If there is one coffee place you need to visit in Hong Kong, The Coffee Academics could be it.
Listed as “25 coffee shops around the world you have to see before you die” by BuzzFeed, “Top 3 working cafes around the world under “Top 10 for coffee life” by Bluewings.
To update, while the Scotts Square outlet has been reviewed by many to be inconsistent, the Raffles City branch needs to work harder (from food, coffee to service) to maintain the brand image.
Anyway, walking into the outlet at Scotts Square known for its high-end boutiques, The Coffee Academics in Singapore looks like a café meets science laboratory meets working space.
There is a Japanese-style sit round table with tatami mats around the hand-brew bar, which I think is a brilliant touch due to the affluent Japanese community (tai tais I mean) who frequent this area.
No expenses spared in delivering an impressive interior.
But of course, it is not only about the interior that matter, food and coffee are still the core.
The Coffee Academics has always been known for sourcing top quality specialty beans, using state-of-the art equipment.
The Singapore flagship store has been designed as a 7 Sensory Station experience – something that is has not been previously done in their Hong Kong outlets, creating a “Sensory Playground” that showcases their unique offerings as a brand.
Their 7 stations include:
1. Espresso Bar – Featuring our Spirit Triplette by Kees van der Westen
2. Tea Academics Bar – Offering a curated tea menu using Steampunk or traditional brewing methods
3. Cupping Corner – Where they will host coffee classes and events
4. Culinary Counter – Chef’s Table experience with a view into our open kitchen
5. Custom Blend Concierge – Where customers can book appointments to explore their personal flavour profile and create a bespoke custom blend.
6. Hand Brew Bar – Tatami area where customers can sit and enjoy hand-brewed single origin coffees
7. Roasting Corner – Where they will be roasting their Custom Blended coffees on-site
Its menu looked extensive, though on the pricier side. After all, it is on the expensive belt of Orchard Road.
The signature Academics Breakfast ($25) included eggs to order (I had the scrambled), 36-month aged Belotta Jamon Iberico, baked beans, cumberland pork sausages, fresh greens tossed in the TCA house citrus vinaigrette, grilled multigrain sourdough toast.
While I thought this was expensive, every component on the plate worked – the eggs were scrambled creamy, toast crispy yet chewy on the inside, and baked beans excellently seasoned with a touch of salsa and spice.
HOWEVER, a friend went back for a return visit and her feedback was, “So terrible. The standard drop like siao. So angry. Not parma now but miserable bacon, even the bread and baked beans have changed.” (We have sent our feedback to TCA.)
The Academics Pancake Tower ($19) while a photogenic piece, didn’t fare as well in terms of taste.
The texture was doughy and starchy.
Ingredients such as whipped cream could have been spread more to prevent the combination from being too dry.
Also, the berry sorbet that was supposedly served went MIA.
The other sweet bite, the Academics Cinnamon Churros ($16) also suffered the fate of a doughy interior, and chocolate fudge sauce that was too clumpy. Otherwise, okay.
The coffee was still the highlight of this space.
In addition, customers have a chance to try different single origin coffees using different brewing methods for each particular coffee.
In future, you can even choose a customisable packaging for the Custom Blend Concierge, to create your own bespoke coffee blend and have the chance to roast it on-site.
The Coffee Academics may mean serious coffee business. Hopefully, they can keep their food consistent.
The Coffee Academics Singapore
Level 2, Scotts Square, 6 Scotts Road, Singapore 228209 (Orchard MRT)
Opening Hours: 9am – 10pm (Mon – Thurs), 9am – 10:30pm (Fri – Sat), 9am – 9:30pm (Sun)