For some, the first coffee of the day is a make-or-break moment. A robust, flavourful cup can lift one’s mood but a watery brew does quite the opposite. Jeen introduced me to good coffee at Papa Palheta, an independent coffee boutique that specializes in roasting specialty coffee in Singapore.
There is no menu, no price list, and no pastries to nibble on – at Papa Palheta, what you get is a whole coffee experience. The place itself boasts quite a character. An interesting mismatch of furniture and decor, there are bits of bohemian influence on one corner, a bit of old school classics and artsy touches on the other. Since there’s no price list, you basically drop how much you think the coffee is worth into the tip jar provided. There’s a guideline of SGD3.50 per drink, but we felt the coffees were worth more and paid accordingly.
The roasting takes place every Monday, and Papa Palheta will be closed for that day. I tried the Ethiopian pour-over while Jeen had the Columbian. Pour-over is a method of drip coffee where the water is poured in a thin, steady, slow stream over a filter cone. One cup of coffee takes about three minutes to brew. If you go to Papa Palheta during non-peak hours (or if you’re lucky), the barista might give you a demonstration which I’ve documented in the video below.
The Ethiopian had hints of floral aroma (jasmine) and a soft acidity on a light clean cup. Aromatic yet finely balanced, this was a delicate cup of coffee — almost tea-like. The Columbian coffee was clean, balanced, of medium acidity and resonantly powerful — the kind of coffee I would start my day with.
I nodded and the barista made me a latte. The flavours were well balanced and the milk was nicely frothed with a mild sweetness, which didn’t mask the aroma and flavour of the coffee. Some lattes leave a sour or bitter taste in the mouth, but this one did the exact opposite. Good stuff. The beans are sourced from all over the world including single origin beans from Sumatra, Sulawesi, Guatamala and Brazil.
I’m definitely popping by when I’m in Singapore next!
Price: Pay via tipping
Verdict: A coffee lover’s paradise.
140 Bukit Timah Road (turn into Hooper Road)
Tel: +65 9799 0420