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The Coffee Cities We Miss

The Coffee Cities We Miss

While being cooped up at home has birthed many home-brewers and baristas, nothing beats stumbling across your new favourite café while travelling. As the promise of leisure travel looms over the new year’s horizon, here’s our roundup of our favourite coffee cities and quintessential hot spots to visit on your coffee crawls.

Starting strong with a country that has exported its coffee culture to the world, Australia is home to a myriad of coffee cities, with Melbourne at the center of it. Much has been said about how Melbourne’s coffee culture is one of the most respected, with popular cafés and roasters bearing global reputation.

You could spend several days or even months exploring Melbourne and still not have enough time to visit the almost 2,000 specialty cafés in the city. What we could recommend is to start with icons like ONA, Five Senses, ST. ALi, and Proud Mary among others, but don’t let that stop you from going on your own coffee adventure.

(ST. ALi, Melbourne)

Cold, cloudy, but quite the global city - London is littered with café gems that serve as perfect respites from the gloom when exploring the city.

London is home to many great specialty coffee roasters with a focus on wholesale supply. So you can expect multi-roaster options from the likes Square Mile, Origin Coffee or Colonna Coffee when you visit.

You could also pay a visit to Kaffeine - home of 2017 AeroPress champion, Paulina Miczka, or grab a cup to-go from Department of Coffee and Social Affairs.

(Colonna & Small's, Bath)

The busy and ever-so lively streets of Tokyo never get old, from Shibuya to Harajuku, the energy is just electrifying and perfect for people-watching.

When you’ve finished going through and around the throngs of people, you'd have to take a rest stop at venerable Kissatens like Café L’Ambre, grab a to-go from About Life’s little pop-up window, or have a mix of coffees then cocktails at Fuglen. It is no wonder brands like Blue Bottle and Verve Coffee have chosen to make a presence in this happening city.

(Fuglen, Tokyo)

Hong Kong
You might not think of Hong Kong as a coffee city of sorts, but if there is a sure indicator that the former crown colony has an affection for caffeine - it would be the cans of Black & White milk all around.

Local café culture has formed a city in love with its yuanyang (coffee infused with tea and milk) to naturally embrace the growing specialty coffee scene .

Visiting Sheung Wan will take you to some iconic cafés like 18 Grams and Cupping Room; while exploring Kowloon Island will lead you to homegrown favourites like Knockbox Coffee and Urban Coffee Roasters.

(Cupping Room, Hong Kong)

What’s there to say about Portland’s coffee culture that hasn’t already been said?

Home to the institution, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, the City of Roses is a must-visit for every coffee lover. Roasters like Coava Coffee and Heart Coffee also have reputations that precede them.

There is much to explore in this hotbed of specialty coffee in the Pacific Northwest, and while Seattle a bit up north may have a bit more of a name to itself as a coffee city (Starbucks, anyone?), Portland has a charm of its own that attracts coffee pilgrims the world over.

(Coava, Portland)


Lose yourself in the world of specialty cafés with the newly released Softer Volumes: Cafés - a luxurious coffee table book exhibiting some of the most beautifully-designed cafés around the world.

From eye-catching modern interiors to charmingly minimalistic spaces serving amazing brews, this fabric bound hardcover book features over 100 hand-picked specialty coffee shops. Discover each of them through the lens of the world’s best architecture and interior photographers. Dive into their stories and ignite your wanderlust for 2022 and beyond.

Softer Volumes: Cafés is now available on the Morning Marketplace at S$99.

Words by Ryan Uy @thenameisrye

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