The Smell of Coffee Anytime

2014Apr GoingPlacesHip, young Malaysians have been gripped by caffeine passion, with hipster cafes, speciality shops and a roving coffee truck to satisfy their cravings.

Malaysians are on a caffeine high. As a society that grew up on the sweet, milky tea called teh tarik, they are making the switch to coffee, and from hanging out at mamak stalls to cafes throwing open their shutters each month, Malaysians are spoilt for choice when it comes to coffee. So whether you are after a latte with fanciful foam art of the on-trend speciality single origin coffee, perhaps harvested from the mountains of Irian Jaya, Indonesia or in the cool, green hills of Sul de Minas, Brazil, you can probably find it in the Klang Valley.

An Antipodean Cafe (, co-founder Alun Evans sources his coffee directly from farming communities in Indonesia. He works exclusively with 32 communities throughout the archipelago, taking small quantities and hand-roasting them for that distinct taste and quality. "The fact that we pay direct trade prices means the communities have funding to be able to produce good quality coffee in a sustainable manner - the coffee drinkers of KL benefits from this," he says.

Together with his business partner in Kuala Lumpur, Karl Priston, Evans started importing and retailing their Merdeka Coffee brand in high-end supermarkets.

{jb_quoteright}There is no real secret to making a good cup of coffee; it all boils down to doing it right{/jb_quoteright}

"The response was amazing and we realised that Malaysians had a real desire for speciality coffee. The logical extension was bringing not only the coffee, but the roasting and cafe operation to Malaysia," says Evans.

There are now two Antipodean Cafes in KL, with a third in Mid Valley Megamall on the way, serving exclusively Merdeka Coffee. Some of the speciality coffee beans available are Gunung Wills Java, cultivated in limited quantities on the slopes of a volcano, and Flores Arabica, sourced near Ruteng in Flores with hints of florals, chocolate dufge and sweet nectars. They can be had as your favourite cuppa at the cafe or to takeaway in vacuum packed bags.

Cafes like Antipodean represent the Third Wave Coffee, a worldwide movement to produce high-quality coffee, and that means taking it back to its basics and getting involved from A-Z. Practitioners source and buy the beans from the farmers, then carefully roast and grind them before putting the fragrant powder in the skilful hands of the trained baristas.

Coffee Stain by Joseph...


Note: This article was written and published by Going Places, February 2014 Edition.