Thursday, September 4, 2014

YummY! - A Tasty Affair @ Bulb Coffee

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               Jotaro's Food Review              
Damansara Jaya, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia - September 2014
Pssst...... I am letting you into a secret, I am having an affair and it's a tasty one at a coffee bar. No, I did not have a fling with a pretty barista.

Makan Club members group photo at Bulb Coffee.
Before your thoughts go running wild, I better tell you that it was a coffee tasting affair organised by Eunice of the Makan Club and held at The Bulb Coffee. It was a sober meeting of friends from the Makan Club to try out good coffee while being enlightened by the in-house baristas on the fine points of drinking and making coffee.

First, let us get acquainted with Bulb Coffee.
The indoor seating section, furniture has been rearranged for our "class".

Right at the entrance into the indoor section are low comfortable armchairs, and before that an open smokers' section.

The coffee bar counter.

Ok.... class is about to start; let's pay attention then.
Cheerful barista Yao kicked off with a session on the growing of coffee, with the Arabica and Robusta coffee as examples. He provided us clear facts on what affects the cultivation of coffee, and answered very well the queries from the floor too.

Coffee can be grown almost anywhere but more important is where can specific coffee be grown to produce the best of it's type. Different coffees grows best in different regions of the world. The location, soil type will produce good coffee cherries (yes, they are called cherries when they are on the bushes) of a particular type.
Yao also briefed us on the ripening time of the cherries and whether they stay on the shrubs or fall off upon ripening. The above chart used by Yao shows optimum temperature, rainfall, altitude for the growing of the Arabica and Robusta coffee cherries, and also their brew characteristics.
There is more to the cultivation of coffee than what most of us have previously known.

We were given small paper cups with Robusta coffee to try out. The thing about tasting coffee is not to sip it but rather to drink that small mouthful down in one gulp with a gurgling sound; that is taking in some air at the same time. It's somewhat similar to wine tasting.
We haven't come to the session of recognising the underlying tastes and flavour of different coffee yet, so I will just say that the Robusta is a strong coffee and leave it at that for the moment.

Next Agnes came on to give us a talk on the fine points of the taste and flavours of coffee. She was a more quite and serious person; but when it comes to talking about coffee she became very passionate, bubbling in fact with with her wide barista's knowledge which she imparted to us.

Coffee beans of both type were passed around for us to appreciate their aroma and learn how to differentiate their shapes. The above photos shows the Arabica bean on the left. The Robusta on the right has a slight crook at one end of its seam.

Her brief was on the planting, processing of coffee. She also elaborated on coffee tasting, roasting, grinding and brewing with much emphasise on how to distinguish the taste and flavours of coffee.

Another round of tasting, this time the Arabica, and this time we are more equipped to distinguish the coffee after the talk by Agnes.
Points to note when tasting the coffee are:
1. Fruity - the sweetness of the coffee and also it's underlying flavour - eg. ones with jack-fruit flavour are hard to find.
2. Acidity - the sourness of the coffee.
3. Woodiness - The bitterness of the coffee's flavour and aroma, whether it's similar to some wood or tobacco. Or in some instance the earthiness, smelling of burnt earth.
4. Chocolatey - Whether the coffee has some taste and aroma of chocolate. For example, based on a scale of 9-100%, Arabica has 88% chocolate flavour.
5. Nutty - Coffee being a bean has some nutty flavour or aroma. It's an underlying one, subtle but discernible, for example some coffee may have a hazel nut flavour while others may have a Macadamia one.

We also tasted the Highlander Coffee which is a Liberica (a South-east Asian variant of Arabic). It had an initial acidity with a balanced body.
What came next was a hands-one session, where many questions were asked.
The market for fine coffee in Malaysia is growing; now there are even micro-roasters who can cater for individual coffee outlets to have their particular choice of beans roasted in quantity adequate for their short term use.
I say short term use as to obtain the best from roasted coffee, it is best used within one to four weeks after roasting. During that time frame the coffee bean is crunchy and easy to grind; and when brewed the fresh ground coffee blooms bubbly.
Hard-core coffee drinkers may also request for coffee of a single origin, i.e. beans that come from a particular farm, and even a particular growing season!

The hands-on session were really when we put our hands in. We were encouraged to have a close look at the beans, smell them; and even break them to crunch in our mouths.

Terrence, a Makan Club member who appreciates fine coffee, also displayed a coffee press. This presses out coffee onto a filtered cup thus squeezing the most out of the coffee powder.

We each paid RM38-00 for the coffee tasting session; a bargain considering that we got to taste several types of coffee and, more importantly,learnt so much more from the talks given by the baristas.
This also included having two coffees of our choice after the "class".

Fristly, I went for a cup of Cappuccino, drinking it slowly and applying my new found knowledge with each sip.
It was earthy with a slight acid taste and smelt chocolatey. The cream was frothy and went very well with the coffee.

 And this glass of coffee which I liked very much; it's a coffee with the interesting name of Affogato - apparently an Italian barista had put some ice-cream into a glass and had absent-mindedly poured coffee onto it and exlcaimed "Affogato!" ("I forgot oh!").
It was a very good coffee; coffee made all the better drunk in the company of good friends.

75 (Ground Floor), Jalan SS22/19, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel.: +603-7497 0759     Email:
Facebook:     Webpage:
GPS: 3.126332,101.615123

Hours: 10:30am to 10:00 pm (Normal Days)
10:30 am to 11:00 pm (Fridays, Saturdays and holidays eves)
Closed on Mondays

View Bulb Coffee Damansara Jaya in a larger map

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East meets West Fusion in a Balinese ambience of dining with nature, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

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