Coffee O' Clock - More of Johor Bahru
Updated: Mar 27
Spring fatigue, have you heard of it? I dare say all of us have experienced it, and by all, I mean those who live in the higher latitudes of the northern or southern hemisphere. Spring, a blissful time of the year when our towns and cities finally awake from their winter sleep and become completely unrecognizable for a few weeks. Days become longer, the air is not as crisp, the sunshine is warmer, and the scent of blossoms fills the breeze (also the start of 'sneeze' season for some). Such a blissful time of the year... yet, so sleepy!?
Sleep fatigue or also known as springtime lethargy is a state of lowered energy, often associated with the spring season. The causes of it have not yet been fully resolved, however, scientists strongly believe that it has something to do with hormone balance and in particular the "happiness hormone" serotonin. According to their hypothesis, the happiness hormone is under a lot of stress during the winter months, trying to help us keep our cool and stay positive. Its production also greatly depends on daylight, which obviously is reduced. Exhausted, the poor serotonin, allows the "sleep hormone" melatonin to have its effect on our bodies. Other factors are the changes in weather and fluctuation of temperature, which leads to drops in blood pressure and readjustment of cells, which makes us all feel more tired than usual.
With all that said though, my question is, how about the countries located closer to the equator, where temperatures are consistent, and the day and night ratio is more or less equal all year round. Are Malaysians affected by spring fatigue too? My friends, please enlighten me!
If the answer is no, I have no idea what's happening to me once again, but the one thing I know coffee has been my saviour this past month. I have tried to reduce my caffeine intake in the past year or so, therefore whenever I reach for the cup of joe, I want to make sure it's exceptional. This finally brings me to the theme of this post. It is coffee time, and today I wanted to introduce you to four new places in Johor Bahru I've visited recently, that offer excellent coffee, and of course, their interiors are just as pleasing.
C-1-12 Block C. The Lakefront, Persiaran Southkey 1, Kota Southkey, 80150 Johor Bahru, Johor
First on the list is Brewsmith, a boutique coffee roaster and retailer. When you google the place, the description is set to 'art gallery'. And indeed this is the experience you are going to get once inside the coffee shop. On entering the café, one is invited to take a seat in a very minimal, light and seemingly spacious room. The furniture-a selection of designer classics is positioned in a non-traditional manner, along the walls, encouraging customers to sit opposite each other. By doing so the customers quickly become part of the 'improvised' exhibition, simply by enjoying a cup of coffee in his/her own unique way.
I often like to say that designers create spaces for humans to inhabit and conduct their daily activities. Interior design should complement these actions, and that is exactly what Brewsmith does here. In a very conceptual way, it creates performance art, where every visitor consciously or not becomes the main character in an everchanging coffee spectacle.
There's a real tree inside the café too, which adds to the drama with long branches and the shadows it casts on the floor. The coffee is roasted in house, plus one can choose from a selection of pastries from a local bakery. All in all ten points for creativity.
155, Jln Beringin, Taman Melodies, 80050 Johor Bahru, Johor
Vamos Coffee Roaster deserves a separate post, as it is so much more than your regular coffee shop. A coffee roastery, kombucha brewery, surf shop, serves delicious and healthy poke bowls and all of this combined happens in a typical Johor Bahru industrial setting, softened by tropical plants and distributed across three main dining areas.
The coffee is rich and flavorful. And yes, you can order an oat milk flat white! They offer different blends, my preferred is the "Pipeline Bled" with Columbia and Brazil origins. The taste is nutty and chocolaty and the best thing is one can purchase the blend, which comes in different size packages. If you are nice they will grind it for you too.
102, Jalan Sutera Tanjung 8/3, Taman Sutera Utama, 81300 Skudai, Johor
I have shared JWC previously (find JWC The Factory in my previous coffee post). This is something special, however! The coffee is excellent, that's out of the question, but what grabbed my attention here was the quirky interior, featuring the typical distressed look, concrete finishes, exposed ceiling, neon light and one or two design classics. Entering the space you are greeted by a Louis Poulsen pendant light, that has to mean something, am I right?
Malaysia likes its Scandi inspiration, applies it very skillfully and always with a twist. What makes this particular interior unique is the mix of rough textures with original features and natural elements scattered throughout the main café floor. The neon lighting adds a touch of glam and adds the 'Instagram-ability of the space.
The curious name of the coffee shop has a story too. The symbol/kanji 酉 has various meanings amongst which - the time from 17:00 to 19:00 and an alcoholic drink vessel. Interestingly enough after 5 pm, the café transforms into a bar and the lighting throughout the space changes, creating a more intimate and moody atmosphere.
Lot 28 Laman Niaga Sunway, Persiaran Medini 3, Sunway, 81550 Nusajaya, Johor
Last but not least something different. Starkers is first and foremost a zero-waste store. Customers are invited to browse and pick from a large range of quality products. You can find anything from cosmetics, through pantry supplies, all the way to washing liquids and detergent.
People are encouraged to bring their own containers, weigh and label their chosen goods and buy only what they need. Needless to say, they do not supply plastic bags, so make sure to bring your own. if you have forgotten, however, the staff is happy to offer a paper one at a small cost.
A charming, arty and crafty coffee shop is located at the back of the store. They serve good coffee and delicious cakes. Milk alternatives are also available, as well as gluten-free and vegan treats. My usual order is the GF brownie. Soft and chewy.. yum!