Peter's comments in italics.
You know how it is with some places (or people) that you find you can just "click"" with at the first encounter? Well, that's what happened for me at Java Dreams Coffee & Roastery (B1-46, The Central) on this rainy Sunday afternoon...
Ok, I'm not a real serious2 coffee afficianado (like me dearest hubby) but I do need my coffee almost daily, and I do like good coffee places with the right feel and of course, the brew itself must live up to expectations. So after a pretty good lunch at Central, hubby, son & I, decided to give Jave Dreams a try.
Hubby ordered his usual Espresso (double shot), I ordered a Cappucino and we also decided to try a piece of their Chocolate Truffle cake.
The espresso came larger than one expects. It was not quite up to hubby's standards. He felt that the coffee beans may have been over-roasted but finished it nonetheless.
For a store who takes the trouble of roasting their own coffee...check out the Die Dietrich roaster in the corner. what a beauty! This raised hopes...unfortunately, too high. I don't know what they use in their blend and who the roastmaster is, but the results are a bit disappointing. The coffee displayed in vats on a wall looked over-roasted...the beans were oily, and very dark. I also spied a vat of green beans on the lower right.
A picture of the gorgeous roaster.
The espresso machine is a high tech, computer controlled 2 group affair by Nuova Simonelli - looks like their Premier Maxi. A machine which should be capable of hammering out excellent espresso all day. Temperature control should be spot on, group pressure perfect, and if barista technique is equal to the task, the espresso should be syrupy, concentrated, with great mouth feel and show an excelelnt head of crema - reddish brown and characterised by some tiger striping. See earlier post on espresso lessons.
This double shot tasted consistent with an over-roasted bean - bitter, bland, lacking body and had poor, thin mouthfeel. Also, the crema was very thin, in a pale colour, indicating over-extraction...also evidenced by the large volume of the shot.
My cappucino,on the other hand, was quite pleasing to the eye and this was because the barista dressed it up with choco-latte art! (see picture, see picture!!).
This ain't excatly truly Ally McBeal-frothing and moustche-making style cappucino, but hey, who caress when its good-looking! After sipping it, chocolate well-stirred in, I found this capp. tasted pretty satisfying and not too bad at all.
A strict cappucinno would not have chocholate syrup added - a traditional Italian barista would freak out (!!...he would also freak out by a customer ordering cappucinno after breakfast time...Italians only drink espresso after breakfast cappucinno...but that's another story)...so I would classify this as a mild latte mocha, rather than cappucinno. The latte art made by the chocholate syrup was quite nice...the spider's web was crisp, and well defined. Nice.
As for the chocolate truffle cake, it was less rich than I had hoped for. But it was good enough to get son, Edward, interested and happy in polishing it all up. It was, rather a bit more moist than the picture suggests.
All in all, it wasn't so much that the coffee and cake were to "die for", but there was something about this small cosy cafe that "clicked" for me today. Perhaps it was the lazy jazzy Norah Jones croonin'away. Or perhaps it was the unpretentious big red coffee roaster placed inconspicously at the corner, not out at the front centre of the shop. And a couple of colorful coffee-themed posters (one had "Whole Latte Love" on it) casually on one wall. Nice. Very casual and unobtrusive, as a real good coffee hang-out should be.
Best part was, it wasn't chock-a-block packed with noisy people like your every other self-service coffee shop in town. That's what probably did it. The place allowed me and my best guys to take our time to sip our cuppa, flip some magazines (as did son after cake was wiped off plate) and basically, just kick back and enjoy the moment. Aptly named "Java Dreams", this place could certainly make one forget the hustle and hurry of life for a while with its quiet ambience and pleasant smiling staff who remained discreetly behind the counter but were there to respond when you needed them. Unlike some haughty local cake and desert places which refuse to serve one water for free, even if you're paying gastronomical prices for its cakes/pastries. Iced water here was given freely and happily when asked for. These were the small things that made for a great relaxing time when hanging out here with family/friends. I hope this place doesn't become another coffee place turned Starbucks later. I hope it remains this casual and cosy enough for one to slip into, hold and sip that cuppa for a while and be lulled away into Java Dreams..zzz.
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
#B1-46, The Central