KUALA SELANGOR, Aug 21 — Where good coffee is concerned, you certainly won’t go thirsty within Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, with many established cafés and roasters while new players (including the occasional mobile coffee truck and pop-ups) add fresh excitement to the scene from time to time.
But what if you feel like heading out of the city but don’t want to miss out on your caffeine fix? These three specialty coffee cafés located on the fringes of the Klang Valley, are worth a trip for some good drips.
Between the seafood restaurants and eagle-feeding sunset cruises, the fishing village of Pasir Penambang in Kuala Selangor has no shortage of visitors, particularly on weekends.
Tour buses offload eager tourists who make a beeline for the latter before ending the day with a spread of the day’s best catches at the former.
Locals drive here for a weekend away, making sure to have an icebox in their car boot to cart home fresh seafood at low prices.
This is certainly not the kind of setting where you would expect to find a café let alone one that serves specialty coffees brewed either hand drip or siphon style.
The young proprietor, Alice Chan, cut her teeth at the now-defunct Typica Coffee in Shaw Parade for two years.
Escaping the city’s high rentals and craving a restful ambience within which one can truly sit back and enjoy every sip, she returned to her native Kuala Selangor and rented this little blue hut that’s part of a tour operator’s office and opened aboutBLUE Cafe last Christmas eve.
The petite space is, like its name, all decked out in blue outside and inside, with just four tables that can seat up to 12, and some high stools at the counter.
Bean options are handwritten on a small chalkboard but tell her your preference and she may recommend something off-menu.
Pair your coffee with her homemade cheese cakes, which come in interesting variants such as dragonfruit topped with marshmallow, fresh grapes and a shiny grape jelly, or matcha with marshmallows and chocolate. Moist, creamy and with well-balanced sugar levels, they go down a treat with the coffees.
No. 1, Jalan Bagan Sungai Yu, Pasir Penambang, Kuala Selangor
Tel: 016-776 0334 Opens 11am-9pm, Thu-Sun
The wooden single-storey structure is typical of Chinese new village homes, although the well-lit signboard indicates that there is more to it than meets the eye.
Indeed, this decades-old building was a family residence where Lee Hai Oh grew up, and he has since converted it into a café that’s also a treasure trove for vintage lovers.
Rich colours coat the interiors and every corner is decked out in retro furniture, antique collectibles or vintage knick-knacks (the ones displayed inside a glass cabinet are for sale).
Outside, a salvage train carriage functions as the cooking station of a Western steakhouse managed by two locals, who rent the space from Lee. You can order some sizzling chops, Swedish meatballs, nachos or tortilla wrap and on a balmy evening, dine al fresco on the front porch.
In a semi-open area to the side of the main house is where Lee plays barista, serving gourmet coffee brewed using the Hario V60, at just RM10 per cup.
Cafe 12 — so named as it was founded on December 12, 2012 — occasionally hosts flea markets and movie screenings that are meant to bring the local community together.
Open only in the evenings, this unexpected gem in quiet Semenyih is a delightful place to chill over some hot food and good coffee, within a homey aura that one imagines is probably not too far off from the ambience that Lee grew up in.
131, Jalan Semenyih, Semenyih
Tel: 011-1231 4432 Opens 5pm-12.30am, Tue-Sun; closed Mon
3B Drip & Dutch Cafe Gallery
South Korean coffee connoisseur Will Jung has been living in Malaysia for five years now, and first made a name on the local coffee scene with a café specialising in hand drips, in Mont Kiara.
He later sold it off to focus on his roastery but has now returned to the retail front with this spanking new café in a modern industrial grey brick complex near the Hospital Sungai Buloh.
Complementing the aesthetics, this new café is minimalist and monochromatic, with the only bright colours provided by the shelves of coffee accessories that are for sale.
The name is quite a mouthful and requires some explanation. 3B stands for Three Bears, the brand under which all the cafe’s beans are roasted. Besides hand drip coffee, 3B’s other specialty is Dutch coffees, a method of cold brew that takes longer than the usual techniques and produces a more aromatic beverage.
3B offers four variants of Dutch coffees: Latte, Caramel, Mocha and Premium Black. To enjoy the brews at their best, you must first shake the bottles so that the liquid foams at the top before pouring them over ice cubes. This, Jung says, delivers a smoother sensation.
For hand drips, there’s a wide variety of beans available or tell Jung your preference and he can create a blend on the spot. Korean flower teas are also on the menu along with delicate desserts specially created by Xiao by Crustz.
Their signature Three Bears tart comes with a tiny bottle of the Premium Black Dutch coffee, which you spritz directly onto the dessert to infuse it with a rich coffee aroma and caffeine kick.
Try the tart before and after spraying on the coffee and you will discern a marked improvement in taste.
Currently, 3B does not serve food but Jung plans to add gimbap (Korean sushi) to the menu along with Korean desserts.
21-G & 1, LGSB ¼, Pusat Komersil LGSB, Off Jalan Hospital, Sungai Buloh
Tel: 011-1434 6778 Opens 11am-8pm, Wed-Thu; 11am-12am, Fri-Sun; closed Mon-Tues.
Vivian Chong cannot imagine life BC (before coffee). Read about her other food hunts at thisbunnyhops.com