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The Broers Café is a charming little place. Kiat from Broers Café is a charming great dude. Han is the affable quiet chap. Here, Kiat shares his incredible passion for the acidic beverage, some of the challenges in setting up his own café, and what keeps him going.
Tucked away in a quiet corner near Farrer Park MRT, Broers Café isn’t the most accessible of cafés. But it more than makes up for it with its easy charm. The barstools are a homage to old italian bars where the bartender-customer relationship is transcended. Broers believes in the fact that simple conversations allow people to connect with one another and true to this direction, Broers Café tries to organize movie screenings periodically. In fact, there’s one coming up this Halloween week, check it out on Facebook.
Kiat speaks easily of his obsession with coffee, meandering into a brief history of coffee and how each set of beans is unique to the other, just as how our palates for coffee are distinct. He speaks passionately about the ever-changing face of coffee and how there is so much to pick up about the simple modest bean every day. He shuns the concept of coffee as just ‘something you drink in the morning’. “It is something to be savored, and discovered.”
The fine people at Broers understand that every individual’s taste is different, and allows for customization of coffee to suit their customers. For the record, Kiat loves intensity in his coffee. (So if you’d want to bribe him into a huge favor, pack a coffee with loads of punch, and loads of flavor. In his words, it has to hit him!)
Like many, Kiat’s venture into setting up Broers Café was met with objections from family and friends but he soldiered on, along with Han, with clarity and great determination to push for it. His advice is earnest. “Stick with it. It will eventually work out. It’s a matter of hanging in there long enough.” He shares several inspiring outlooks that are definitely products from the tough slog in setting up Broers. “It is really important to have a clear picture of what you want to achieve. There are mornings where I wake up and question myself, why the hell am I doing this every morning? Why am I going through so much hardship and sacrifices? Be it the objections, sacrificing of time, going through obstacles… There are mornings I feel emotionally, financially and mentally drained.”
I’m keeping this entry short because we have collaborated with CoffeeTablePeople. CoffeeTablePeople consists of two unique individuals, Camy and Michelle, both of whom nurse a “karmic collision of the love of pretty food, an obsession with pretty decor and a penchant for pretty photography”. Amazing tidbit: they shoot on only film cameras for their website.
The following is courtesy of CoffeeTablePeople:
For many, “passion” seems like a word carelessly thrown about. But for Kiat and Han from Broers Café, it’s a lifelong fascination, a permanent obsession and… pretty much a habit.
If coffee is part of your daily habitual routine, we might have scored a jackpot of interests here. Kiat and Han are coffee aficionados, but this does not mean snooty people who spend their time sipping espressos and sniffing coffee beans with upturned noses. Kiat has been pulling cups of nirvana since forever and Han picked up the love to brew from starting out in the industry and they are people who love the habit of drinking coffee.
In a period when coffee culture is blossoming in Singapore, we’re filling up a new page in local food history when tastes of the typical consumer is starting to mature. Coffee used to mean tinkling cups of Kopi Siu Tai at the hawker centers pulled from the sock and always served in the transparent glass cups with a thin metal spoon. It then evolved into being served in small and thick white cups on saucers and you had them with bread with kaya and butter, dipped in soy-sauce stained yolk, a new spots sprouting within malls for an eccentric mix of heritage and modernity. Following that, we had the caffeine giants storming into town, bringing along their vanilla lattes and caramel frappucinos. Now, we are seeing a new age of local coffee houses popping up in many outlandish spots of Singapore — serving up handmade and heartmade brews.
Stepping into the Broers Café, you are greeted with a brown, long bar counter that reflects the good-nature of the bosses’ interests to bond with the customers over their drinks. Over at here, they want you to realize it is not just (inclusive, of course) about a good brew but also creating an atmosphere that creates an intimacy between people over a common interest. The Broers brew is “10% caffeine and 90% soul”.
We made our coffee orders and watched the chain reaction — cash register rings, barista checks orders, espressos machines starts buzzing -
I will never get sick of watching the baristas in action. Even in the heat of actions, there is a lot of detail and delicacy in their pulling of shots and pouring of steamed milk. Like what the Chinese call, the perfect mashup of yin and yang.
The Broers Café is really very much like a black cup of coffee — to be taken as it is, holds plenty of promise in its aromatic smell and is strong in taste. I think more people should know about the place and the coffee experience it offers. Beyond that, they should also join into the learning and understanding of this artistry. I wasn’t a coffee drinker but I’ve grown to love the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans and rich passion hanging in the air.
And I hope you do too.
The Broers Café
3 Petain Road
Words by C and Shots by M.