93 Degrees Cafe

I was looking for a place to have a quick cuppa after church and spotted, from the entrance of Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church, a cafe with full glass panels for windows. Intrigued, I decided to go in and see if they had anything special or worth trying.

Once I was in the cafe, I could feel the coziness and the space was nicely designed to be so, with only a few tables and chairs (some of which were fashioned somewhat ad hoc from crates!). It's nice for small gatherings of around six people, but also perfectly suited to couples just wanting to spend some quiet coffee time together. The air-conditioning was also just right - perfect for lazing the Sunday afternoon away with a book.

Beverage-wise, there's the standard espresso and espresso-based drinks, which you can get (almost anywhere else...). I would suggest having the Siphon Coffee ($6.50 a cup), where you can specify the type of bean you prefer. The coffee is then prepared by heating water in a lower flask to produce steam, which is used to extract the liquid in an upper fraction before allowing the coffee to flow down back into the first chamber. It's designed somewhat like an Italian espresso maker but a little cooler, thanks to the ominous-looking blue Bunsen flame that heats the water and the showmanship of the barista. (Turns out it is known as the vacuum coffee maker.)

I had coffee made with True Taranja (you can buy the beans; this variety was priced at $11.20 for 200 gm), which was full-bodied but not too acidic. It quite agreed with me and I guess that is a very easy one for beginners to consume, as well. The hints of almond was also quite apparent to me. Another plus point about the cafe is that the various types of beans are labelled with their 'vital statistics', such as full/medium-bodied and acidity level, which makes decision-making a boon.

The service was earnest and the barista was approachable and friendly, coming round to me to ask me if I enjoyed my coffee and to share his knowledge with me. One thing to note is that, given the limited number of coffee makers and the stretch on barista expertise, a wait can go quite long. In my instance, it was about 15 minutes. Acceptable by my standards, though!

There are also cakes (around $5 a slice) and other non-caffeinated beverages but they tend to be equally stretching on the wallet. Thus, for the budget-conscious, I recommend sticking to what the cafe probably does best i.e. coffee.

Slight downside is that there is no openly accessible Wi-Fi and you can't spend hours at the cafe doing work (which is good, if you want to take the place as a venue to chill out).

All in all, my experience at 93 Degrees was very enjoyable and one of the few that I truly relish in Singapore, a not-so-coffee-crazed country :)

16 Morse Road, No. 207 (opposite Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church (Second Sanctuary) main entrance)

[This review can also be found on HGW.com]


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