The Broers Cafe


View in HD [here].

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.

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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!)

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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.”

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Beef sand­wich with amaz­ing pota­to sal­ad

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Big friend­ly ‘giant’ Kiat (left) and part­ner Han (right)

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.

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The fol­low­ing is cour­tesy of Cof­feeTablePeo­ple:

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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.

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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.

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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 -

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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.

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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
Sin­ga­pore 208108

Tue-Thu: 10:00 — 20:00
Fri-Sat: 10:00 — 23:00
Sun: 10:00 — 20:00
Web­site
Check out the Broers Cafe on Face­book!

Words by C and Shots by M.


5 Comments

  • Lawrence Tay

    October 24, 2011

    Hi, Real­ly love the way you had describe The Broers Cafe. It’s seem like telling a sto­ry of a fairy tale. Being charm by the way you told the sto­ry. Keep it up!

    Reply
  • Rajeev

    October 25, 2011

    Sad­ly, and to our dis­ap­point­ment, the gf and I popped by on Sun­day morn­ing at 10am only to see that the cafe wasn’t open, and with no sig­nage what­so­ev­er. Not real­ly what you would expect of a cafe that intends to bond with it’s cus­tomers.

    Reply
  • theanalogdork

    October 25, 2011

    Just put this into my list of cafes to vis­it. 🙂

    Reply
  • Kiat

    October 25, 2011

    Hi Rajeev I apol­o­gise for your unpleas­ant expe­ri­ence. I would love to hear from you on how we can improve our cus­tomer expe­ri­ence at kiat@thebroerscafe.sg. I would like to per­son­al­ly invite you back for a con­ver­sa­tion over cof­fee and hope to see you soon.

    Sin­cere­ly yours
    Kiat
    Co-own­er
    The Broers Cafe

    Reply
  • Camy

    October 29, 2011

    theana­logue­dork: Yes you should Izad, it’s part of the cafes with the Be Dis­loy­al card project!

    Rajeev: Oh dear, I hope you and your lady didn’t have too much trou­ble find­ing some­where else to head to. In any case, light­en up! There should be a good rea­son for that mishap and, as Kiat men­tioned, noth­ing you can’t solve with a con­ver­sa­tion over a cup­pa! 🙂

    Reply

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