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Fads come and go as we know it, but each time something lingers with popularity among the Malaysians who does everything they can to keep up with the trend, there has to be something special to it.

The year 2012 was the year for gourmet burger joints. As the gourmet burger fever began to subside in early 2013, a new “hip thing” had to replace that burger shaped hole in our heart and be the center of our attention:

Not just any ordinary coffee, but coffee by independent cafes.

In the past twelve months, independent cafes had been sprouting like wild mushrooms all over the Klang Valley. Today, you can easily stumble upon two cafes within walking distance at high-traffic locations such as Damansara Uptown and Solaris Dutamas. What happened?

Besides these coffee enthusiasts being extreme opportunists, they have also realized that there’s more to it than selling just good coffee but more the “coffee experience.”

Test this out: walk into any independent café, take a seat and observe. Notice how everything in the premise is choreographed? From the stools and tables, to the warm greetings the cashier and barista extend, to the careful selection of music that pleases your ears, all the way to the overall interior design of the café itself.

A good coffee joint today doesn’t only excite your sense of taste, but rather cater to the other four as well.

With that being said, here’s our list of independent cafes that serve more than just flippin’ good coffee:


R.A.W. Coffee
The folks at R.A.W. have been around long enough to be on an entirely different league. Unlike other cafes, R.A.W. does its best to remove everything that distracts you from enjoying your coffee. Expect warm smiles and a well-lit cozy environment to help you plan that scheduled business presentation better as you pay a visit.


Nowhereman Coffee by Artisan Roast
This café is a gem; earning smiles from the crowd and begrudging nods from the hipsters. Hidden deep within the ever-growing outlets of Jalan Telawi, Bangsar, this mysterious coffee bar serves their own signature blends in an uber-minimalistic interior; picture enjoying coffee in zen mode. Steered by coffee connoisseur Joey Mah, Nowhereman exists in parallel with a boutique and concept furniture store in a collaborative space called Thisappear. Why Thisappear? Because they will only be open for six months before everything is torn down and set up in another mysterious location. So keep an eye on them, be in the know of what they’re up to next as not many does.


Artisan Roast
With a tagline that reads “We are serious about our coffee”, Artisan Roast (AR) are true connoisseurs. Ever wondered what it would feel like to drink coffee in a craftsman’s workshop? AR possesses a raw, laid back atmosphere, with each outlet taking a different approach to their interiors. Their chalkboard menus and coffee “directories” are worth admiring, as well as their furniture which are made out of discarded wood; the mark of true artisans.


One of the latest addition in the hipster coffee scene, VCR is situated in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, at the corner of a row of old houses in Jalan Galloway, surrounded by tall modern buildings. The juxtaposition of the humble, aged building where VCR operates and the high and mighty skyscrapers makes the café worth exploring — acting as an invitation for everyone to examine the reason to why such a location was chosen to house a café.


Voted as the Best Place for Coffee on TimeOutKL in 2013, CoffeeSociété is infamous for their ‘happy hour’ deals. This café is staffed with intelligent, friendly people. Featuring ceiling-high wooden walls to the bicycle and oddly high tables, there’s a charm to CoffeeSociété. An exceptional service coupled with a good understanding of what the consumers want (free flow gourmet coffee!), it’s no surprise that they are one of the most loved cafes in town. Now if that doesn’t excite you, I don’t know what would.


Coffee has become more than just a caffeine fix to wake you up before entering the office in the morning. Cafes have transformed coffee into art. Today, the coffee appeal has spread to all, thanks to those believe there are better ways to present coffee — those who understand that the customer’s experience doesn’t end at the tip of their taste buds, but rather, acts as an opportunity to elevate their experience and win their hearts.

Is your product the core of your brand, or does the experience of having the product matter more?

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