Kaldi's Berry Tasting Session

July 22, 2014 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Kaldi's Berry Tasting Session
18 Cross Street
#01-16 China Square Central


Opening Hours:
Mon - Fri: 9am - 6pm,
Closed Sat,
Sun: 11am - 5pm



http://www.kaldisberry.com/

https://www.facebook.com/KaldisBerry

This was an invited media review. I did not pay for the meal during the free hosted tasting session, but I did pay the standard price during subsequent visits.


Where Coffee Is Treated Like The Finest Wine

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 9
Food: 6 / Beverage: 9
Service: 9
Value for Money: 9
Budget about SGD $15 ++ per person.


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Founded in October 2012, Kaldi's Berry has grown to be more than yet another artisinal coffee house for hipsters, to a true haven for coffee connoisseurs. Named after the legendary goat herder Kaldi who was said to have discovered coffee, Kaldi's Berry is a comfortable, relaxing place, perfect for romantic dates, business talks, and even group chill-outs! For serious coffee drinkers in pursuit of the best brew in Singapore, or those seeking to learn more about coffee appreciation, be sure to visit Kaldi's Berry!

Kaldi's Berry Signage


Kaldi's Berry Exterior


Kaldi's Berry Interior



Ambience at Kaldi's Berry is casual, modern, and relaxing, with decor paying homage to all things caffeine. While actual floor space is small, movable furniture means seating can be customised for business meetings, leisurely chilling, or group hang-outs. The high ceiling and bright lighting lend a sense of space, while solar film over the glass panel reduces glare from the street. I also love the quirky coffee decor at Kaldi's Berry, like the Hario V60 Coffee Dripper converted into hanging lamps.

Hario V60 Coffee Dripper Lamp


Paraphernalia


Coffee Brewing Equipment Decor



Service at Kaldi's Berry is very good. Staff are friendly, welcoming, and efficient in fulfilling orders and clearing tables. I find staff at Kaldi's Berry to be especially knowledgable on coffee, including methods of preparation, the taste of each type of coffee bean available here, and even some coffee history! Not surprising, as the owner is a Level 1 SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) certified barista, and provides regular training for Kaldi's Berry staff.

The World Of Coffee Beans


Coffee Beans & Coffee Powder



Kaldi's Berry even holds regular coffee appreciation and brewing classes, every Wednesday 7:30pm - 9:30pm, and every Saturday 3:30pm - 5:30pm. The sharing and exchange of coffee knowledge covers topics such as, a basic introduction to the coffee making process, the 6 essential elements of brewing good coffee, the 3 main stages of the coffee brewing process, and more. Each 2 hour session typically costs SGD $168 per person. Currently, there is an ongoing promotion here.

Coffee Drip Brewing Equipment


Elektra Espresso Machine - Barlume Classic Blue Model



The degree to which a coffee bean is roasted determines its flavour. A light roast has a taste of roasted grain, and high acidity. A dark roast will have a smoky taste, with a sheen of oil. In particular, Kaldi's Berry has a Ethiopian Yirgacheffe single origin bean, whose coffee beans are wet processed to improve its acidity and enhance its clean floral notes. Bright, medium bodied with a sweet berry flavour, the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is flowery and smooth with a undertone of wine, and a finish that is clean.

Coffee Beans - Light Roast & Dark Roast



The advantages of the Pour Over Method / Hand Drip Brew Method include better control of the brewing process, extraction of more flavour, and being able to create a cup suited to one's preference. Kaldi's Berry uses a Japanese style pour, in which a special kettle with a narrow spout delivers an even, measured amount of water, using an outward-in circular motion. The Kalita Wave Stainless Steel Coffee Dripper provides temperature stability and even extraction, while the Yami Acrylic Coffee Drip Stand features a mini scale and drip tray.

Yami Acrylic Coffee Drip Stand With Kalita Wave Stainless Steel Coffee Dripper


Coffee Pour Over Method / Hand Drip Brew Method


Hot Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (Grade 1) Coffee - Via Pour Over Method / Hand Drip Brew Method



Kaldi's Berry is the first in Singapore to use the Cold Drip Method with a twin valve drip system from Korea, a process which involves steeping coffee grounds in ice cold water for an extended period of time. The twin valve Coffeega Korean Cold Drip has 2 versions, the larger Ridge 3.2 requires an 8 hour steeping, while the smaller Alley 600 requires a 4 hour steeping. The twin valve in both of the Coffeega Korean Cold Drip Coffee Maker allows for fine control over the water droplets, and the strength of the coffee. The result is an intense coffee concentrate that is often mixed with water or milk, and can be served hot, over ice, or blended with ice.

The advantages of the Cold Drip Method include a refreshing, naturally sweeter coffee with lower acidity, which can be safely stored in the fridge for as long as 3 weeks. In fact, coffee produced using the Cold Drip Method is like fine wine, the taste profile actually changes and gets better when aged! The Kaldi's Berry cold drip coffee is very different from other typical iced coffee, which involves chilling hot coffee by pouring over or adding ice. Cold drip coffee is naturally brewed cold, and the brewing process of 4 hours or 8 hours requires constant monitoring, which means staff need to prepare it at least 1 day in advance, and it can only be done when the store is open.

Coffeega Korean Cold Drip Coffee Maker Ridge 3.2


Coffeega Korean Cold Drip Coffee Maker Alley 600


Coffee Cold Drip Method


Cold Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (Grade 1) Coffee - Via Cold Drip Method - Aged 1 Day



The longer a cold drip coffee is aged, the better it gets! The fresh version, aged 1 day, already has a very smooth, easily drinkable texture, with a slight sweetness in the front, a lingering bitterness at the back, and an overall refreshing feel. The version aged for 5 days however, while having the same texture and refreshing feel, has much less bitterness, and more sweetness.

