This has been a rather long wait.
%Arabica which first announced its opening in Singapore last August 2018, has finally opened at 56 Arab Street.
It faced many delays due to construction and interior works.
The chain has also announced locations of its two other Singapore locations – Chip Bee Gardens at Holland Village, and 313@somerset.
% Arabica originally from Hong Kong technically (then Kyoto Japan), is known to be one of the best coffee shops around.
When I arrived during the opening hour of 8am, there was already a short queue, but I managed to get my coffee within a 10 minutes’ wait or so. Pretty reasonable.
The Arab Street branch is a small 20-seater, designed in minimalist white similar to many of the other stores world-wide.
However, there are plans to serve actual food at the Chip Bee Gardens outlet.
There are 16 stores located in Japan, Hong Kong, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Philippines and China, and is finally setting foot in Singapore.
A bit of its origins: Its founder and owner, Kenneth Shoji, established the brand on March 11, 2011.
His mission is to grow % Arabica across unique land and cultures of the world, so that young baristas can “See The World Through Coffee”.
After moving to Hong Kong, an idea hit him to start a coffee business.
With a bank loan, he bought a coffee firm in Hawaii and started trading green bean from around the world. He became the sole-exporter of a Japanese roasting machine.
For one year, he persuaded Junichi Yamaguchi (a world champion of latte art) to work with him, and succeeded.
The flagship % Arabica store opened in Discovery Bay, Hong Kong in February 2013. As a location, Discovery Bay proved to be quite challenging in attracting customers.
To reach a wider base, the store then moved to Higashiyama, Kyoto in February 2014 and became recognized as a coffee brand.
% Arabica is known as a great place for excellent coffee, somewhere even coffee snobs would be go to.
It takes pride in using beans from its own coffee farm in Hawaii, and from around the world.
The company strives to source all its beans directly from the origins. Kenneth himself, along with his global head barista Junichi, travels to various coffee origins around the world.
Depending on the season and availability, you can find coffees from Japan, Guatemala, Brazil, El Salvador, Ethiopia and Panama.
Caffe Latte is priced here at $7 for short, $8 for tall, while the iced version is priced at $8.
If you prefer something sweeter, also available is the Spanish Latte ($7.80. $9.00) which is included with condensed milk.
I enjoyed the Iced Caffe Latte, it was as pleasurable as how I remembered it to be – the smooth milky feeling, aromatic coffee, and balanced robustness.
A recommended is the Matcha Latte ($8.60 for hot, $9.60 for iced), which has a beautiful balance of powdery bitter green tea and full bodied milk, which I thought had the perfect texture – neither too diluted nor heavy.
The drinks are on the pricier side though.
As I walked past Kampong Glam Cafe nearby, the coffee uncle asked me “Wah, after so long finally opened. How much the coffee?”
I said “Maybe $5 to $6?”. It was actually $7 to $8.
He gave a momentary surprised look, and said “Like Starbucks, ah?”
That made me think awhile. Interestingly, % Arabica is kind of a chain coffee place, yet it is branded as very indie. Good move.
% Arabica Singapore
56 Arab Street Singapore 199753
Opening Hours: 8am – 8pm (Mon – Sun)
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