Continuing my limited tour of Singapore’s speciality coffee scene, we have Pinhole Coffee Bar, which, along with Narrative Coffee Stand and Fahrenheit Coffee, was my home-from-home during my week in Singapore last month. Located on Purvis Street, it’s arguably closer to my hotel than Narrative, but I needed to cross the busy North Bridge Road to get there, so it took me longer. As a result, I visited (only slightly) less frequently.
Pinhole Coffee Bar is a relatively new addition to Singapore’s speciality coffee scene, having opened in November 2021. Long and thin, there’s a range of seating in the air-conditioned interior, including a bench along the right-hand wall, stools at the counter and a communal table tucked away at the back. You can also sit outside on a semi-shaded patio area at the front.
Typically Pinhole has a blend and single-origin on espresso, with anything up to six single-origins on pour-over through the V60. The coffee’s drawn from local Singapore roasters, Cata Coffee and Flip Coffee Roasters, which are joined on pour-over by a rotating guest roaster from further afield (Manta Ray Coffee Roasters from Melbourne during my visit). Meanwhile, if you’re hungry, there’s a small selection of cakes.
Last month I spent a week in Singapore and, while not having much time to explore its fantastic speciality coffee scene, I did have the pleasure of visiting some excellent coffee shops. In particular, the trio of Fahrenheit, Pinhole Coffee Bar and today’s Coffee Spot, Narrative Coffee Stand, were all under five minutes’ walk from my workplace, making them natural homes-from-home during my visit.
Narrative Coffee Stand, on the ground floor of the Bras Basah Complex, is a relatively simple space, with limited seating in the air-conditioned interior or outside, where a handful of benches and stools are thankfully well shaded. However, the best seats in the house are, in my opinion, the two stools at the counter, where you can sit and watch your coffee being made.
Talking of which, the coffee, which is all roasted in-house, is the main draw. A typical offering consists of three single-origins on espresso and another three on pour-over through the V60. Naturally, given the climate, all are available iced as well as hot, along with a small collection of cakes if you are hungry. I visited every day during my week in Singapore, enabling me to try all six coffees on offer.
Returning to the theme of speciality coffee in the centre of Amsterdam, another newcomer is Priesthood, which opened in 2021 and occupies a prime spot directly opposite Amsterdam’s central station. Even better for me, it was around the corner from where I was working, which made it a regular haunt during afternoon coffee break, along with a variety of my colleagues.
Priesthood is unusual amongst speciality coffee shops in that it is run by volunteers, part of a non-profit, Christian-led community space which is part bookshop (ground floor), art gallery (first floor) and, of course, coffee shop. Although the counter is next to the door, you’re welcome to take a seat on the nearby sofa or head upstairs, where you’ll find various chairs, tables and a bench along the window at the front, offering views of the station.
Priesthood uses local Amsterdam roasters, with Uncommon providing a single-origin espresso and a choice of beans on pour-over from either Friedhats or Rum Baba Coffee Roasters. Even the milk is special, coming from ElkeMelk, a local dairy where each bottle is from a single cow, while the oat milk is also locally produced by ROA. Finally, there’s a small selection of cakes/pastries.
Public Space is another Amsterdam Coffee Spot that came highly recommended by various people, with the added bonus that it is a rare speciality coffee outpost north of the River IJ. Public Space is also unusual in that it is a restaurant serving speciality coffee, rather than a coffee shop serving great food. Public Space is open in the morning/afternoon for coffee and lunch (although a breakfast service is coming soon) before re-opening in the evening for a full dinner menu.
Occupying part of the ground floor of a very modern high-rise building in a new development (which is still under construction), Public Space is, as the name might suggest, very spacious, with a small outdoor seating area, and much more inside, where coffee shop style seating (sofas, armchairs) mixes with tables for more formal dining.
I can’t speak to the restaurant/dinner side of Public Space, having only visited once, on a Sunday lunchtime. However, even though it’s a restaurant rather than a coffee shop, Public Space more than holds its own when it comes to coffee, with a single-origin from Manhattan Coffee Roasters on espresso, another on daily batch brew, and multiple options on pour-over through the Tricolate brewer.
Other than a brief visit to old friends Black Gold, the first stop on my return to Amsterdam last month was Sango. Located in the heart of Amsterdam’s historic city centre on Stromarkt, a stone’s throw from the station, Sango is a relatively new addition, having opened since my previous visit in 2018. Spread over three floors of a beautiful building, dating from 1670, there’s a roastery and equipment showroom in the basement, with the counter and limited seating on the ground floor and more seating upstairs, all connected via a tight, winding spiral staircase. You’ll probably also meet Mocha, the resident coffee shop dog, who has her own spot at the front by the espresso machine.
While the building is worth a visit in its own right, the coffee is just as big a draw. Everything is roasted on the 1.5 kg roaster in the basement, which you can see through a glass panel in the floor, or (more typically) on a 15 kg Giesen in a dedicated off-site roastery. Serving only single-origins, there’s a choice of espresso, batch brew filter or two options on pour-over using the Origami filter. There’s also cake, pastries and a range of toasted sandwiches.