Cold Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (Grade 1) Coffee - Via Cold Drip Method - Aged 5 Days



The Cold Drip Method is a slow, zen like method of producing coffee, extracting the maximum flavour. The Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (Grade 1) coffee bean is a good bean to use for this type of method, and comparing the hot pour over method against the cold drip method, the taste and texture is very different. The bright, clean flavour and smoothness of the coffee in the hot version is also present in the cold version, but with added smoothness, sweetness and less bitterness. A cup of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (Grade 1) Coffee retails for SGD $7.90 here.

Comparing Hot & Cold Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (Grade 1) Coffee



Tried the Cold Japanese Roast Coffee, which is best described as 'Kopi-O Gao Kosong Peng'! Very intense, high strength, great for a pick me up... in fact, just like wine, I started to feel a little lightheaded buzz from drinking coffee this intense!

Cold Japanese Roast Coffee



The advantages of the AeroPress Method include a hassle free ease of use, and a quicker time to brew a coffee, usually taking less than 1 minute! The Aerobie AeroPress Coffee & Espresso Maker yields a coffee espresso shot that is just as strong as a conventional espresso machine! This consistent quality, along with convienence, means the AeroPress Method is great for home brewers, or those who want quick but good coffee.

Tried the Kaldi's Signature Kopi-O Specialty Blend Coffee, which is a house signature blend of 3 types of coffee beans. Rich, fragrant aroma, with a full, thick body, low acidity, low bitterness, and clean aftertaste. Taste is almost similar to a 'Kopi-O', and may appeal to traditional Singaporean coffee drinkers. A cup of Kaldi's Signature Kopi-O Specialty Blend Coffee retails for SGD $6.90 here.

Aerobie AeroPress Coffee & Espresso Maker


Coffee AeroPress Method


Hot Kaldi's Signature Kopi-O Specialty Blend Coffee - Via AeroPress Method



Food options at Kaldi's Berry are their weakest point, as the range is somewhat limited to mainly desserts and sandwiches. I've always had this nagging worry about true specialty coffee joints, that they focus too much on coffee and neglect the food. At Kaldi's Berry, I'm happy to say that the taste, quality, and quantity of food is above average, though there is room for improvement. Portions sizes are large for 1 person, and prices are reasonable for a cafe. Budget about SGD $8 or so per person for food alone.

Enticing Plates



The All Day Breakfast Set With Bacon & Ham (SGD $11.90) is probably the only 'main course' on the menu here. The scrambled eggs are soft, fluffy, and tasty with a dash of black pepper. The toast is slightly underdone, not yet crisp, but the salad vegetables are fresh and crunchy. The sauteed mushrooms are nicely cooked, earthy and savoury. The ham and bacon were well grilled, and paired well with the bread.

All Day Breakfast Set With Bacon & Ham (SGD $11.90)



The Waffle With Strawberries, Bananas, Vanilla Ice Cream (SGD $6.90) is the largest dessert available on the menu. Served with fresh strawberries, bananas, and chocolate sauce, the fruits lend a fresh sweetness to the dish. The large scoop of vanilla ice cream I noticed was quite hardy, taking a long time to melt. The difference though, lies in the waffle batter, which is soft and bread like in texture, very different from other waffles elsewhere. Staff tell me that they are experimenting with infusing coffee flavour into the waffle batter!

Waffle With Strawberries, Bananas, Vanilla Ice Cream (SGD $6.90)



If need be, you can still get a conventional Latte (SGD $5.20) brewed with their Elektra Espresso Machine - Barlume Classic Blue Model. A former student of mine is working here now, and on request, she drew several Latte art pictures for us, including a Latte Teddy, a Latte Puppy, and a Latte Kitty! So cute!

Latte Teddy


Latte Puppy


Latte Kitty



Although the Specialty Affogato (SGD $5.90) is listed under 'Iced Coffee', it's actually more like a dessert. A shot of espresso is poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, making this coffee dessert beverage the best way to end a meal here. The version here doesn't contain alcohol. While other cafes serve espresso over ice cream, Kaldi's Berry differentiates their Affogato by using their signature cold drip coffee. The cold drip coffee doesn't melt the ice cream like hot espresso, resulting in a better tasting dessert.

Specialty Affogato (SGD $5.90)


Specialty Affogato



Tea drinkers are not left out, because Kaldi's Berry uses gourmet tea from Tea Forte. With over 11 different classic and exotic flavours to choose from, Tea Forte offers high quality tea styled after the Japanese tea ceremony experience. The trademarked Tea Forte Handcrafted Pyramid Infusers allow for higher quality whole leaf teas to be used, while the Tea Forte Cafe Cup exudes elegance.

Tea Forte Flavours


Tea Forte Handcrafted Pyramid Infusers & Cafe Cup



I loved the sophisticated packaging at Kaldi's Berry! The gift boxes are shaped like little handbags, while the coffee bottles look similar to wine bottles!

Kaldi's Berry Coffee Bottle Packaging


Kaldi's Berry Small Gift Box



Anyone with a passing interest should visit Kaldi's Berry, if not for the knowledge, then at least for their outstanding coffee beverages and friendly service. Kaldi's Berry is perfect for light bites, business discussions in a casual setting, leisurely afternoon dates, and chilling with a book. Perhaps if they expanded their food menu, they might attract even more people!





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