In early March, I was invited to the Coffee: Nowhere cafe (located at the West Coast Plaza, #B1-06/07) for a coffee and food appreciation session. I went with an open mind and without the benefit of Google Search. I arrived early with Grace (of WorkingWithGrace fame) so as to meet Welson Ang and talk about his journey and his entrepreneurship – his coffee journey, of course.
The first two Coffee: Nowhere outlets were opened in Malaysia. The first was opened in December 2013 as a concept cafe. In addition to serving specialty coffee and food, the outlet sells quality coffee beans, coffee-related products and barista training. The Malaysian outlets operate on a full-service basis.
After meeting Welson, I am pretty sure that the rather quirky name Coffee: Nowhere is a reflection of his personality – of challenging the status quo and conquering the unknown.
Coffee: Now Here – And Here We Come!
After hitting it well with the two outlets in Malaysia, the brand expanded rapidly into Singapore and then to Indonesia. Brunei and Cambodia are already in the pipeline.
Success brings confidence and Coffee: Nowhere is now pronounced as Coffee: Now Here. Welson Ang told me this confidently – “We’re not a company, but a brand.” And I know that Welson is knowledgeable about coffee. He is a Coffee Competition Champion!
The company logo, designed to be washed with a background of warm light, can now take its customers on a journey of excellence in speciality coffees. (Note: Specialty coffee is a grade higher than the premium coffees that are served in the likes of Starbucks and the Coffee Bean.)
Coffee Culture Started In Turkey
The formation of culture around coffee and coffeehouses dates back to 14th century Turkey (Wikipedia). Just look at our traditional kopi tiams and the many of us enjoying the local kopi (coffee) along with local dishes.
I found out early in my rather nomadic life (leaving home to work and live overseas) that coffee has a special way to bond friends who are coffee lovers. Many coffee lovers enjoy the “kick” from drinking this beverage. Perhaps that is the reason why I had to savour some real Turkish coffee (don’t drink the fine residue that forms about 20% of a cuppa) before I can focus on this post.
In February, the US 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee gave us coffee drinkers some welcome news. It released a report which basically says that drinking 3 to 5 cups per day (or up to 400mg of caffeine) is fine for healthy adults. My take is that you exercise care not to overload your body with the sugar and cream that most people consume coffee with.
And so all my coffee-loving friends, you can continue and to drink more coffees (unless you are now drinking more than the 3 cups daily). Drink your premium coffees sans sugar and you can better savour your cuppa, sip by sip.
Coffee Culture In Places I Have Been
1. Vienna & Cafe Central
The Viennese coffee house is so important in shaping the Viennese culture that it is recognised as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage”. (Tip: Go to the Cafe Central and order the Kaffe Expresso with liqueur and whipped cream and the apple strudel or the cakes and tarts.)
2. London & Monmouth
My undisputed favourite cafe (anywhere in the world that I have been) is Monmouth. It has three outlets in London and my choice is the Covent Garden outlet. They buy and roast their beans from single farms with exacting standards based on a sustainable, fair and equal trade. (Tip: Patronise the Covent Garden outlet when you go to the theatres. Another outlet is (pictured below) located in the Borough Market, one of the oldest markets in London and offers you the choice of wholesale and retail foods.
(Tip: Patronise the Covent Garden outlet when you go to the theatres. Another outlet (pictured below) is located at the Borough Market, one of the oldest markets in London and offers you the choice of wholesale and retail foods.)
3. Seattle & Starbucks
Seattle, in the Pacific Northwest, is home to Boeing, Microsoft and Starbucks. Starbucks opened its first store in 1971 there. It is a lovely city, often ranked within the top ten best cities to live in the US, and definitely worth a visit.(Tip: When visiting Seattle, don’t miss the historic Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. It is because Starbucks first outlet is located in a historic district with design guidelines, the outlet retains its original look.)
