KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — These days it seems like every week heralds another new specialty coffee bar opening in town. There are cafés everywhere, but how many are serving a decent cuppa?
Artisan Roast veteran and go-to-coffee-guy Joey Mah attempts to answer with his own brand of no-fuss, all-quality coffee at new pop-up café Nowhereman Coffee.
Mah’s café, with its sparse, almost-industrial décor, opens today in Bangsar for a limited time – only six months (admittedly a heftier time investment than most here-today, gone-tomorrow pop-ups often seen at art markets and food bazaars).
The question on every bean-hunter in caffeinated KL’s lips is: can Nowhereman deliver great coffee?
What does a pop-up café mean to you?
A pop-up café is basically a short term space for us to serve and craft amazing coffee.
How did the idea for Nowhereman come about?
Nowhereman is inspired by a dear friend who recently held an exhibition in Thailand. The intention of the (THISAPPEAR) pop-up store was to bring in a group of people doing different things with big visions. Our partners include fashion designers Joe Chia and Justin Chew, as well as furniture design outfit Dumpwerks.
I met Joe Chia via Instagram and he’s a great guy, humble and ambitious. So one day, we met up and this happened. He helped bring together a group of people who share similar ambitions.
How is Nowhereman different from other cafés?
This six-month long pop-up is intended to introduce coffee in a more casual manner: no pressure, just good coffee. The space itself will be raw in design.
We see ourselves as a designer of good coffee, from roasting profile (yes, different roasting profiles!) to preparation methods and extraction. We will be using a single head Speedster and EK43 grinder to kick start this store.
What will you serve?
We will be serving mainly the “Cough Syrup” blend. It’s a blend of Indonesian (Tobing Estate Bandung) and Colombian (La Joyeria Santa Barbera) beans. Yes, it will taste sweet with a kick. Also, we will offer single origin filter coffee. Drop by to see what beans we have at any moment.
We will be changing the espresso blends we serve from time to time. Our next blend will be called “White Ribbon” and for every cup of coffee sold, we will donate RM1 to aid victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
For non-coffee drinkers, we have single origin Vahlrona chocolate drinks, with a hint of sea salt. Please try not to ask us for sugar as we did not allocate enough funds for it. Oh yes, we have also some amazing homemade cakes courtesy of Bakes by #TartArt and sandwiches by Tommy Le Baker.
There are so many new cafés opening up in Malaysia this year – especially in the Klang Valley. What is your take on them?
Yes, many cafés are indeed opening, but how many of them are actually doing well? Many of them jump onto the bandwagon thinking it is a good idea to run/own a café.
It always comes down to sustainability and how much we love our coffee. One may have the best gadgets, ridiculously expensive machines and a beautifully renovated café, but at the end of the day if this isn’t reflected in the coffee, it will be disappointing.
We strive to serve the best coffee we can, using what we have and constantly improving our skills. We are not here to drive the industry, nor lead the industry. We just want to serve the best coffee we possibly can.
What is key for a café to become successful and remain relevant today?
The answer is simple: drink more coffee. Many of the baristas and café owners do not drink their own coffee or coffee in general. To improve, we need to learn how to taste. If you become better at tasting coffee, you become a better barista. There’s no recipe to success. We take a leap of faith and do our best.
Nowhereman Coffee by Artisan Roast
20 Jalan Telawi 3, (2nd floor)
Bangsar Baru, 59100 KL
Open daily 8am-9pm