Hummingbird was a new name to me in Amsterdam’s growing speciality coffee scene, having opened since my previous visit in 2018. However, it came highly recommended, being on almost everyone’s must-visit list when I started asking around. Located on the pedestrianised Spuistraat, close to Amsterdam’s historic centre, I made two brief visits, both in keeping with Hummingbird’s nature as an espresso bar rather than a fully-fledged sit-down coffee shop.
That said, you are welcome to stay (if you can find a seat, that is). In all, a dozen plastic stools are arranged around various window bars and counters, while outside there are another six of the stools along with a bench which runs along under the window. The real draw, however, is the coffee, with a bespoke house-blend all the way from Onyx Coffee Lab in Arkansas. This is joined by more coffee from Onyx, plus a pair of guest roasters, with filter options including batch brew (through the Moccamaster) and pour-over via the V60. Oh, and you’ll find Amsterdam’s first Modbar on the counter.
Screaming Beans is a well-known name in Amsterdam’s speciality coffee scene, having been roasting in the city for over 10 years. However, its coffee shop on Amstelstraat, a stone’s throw from the famous Rembrandtplein, is a relative newcomer, having only opened at the start of the year, joining the original on Runstraat and a more recent addition on the nearby Utrechtsestraat.
The coffee shop occupies part of the ground floor of a non-descript concrete building, its broad front consisting almost entirely of windows. Inside, it’s a surprisingly cosy spot, enlivened by multiple potted plants, with the counter at one end and the seating arranged around a central communal table at the other.
When it comes to coffee, Screaming Beans’ Whisper blend is in the hopper, joined by a single-origin option, currently the Ocotepeque, a naturally-processed organic coffee from Honduras. These are served from a concise menu, all the shots pulled on the iconic Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machine, while for filter, there are single-origins on batch brew and pour-over via the V60. If you’re hungry, there’s a range of cakes and pastries, along with a small savoury selection, all in a display cabinet facing you as you enter.
There was a time when great coffee was rather hard to find in Midtown Manhattan, but that’s all changed! Visiting New York City last September, I stayed on 26th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue in Midtown, where there were at least 10 speciality coffee shops within a few blocks. Today’s Coffee Spot, East One Coffee Roasters, was one of several options on my way to the office, its evening opening hours allowing me pop in after work as well.
East One bucks the trend of small Midtown coffee shops, occupying a large spot on the corner of 7th Avenue and 23rd Street, right next to the 23rd St metro station. There’s a row of tables outside on the busy 23rd Street, while inside, multiple seating areas offer a variety of tables, benches and bars. The coffee is roasted at East One’s Court Street coffee shop and eatery in Brooklyn, with a single-origin on espresso and another on batch brew. The options change on a regular basis and there’s a small selection of retail bags of coffee available to buy. Meanwhile, if you’re hungry, the brunch menu’s available until 3 o’clock, backed up with a selection of cake throughout the day.
Today’s Coffee Spot is from last September’s visit to New York City and was another recommendation from my friend and fellow coffee blogger, Bex. St Kilda Coffee was my last stop before heading to Penn Station to catch my train to Atlanta on a very rainy Sunday lunchtime. That said, I visited St Kilda in Chelsea, while Bex had actually recommended St Kilda’s other location, a lovely basement spot around the corner from the Port Authority bus station.
As is often the case in Manhattan, St Kilda is a fairly modest establishment, part of a short row of shops/restaurants on the west side of 8th Avenue near its junction with W 21st Street. Long and thin, the counter is at the back, while the L-shaped seating area runs along the front and down the right-hand wall. The main draw is the coffee, with beans from Brooklyn-based SEY on espresso and filter (both batch brew and pour-over via the Kalita Wave filter), joined by a guest espresso (from Montréal’s Traffic during my visit), with Massachusetts’ Little Wolf on cold brew. A full section of retail beans is available from all three roasters, with if you’re hungry, there’s a selection of cakes/pastries.
Firecreek Coffee Company was a chance discovery when I visited Flagstaff in February 2018. A roaster/coffee shop, Firecreek has a second location in Sedona, and has since opened a third in Cottonwood, as well as today’s Coffee Spot, it’s first venture in Phoenix. Located inside The Marylin, an iconic building that’s home to various offices, you’ll find Firecreek Arcadia on East Thomas Road, roughly equidistant between downtown Phoenix and Oldtown Scottsdale. While a car is advised (The Marilyn has an extensive parking lot), buses also run along East Thomas so it is, in theory, accessible by public transport.
The coffee shop is a beautiful, irregularly-shaped space, with a wide variety of seating both inside and out. The offering is familiar to anyone who has visited the original Firecreek in Flagstaff, the espresso-based menu catering to both the speciality coffee community, with options like the espresso set, and the more mainstream American coffee-drinker and their beloved 16oz lattes. There’s also batch-brew filter and pour-over made with the Clever Dripper or cafetiere using any of the available beans. Talking of which, all the coffee is currently roasted in Flagstaff, but Firecreek is in the process of opening a dedicated Phoenix roastery/coffee shop.