KLUANG, Feb 27 — A famous coffee shop situated in the middle of a bustling southern district is undoubtedly serving the best coffee in town and state, as many coffee aficionados can attest.

 If the name of the town is Kluang, Johor, then the coffee shop’s name is definitely Kluang Rail Coffee, with the irresistible aroma of its kopitiam coffee luring coffee lovers not only in Johor but also from all over the country.

Its operator Lim Jit Chew said Kluang Rail Coffee, which retains its old-world charm at the railway station in Kluang, started as a railway canteen serving British Army soldiers and local government servants from KTM Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and Pos Malaysia.

Kluang Rail Coffee, which has become a household name, was set up by his grandfather, Lim Huan Hee in 1938.

As a member of the third generation of the famed coffee shop founder’s family, Lim, or popularly known as Uncle Jack, said he took over the business in 1980 and saw the opportunity to bring the coffee shop to the next level because it has many beautiful things, including the spirit of multiracial customers under the kopitiam concept.

“During that time, the canteen was very small. The army and government staff used to come here for their breakfast, lunch and tea break. When these people came together, the shop became a gathering spot. 

“People love our coffee, bread and nasi lemak all the time. Then, we slowly crafted a name for ourselves,” he told Bernama in an exclusive interview here.

 Throughout his life, Lim’s motto has been serving the best, never compromising on ingredients in favour of cost.

Asked on the secret of the shop’s success, he said maintaining its original atmosphere and menu while offering the best coffee and foods at affordable prices was the main reason for its success.

He said customers have a nostalgic feeling when stepping into his shop because it brings a lot of memories for them.

“I have served four generations of people. I realise that everyone has a sentiment for this place. It is more than my coffee; it is about people's life and memories. That is why we have to preserve and maintain this atmosphere,” he said with teary eyes.

The coffee, nasi lemak, Johor laksa, bun sambal, bun bakar, roti keping and cucur ikan bilis are among the popular dishes in the shop, with prices ranging from RM1.30 to RM 5.90.

Uncle Jack said his business slowed after the government announced the Movement Control Order in 2020 to curb the spread of Covid-19.

However, the introduction of the Wage Subsidy Programme and loan moratorium helped him to retain his employees and keep the business going.

Kluang Rail Coffee has four branches in Kluang, one in Kota Damansara, Selangor and one in Sendayan, Negri Sembilan. — Bernama