(Tip: When visiting Seattle, don’t miss the historic Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. It is because Starbucks first outlet is located in a historic district with design guidelines, the outlet retains its original look.)
4. Budapest & Coffee In A Beautiful McDonald’s
Across Europe, coffee culture is everywhere. Whilst visiting Budapest, I was given a tip to enjoy coffee in a MacDonald’s outlet. What? The Coffee there? I listened with disbelief. The outlet was located in a beautiful building. Perhaps because of the charming environment, the MacDonald’s coffee, in fact, tasted good!
The outlet was located in a beautiful building. Perhaps because of the charming environment, the MacDonald’s coffee, in fact, tasted good!
5. Many Other Coffee Hotspots
The largest coffee markets are the United States, Germany and Japan. Other large coffee consumers include Canada, Australia, Sweden and New Zealand. The cafe society was developed in Paris and has its lovely sidewalk cafes. and so was important in the development of “café society” in the first half of the 20th century. I enjoyed the sidewalk cafes in my visits to Paris. Rome – Italy – best cappuccinos
The cafe society was developed in Paris and I have enjoyed its many lovely sidewalk cafes – both to rest my feet and to enjoy my cuppa. In Vienna, Rome (the best cappuccinos) and Venice (cafes at St Mark’s Square) – in fact all over Europe coffee is pervasive.
Down under in Australia and New Zealand, their cafe culture is strong. In fact, Australia is widely regarded to offer some of the best coffee in the world. This explains the lacklustre performance of Starbucks in Australia.
6. Coffee: Nowhere Is Coffee: Now Here In Singapore
Ten years ago I was puzzled (a little annoyed really) by a comment from my young business partner from New Zealand. He told me that the coffees here in Singapore were … well, not real coffees. As a coffee lover in both the local kopi O and the premium and specialty coffees that are conquering the world over, I am focussing on the “real” aspects of specialty coffee in this post.
What I Like About Coffee: Now Here | Its Products And Offerings
1. The Focus On Specialty Coffee
Firstly, all their Expresso-Based Coffees us 100% Arabica beans come from selected and defined areas. Naturally good coffees come from good quality beans which in turn depend on the farmers and their farms. Secondly, the flavour of the coffee depends on the roaster and the brewer.
On its menu are hand brewed specialty coffees that include those brewed as follows: Syphon ($8.80), Aeropress ($6.80), Pourover ($6.80), French Press ($6.80) and Cold Drip ($6.80).
2. The Brew Bar & Coffee Appreciation Workshops
Ian Consulta, one of just 15 certified Q graders in Singapore conducts coffee appreciation workshops regularly (call to check schedule). I’d like to share with you how just one session has taught me how to discover and enjoy the flavours I like.
Our session went like this: Using one type of bean (believe it was the Ethiopia Red Cherry), Ian demonstrated three different methods of brewing coffee. The Syphon (using cloth filter), Aeropress, and Pour Over (with paper filter) each produced a cuppa with different levels of acidity, flavour and aroma.
I like the Syphon method for its better aroma and flavour plus the right level of acidity for my taste buds. This is the brewing method favoured in Japan.
3. Cosy & Varied Ambience
This factor does not by itself makes a cafe great, but I find this conducive. It has a “library” corner for my wife to read and peace for me to catch up on my social media.
4. Wide Range Of Coffee Beans & Related Equipment For Sale
Online at the SETACAFE ( or Set A Cafe for easy reading!) shop or in its outlet is the wide range of merchandise: from coffee beans to drippers to brewing equipment.
5. Mobile Coffee Catering
And if you want to impress your guests at your business or social events, here’s the solution for you to offer specialty coffees on-wheels. Nice. You can click here.
6. LETS Program For Aspiring Entrepreneurs
And for those who has the passion to read this far, this programme may be for you. They offer the LETS Program (Licensing, Equipment, Training, System & Software) that equips aspiring entrepreneurs to start a coffee business mobile or retail- based. Check it out here.
Have Your Cuppa of Coffee Now.