Coffee, a universally-loved beverage, is not just simply coffee to its true fans and connoisseurs; there is coffee and then, there is specially-brewed coffee prepared in various ways with care by a specially-trained barista.
Costa Coffee, a renowned global brand with its origins in the UK and encompassing more than 3,800 retail outlets worldwide, has recently introduced its bold and unique Brew Bar here in Malaysia, specifically, at Sunway Pyramid in Petaling Jaya, only the second brew bar in the world (after Dubai) and the first in Southeast Asia.
Nor Izzati Salim, director of Gapurna Permai Sdn Bhd, the company that is the master franchisee for Costa Coffee retail stores in Malaysia, is enthused about this milestone for the brand, remarking, “Costa Coffee offers customers a new coffee experience with this new Brew Bar, featuring specialty single origin beans and blends prepared with unique equipment that combines traditional and innovative brewing methods.”
The Star was invited to sample and savour these exotic and intriguing single origin blends – Colombian Single Origin, Indian Single Estate and Winter Berries blend -- and the distinct tastes produced by the different brewing methods, namely Trinity, French Press and Syphon.
Baristas Noor Fara’in Sharif, Baslaa Fadhullah Lim, Na’im Azimi, Mohd Izfar Makmum and Muhamad Haziq Md Yusuff were on hand to demonstrate, step-by-step, complete with a detailed explanation, of all the important aspects and considerations, how these delicious and smooth coffees were produced at the Brew Bar before they are set before the customer.
The baristas, who have been with Costa Coffee for two months, undergo rigorous and comprehensive training before they are accorded the title of Brew Bar Specialist, and it is a title that has to be earned properly given the complexity and care required to understand and undertake in order to deliver the best to the coffee-lover.
The baristas patiently explain to customers, for instance, the importance of appreciating the aroma of the beans before they are brewed and even how the difference in preparing the milk makes a difference in the texture of the coffee served. Customisation is also the focus here at the Brew Bar, so let the baristas know your individual preferences.
For instance, if you want to try the Indian Single Estate prepared by syphon brewing, Fara’in and Baslaa tell us, the water has to be at the exact temperature of 97⁰C, heated by a halogen beam in the heating element (for the safety of the baristas) before the freshly-ground beans (all imported from the Costa bean-packing facility in the UK) are added, and thereafter, the mixture has to be carefully blended in the coffee pot using a bamboo paddle, using a consistent pressure, and swirled 10 times, no more, no less.
Yes, that precise.
The result is sensational – while the syphon-brewed Colombian single origin coffee (served in a double-walled vacuum glass) is zingy and strong with an earthy nuttiness, the Indian single origin produced by the press brew method is robust yet smooth. The hybrid French press method, Baslaa says, allows the coffee to be filtered out at the top with the paper filter, while Fara’in explains that the top layer – the crema, or café oil – is removed so as to not interfere with the purity of the final cup.
It is a coffee experience that has to be had in person at the Brew Bar.
The award-winning bright, elegant and invitingly-decorated 3,000 sq ft store houses the Brew Bar, while Fara’in prepares another shot for us using the immersion method with the winter berries blend. The bar is a must-visit for those who crave authentic specialty coffee that isn’t mass-produced nor prepared by a machine.
“Customers can choose from a selection of specialty beans, ” adds Nor Izzati, “that brings coffee connoisseurs on an adventure, ” she enthuses, while encouraging Costa Coffee fans to upload and tag their special moments at Costa Coffee outlets with the #celebratecoffee and #costacoffeemalaysia.
For dedicated and devoted coffee lovers who must have their special cup of joe, we highly recommend paying a visit to the Costa Coffee Brew Bar in Sunway Pyramid to try the specially-prepared specialty single origin and berries blends coffee and enjoy the baristas prepare your cuppa – you won’t regret it.