The first thing you notice is a tray of Farmhouse milk cartons next to the staircase. Upon closer inspection, these turn out to be emptied cartons filled with spent coffee grounds. A sign says “FREE” and the fine print reveals the used grounds are good as plant fertilizer and deodorisers for kitchens, toilets and any rooms with strong smells.
Surely an unusual introduction to a café but after walking a flight of stairs, it’s easy to understand what sort of café The Brew Culture is. The brainchild of fellow high schoolmates and former engineers Hiew Kuei Yin and Jeffrey Ng, this new café was built with the environmentally friendly 3Rs motto in mind.
Hiew shares that they believe in the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – and from the looks of the café, that is clearly the direction they have taken it. From collecting used pallets and converting them into the café’s wall decorations, book shelves and benches to reusing industrial crates as coffee tables, there is a strong green energy imbuing the café.
Old wine bottles are used as water containers for their complimentary (and naturally, house-made) pandan and lemongrass flavoured table water. The same milk cartons that held spent coffee grounds downstairs is now used as café lamps upstairs, albeit colourfully decorated by hand.
This is a place one can safely assume Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio would feel at home at. In fact, it could be a great place to show ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and ‘The 11th Hour’, if the café owners are so inclined.
They certainly seem in favour of saving the environment over a nice cuppa joe. Jeffrey reveals, “90% of our lamps used are either LED or energy saving lamps; they cost much higher but we still prefer them not just for energy-saving reasons but for their impact on the eco-system.”
“A lot of things we consume can still be reused if we think twice before just dumping them. For example, we charge extra for every takeaway cup to encourage our customers to bring their own tumblers to reduce the usage of disposable paper products,” adds Hiew.
Hiew had worked as a production engineer after returning from the United States while Jeffrey had studied in Tasmania and worked as a Scada engineer locally before they both decided it was time for a career change.
“I was trained as an electronic engineer and wasn’t expecting one day doing something totally different,” says Hiew, before adding, “In a way, I am still an engineer though, only now I am involved in engineering of coffee.”
It was more than engineering of good coffee that Hiew got involved in; it was due to his influence that his old friend Jeffrey first got interested in coffee:
“Hiew told me espresso can actually taste very good if the barista made it right. I was doubtful in the beginning as I still remember my first cup of espresso during my younger years. I had it in one of the branded coffee houses. It was an awful experience and it totally put me off coffee.”
Jeffrey’s future café partner had good reason to be so zealous about coffee being a convert himself: “I once tried an espresso and that astringent cup of black juice didn’t impress me at that time. The whole experience changed for me when I took up a coffee appreciation seminar in Singapore in early 2011. I finally had a properly extracted espresso that was so sweet with unforgettable flavours and body. It was unlike anything I had tasted before and was the starting point of my venture into coffee.”
What was their most memorable coffee experience, then? For Hiew, it was that first properly-extracted espresso he had mentioned earlier while Jeffrey’s favourite coffee experience was an espresso brewed by Ryan Tan, the Singaporean Barista Champion.
These are a couple of guys who really love their espressos.
The Brew Culture is currently using a blend of Columbia, Brazil and Papua New Guinea for their espresso-based coffee, with plans to rotate other good espresso blends in the future. They also have various single origin coffees from different parts of the world. These are mostly brewed via the pour-over method, but customers may choose from other brewing options such as AeroPress®, French press and Chemex as well.
Their roasted beans come from a reputable roaster but they have been experimenting with in-house roasting so who knows? Maybe we will be able to try some Brew Culture house blends soon.
其中一家就是位於 Plaza Damas 3 的 The Brew Culture。
The Brew Culture
B-1-6, Plaza Damas 3, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Sat-Thu 9am-7pm / Fri closed