old-school atmosphere of third-generation Hainanese kopitiam Yut Kee Restaurant. Locals in need of a sweet-tooth-tingling breakfast have been flocking to this KL icon since 1928 for an order of kopi o – strong black coffee made with beans roasted in sugar, butter and oil – and toast topped with kaya – a mix of sugar, coconut milk, eggs and pandan leaves. Don’t just stop at breakfast, though. Sit amid the circular marble tables, sepia family photos and stained glass shutters, and order from the extensive all-day menu. Or time your visit for a Friday, Saturday or Sunday afternoon when the staff serve a mouth-watering roast pork lunch from a tableside trolley.

Address: 1, Jalan Kamunting

Plant-packed oasis with serious coffee cred

Derived from the Swedish term to ‘take a break with a drink and some food’, it comes as no surprise that the team at Feeka put just as much emphasis on their breakfast, lunch and dinner menus as they do their rotating batches of beans, which they source from a range of roasters including local outfits Coffee Collective and Artisan Roastery. Pull up a chair on the leafy terrace or settle in amid the minimalist décor and you will feel a million miles away from the shopping malls and tourist crowds of nearby Bukit Bintang.

A bright neon sign on one of the shabby-chic plastered walls might proclaim that ‘Less is More’, but Feeka’s approach to coffee is pretty comprehensive – head to this friendly spot for cold-drip, pour-over, Aeropress and Chemex coffees.

Address: 19, Jalan Mesui (off Jalan Nagasari)

Feeka, Kuala Lumpur

Cappuccinos meet cocktails in Bangsar

A cafe by day, which turns into Coley Cocktail Bar at night, Transparent Coffee places a huge amount of importance on sustainability and social responsibility. Beans are sourced directly from the farmers, while food miles are reduced thanks to the team baking their sourdough bread on-site, which appears in a range of stomach-satisfying sandwiches. Expect excellent things from the coffee – this small but perfectly formed spot is the latest venture from award-winning barista Joey Mah, who is the co-founder of Artisan Roastery.

Address: 6, Jalan Abdullah

Create your own city-centre office

Need to check in with the office or reply to some emails while you are away? Head to an unassuming stretch of road that’s just a short stroll from Hang Tuah monorail station and Berjaya Times Square (one of KL’s major shopping malls), and you will be rewarded with the handsome VCR cafe. Spilt over two floors, this light-filled building is full of everything you need to create a casual co-working space for the day. Fruit-packed bowls of granola make for a healthy breakfast and there are plenty of plug sockets and a friendly atmosphere that sees people tapping at their keyboards or stopping for a chat and one of VCR’s famous hot chocolates.

Address: 2, Jalan Galloway

VCR, Kuala Lumpur

Caffeine and culture in Chinatown

When you are finished exploring the shops and stalls of Chinatown’s famous Petaling Street, take some time out in Jao Tim. Meaning ‘hotel’ in Cantonese, the top floor of this historic colonial building is all wooden floors, exposed brick walls and high arched windows – which makes the coffee shop an ideal venue for hosting life-drawing workshops, dance classes, live music performances and art exhibitions.

Once you’ve ‘checked in’ at the walnut concierge desk, you’ll find the drinks are just as diverse as the events held here. Order a Joe’s Root (a double-shot of espresso mixed with root beer) or a matcha latte and settle in. If you plan to stay for the evening, then swap your coffee for any of a regularly changing range of craft beers.

Address: 61, Jalan Sultan

Jao Tim, Kuala Lumpur

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