Mellower Coffee @ Bugis
OK, I confess I’m not truly a coffee lover, and wasn’t actively following Singapore’s cafe scene. I didn’t even know Mellower Coffee’s existence until now, some two years after it set foot Singapore shore from Shanghai. It’s hard to associate the coffee chain with China initially, noting that its name did little to suggest that, but then again, coffee is not a China thing, it’s a western influence that’s fast gaining popularity all over the world, including China (I can rationale part of the reasons being Chinese are more receptive of anything foreign, on the other hand, with such name, it’s much easier to venture oversea). But end of the day, be it Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, or even Mellower Coffee, none of their own country produces coffee beans, at best they roasted the imported beans, and in principle, it’s this process they are selling.
I probably won’t have set foot into this cafe if it wasn’t firstly a free treat. They are still relatively new, and their locations, apart from the one at Somerset, are quite out of the way for me, with their Robinson branch almost exclusively serving CBD patrons, and their Bugis flagship store more associated with National Library, I mean, there are so many cafes inside Bugis Junction and Bugis +, why would I walk further up the road for Mellower Coffee especially if I have to expose myself under the sun? Well, I shall explain shortly.
This review is a compilation of several visit, but for convenience sake, I will just document it under one post.
Let’s compare my favourite Starbucks beverage and Mellower Coffee’s, sense the difference? Yes, the coffee art. And it wasn’t just limited to Latte, Mellower Coffee applies that to most all of their hot beverages that contain milk, not to mention their pricing is competitive. But of course, if the taste isn’t great, no matter how much gimmicks you input makes little significance. Well, if you are asking about the taste, I’ll have to say it’s a matter of hit and miss.
Oh, by the way, the Latte art is not fixed, it is not a mean to identify your order and is actually random.
Cafe Latte, $6.20
Generally, whenever I first try a new cafe, I started with their Latte. I have heard rave review on how great it is prior to visiting, but actually, what they did was merely adding cinnamon powder into it, giving off an additional aroma to the usual Latte. So, for those who don’t mind cinnamon, it’s just a little surprise, nothing spectacular really. In any case, cafe like Starbucks do provide optional cinnamon, vanilla powder etc, patrons can add to their desire amount to create a personalise flavour. Unfortunately, my cuppa partner isn’t a big fan of cinnamon, no prize guessing her dislike for this. In any case, I am more of a vanilla person, I would have prefer a richer vanilla flavour. So for this aspect, I think it’s wise to keep it basic, and let patrons determine the portion of spices they desire.
Their Cappuccino is decent, rich, but otherwise very disappointing, because mine was served lukewarm. That happened to my cuppa partner’s Latte too. It may be that the barista is new, but for this price, there is absolutely no reason why the hot beverage can get lukewarm almost as soon as I fetched it to the table. I’m not expecting it to be pipping hot, it can’t, but it certainly cannot be lukewarm at the other extreme as if it had been brew and left cool for more than 15 minutes.
Matcha Latte, $6.00
Those who’s gunning for a genuine Matcha treat may be slightly disappointed with this, though this one was served at an adequate temperature, the Matcha powder just ain’t rich enough. I understand Mellower Coffee attempts to be a little special, but being outstanding doesn’t mean having to (in fact it’s wrong) reduce the characteristic of a Matcha Latte. Only mild Matcha aroma was presence, which led me to wonder whether it’s because of their more competitive prices. I do believe the proprietor must have tried Starbucks’ version before, in addition, I can share even McDonald’s in China serves better Matcha Latte than this.
Matcha Frappe, $7.00
I actually like this perhaps for the whipped cream on top. I could be wrong (then again, there ain’t right or wrong answer on this aspect actually, just personal preference), but I found myself more acceptant to their cold beverages despite this also has less Matcha aroma than I anticipated. I like the sweetness it brings as well as the chilling factor in a hot afternoon. Who knows? Maybe if I visited in the evening, I may have generated different perspective, but I’m more likely going for their hot beverages if I did anyway. But yeah, I like its richness nonetheless.
Sweet Little Rain, $9.80
This is Mellower Coffee’s signature item, and as they put it, it’s actually hot American coffee coupled with sweet little sugar rain dripped from candy floss cloud. One thing for sure, it’s gimmicks, perhaps one for the Instagram. Nonetheless, kudos to Mellower Coffee’s creativity in bringing fun to a cuppa, and if you pay close attention, you can really see a drizzle of candy rain flying all over the table, melted by the heat from the coffee underneath, you gotta be careful don’t let the candy drizzle stick to your belongings! However, when it comes to the taste… erm, once again, let’s be very clear, if you are getting this, you are in fact paying for the gimmicks, not the coffee. The coffee itself is very acidic, great for those coffee addict perhaps, but a little too strong for my preference. Personally, I find myself needing some sugar even after the entire candy floss was dipped into the coffee, yes after a while, my patience runs thin, and I simply dip it in. LOL!
Ondeh X Latte, $9.80
Ondeh X Latte is Mellower Coffee’s exclusive creation for Singapore, although not as flamboyant as Sweet Little Rain, but cost just as much, but is actually more than just a shot of expresso plus a glass of coconut milk with gula melaka. You can probably notice coconut flakes intentionally sticking to the glass rim to create an Instagram-savvy impression, most importantly, it has a marvellous taste to match!
To be honest, when it was served, I had to ask the barista how am I suppose to appreciate this. She told me to adjust the quantity of the coconut milk into the coffee to create my favourite proportion. I ended up pouring them all in anyway! 😀 But really, come to think of it, it really should be the other way round, that the coffee to be poured into the coconut milk, cos that’s more of a drinking glass after all.
Alright, I think for the time being, that’s all I have to say about their beverages, let’s go on the the pastries.
Grilled Chicken Pesto, $7.90
At $7.90, I’m expecting their Grilled Chicken Pesto to be more flavourful. Unfortunately, it gave a stale bland taste which left me pondering whether we should have eaten our dinner at Delifrance or Subway earlier.
Salted Caramel Cheesecake, $7.00
We were frequent patrons of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and absolutely love their cakes, but this Salted Caramel Cheesecake was another disappointment. The taste is OK, but the texture, erm… slumpish. Once sliced, it crumbled like semi-molten lava, which I suspect was due to not been fridged long enough.
New York Cheesecake, $7.00
This is really how a decent cake should look and taste like, the cheesey taste is moderate, and in perfect firm cake shape, unlike our previous experience with their Salted Caramel Cheesecake. But in truth, it’s just average, nothing spectacular, and nothing to grumble about.
Matcha Mousse, $6.80
Their Matcha Mousse is at least refreshing, notably on its design. The macaron is interesting, along with the pyramid cube on the other end. Its appearance easily outsell the taste, which wasn’t bad really!
Earl Grey Lavender Cake, $7.00
I’m not sure whether Mellower Coffee’s cakes are seasonal, but when I wanna try their Matcha Mousse again, it was nowhere to be found, I saw their new Earl Grey Lavender Cake, and ordered this instead. As a big fan of Earl Grey Tea, I am having big expectation for this, and it certainly didn’t fail. I find the Lavender and Earl Grey aroma blending very coherently, and simply love the nutty texture of the cake.
I think I will visit again, I guess that tells I’m still satisfied with this cafe.