Coffee O'Clock-Johor Bahru
Not gonna lie, the first thing I researched before coming to Malaysia and Johor Bahru in particular, were the coffee shops, because... well, you know me! And there were many, and colourful and more minimal and busy and quieter, and then the pandemic hit...
Fortunately half a year after the start of the quarantine some of my favourites are still standing and stronger than ever. Plus a few new coffee gems surfaced on the endless horizon of hipster-y places serving delicious coffee.
So today I present you a JB version of the Coffee O’Clock series. But before we start, there’s a thing I wanted to mention. Malaysia is not yet very keen on serving plant-based milk. Shall I put it another way-they love their fresh milk so much, that cafes and restaurants serve different flavoured milk drinks in abundance and curious flavours you've never seen or tasted before.
Naturally, as ‘basic’ as I might seem, this was a problem for me and I had to pay a farewell to my favourite oat milk flat white and embrace the ‘black coffee’ drinking culture. This on its own educated me further on coffee grains and flavours and allowed me to really taste and appreciate the heavenly beverage. But well, occasionally I miss a good nut milk flat white. To my surprise, recently discovered a very cute coffee place that offers oat milk. So perhaps the times are truly changing.
So if you’re not used to drinking black coffee and for some reason, you’re not keen on cow's milk, most of these options might not be for you. But as I mentioned there’s still hope, and I’ll make it my ‘utmost’ important mission to update you on any new cool places serving a dairy-free delicious flat white (or cappuccino or late for that matter). Or I’ll simply keep drilling on the cafe’s owners and staff to introduce the otherwise largely available in supermarkets, selection of Rude Health, Alpro, and other Thai and Australian brands. Who knows, I might just change the culture... (silently crying).
54, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor
First on the list is Bev C. Not just a coffee shop, but a quirky fashion concept store. BEV C - is the name of a designer collection founded in 2013 Malaysia. The focus of the brand is in unisex design, layered dressing and convertible wear. The main concept is: “The minimalist closet”, embracing the idea that a single piece of clothing can be worn in endless ways.
Following the brand’s ideology, the interior of the space offers some brave and very creative decorative solutions. Shirts are wrapped around chairs, more clothing elements are covering the walls and hung from the ceilings, and a controversial (for Muslim Malaysia) sign 'Own your style or stay naked’ greets customer from the exterior facade of the cafe.
Staff is very friendly, coffee is excellent!
JWC The Factory 30
30, Jalan Mutiara Emas 5/3, Taman Mount Austin, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor
JWC or Just Want Coffee. The name says it all. Not just coffee shop but a roastery as well. The brand runs five different concept cafes across Malaysia, and my favourite and well... the only one I've visited so far is The Factory. The roastery imports green coffee beans and roasts them in house in Malaysia. They have a good selection, and I've got to tell you, it's their Inferno blend that made me really appreciate black coffee. Plus you can choose a desired method of brewing the coffee, which makes the whole experience even better.
The cafe is literally located in an old industrial building (probably a factory), which was later converted in a cozy, quite dark space, with a very relaxing atmosphere. Giant coffee bags suspended from the ceiling, coffee brewing bar and weel presented and displayed coffee roasting and grinding machinery.
Try their unique flavoured iced lattes, served in tiny 'ice' glasses-the rose one is quite special!
Sweet Blossom Coffee Roasters
28, Jalan Maju, Taman Pelangi, 80400 Johor Bahru, Johor
Only recently discovered Sweet Blossom Coffee Roasters, and frankly, I don't know what have I been doing before. The roastery and retailer have been based in Johor Bahru since 2015. This cafe portrays a signature Scandi decor, with a typical Malaysian 'greenery' twist. Plants are popping here and there and the whole space feels like a little minimalistic jungle hut.
Here you can order or purchase speciality coffee and, the biggest news they have oat milk! So grab yourselves a nice cup of flat white and sit in the cosy little corner by the window. People watch, read, sketch, or simply enjoy your drink and contemplate life. It is truly a place for a little moment of stillness and simplicity on a hectic day.