Where can you get the best cup of coffee in Singapore?
As I hinted in the title, this is a very contentious question because everyone has a place for their favourite cuppa. To make any assertion, one must have a basis. If the basis is personal taste, then we can argue till the cows come home after milking them for cuppucino. But if the basis is on something more objective like an award, then we might just have something to tilt the argument to our favour.
So, here is a cup of Piccolo Latte which is made by Keith Loh, who happens to be both Singapore's National Barista champion as well as the National Latte Art Champion. He just happens to own a Coffee Roaster and procures his own artisan coffee beans. So does it make this cup of Piccolo Latte the best cup of coffee in Singapore?
Maybe, maybe not.
But you sure would want to find out wouldn't you?
The coffee roaster they call "Ella" after the curvaceous Nigella Lawson
And since we are arguing, what the heck is a Piccolo Latte anyway? Well, Piccolo in Italian means small, so a Piccolo Latte is simply a small Latte. Small Latte? Why not just buy one cup of Latte and share with a friend? On top of that, the Piccolo Latte is actually more expensive than the normal Latte, so what gives?
Well, to put things in a coffee beanshell, a Piccolo Latte is somewhere in between a Macchiato and a Latte which all boils down to how much milk they put into your coffee. With the Macchiato, you get a small drop of milk in your expresso, with the Latte, you get a small drop of coffee with your milk. With a Piccolo Latte, you essentially get more coffee than a latte and more milk than a Macchiato. Got it?
Ok, maybe if I put it this way it is more clear. In a Cafe you order Piccolo Latte when you want Kopi Gao. (stronger coffee) You order Latte when you want Kopi Poh. (lighter coffee) And you order Macchiato when you want Kopi Gao Siu Dai.(Strong coffee with less milk). Sort of.
Just in case you visit Oriole and Keith is not around, you don't have to despair that your cuppa is made by a student earning extra pocket money. His head barista, John Ting, so happens to be the runner up in the National Barista competition. Actually, he was the champion in the two previous years, but this year his boss must have threatened him so that they switched positions.
Anyway it is rather fun watching these fellas do their Latte art. So your $5.50 cup of Piccolo Latte actually comes with entertainment value as well, that is if you sat at the counter watching them make your cuppa. Keith was trying to show me various patterns that can be made by pouring hot milk into expresso. It really is fascinating.
When it comes to coffee, I am not your "You should only take coffee with nothing added" type of guy. I usually like mine with milk so that it tastes more like your typical Japanese Milk Coffee. Coffee connoiseurs would frown upon me of course, but hey, I still can't understand what the fascination is with a mouthful of sour expresso. It is not as if you get a big shot of caffeine, since brewed coffee has more caffeine in it. And everytime I taste it, it just tastes sour and bitter. I guess I need to hang around Keith and John more to appreciate it.
So the Piccolo Latte suits me fine. Its got milk in it but because it also has more coffee, I still get that strong coffee flavour compared to Lattes sold at some other places where you are basically drinking flavoured milk. Knowing that so much care has been put into the roasting, brewing and preparation of my one cup of coffee does make it one of the best cups of coffees that your $5.50 can buy. 4.5/5
If you have ever wondered about Japanese style cold coffee, and why it tastes so nice, let me share with your what I learnt from Keith. They serve a version of cold coffee with milk here that is made the same way that it is done in Japan. Cold coffee isn't simply Kopi Peng (coffee with ice). No, cold coffee is actually made by soaking the coffee powder in room temperature water overnight. By cold brewing the coffee, it is much less acidic because hot water is needed to dissolve the bitter oils and fatty acids that gives coffee its bitter and sour notes. It is actually an ancient technique employed by the South Americans before it was rediscovered 40 years ago. So if you want to try a different type of Kopi Peng, be sure to order the cold coffee! 4.25/5
Mr Keith Loh National Barista Champion explaining expresso
Special for ieatishootipost readers!
Print out this coupon and get a cup of Piccolo Latte worth $5.50 free when your friend buys a cup! (Or you can buy your friend a cup of Piccolo Latte without having to pay for it).
1. You have to print the coupon (please don't show it on your iphone)
2. Valid from Mon-Thurs until the end of April
3. One coupon per customer
4. Not valid with other promotions
5. Please leave your name, email and contact number on the back so they can update you on the latest happenings at Oriole!
Oriole Cafe and Bar
96 Somerset Road
#01-01 Pan Pacific Serviced Suites
Tel: +65 6238 8348
Many thanks to Keith and John for spending the afternoon teaching us about coffee!
Here is an interesting site to see more Latte Art!