There’s a cool, new coffee spot in town and its name is Barista & Co.
Started as a mobile coffee bar just a little over two years ago by Chirag Shah, Barista & Co. would often be found set up at events such as fairs, weddings and parties. They quickly perfected the art of pulling espresso shots as they immersed themselves in the world of specialty coffee and soon, their passion for excellent coffee inspired them to be in control of the entire process, right from bean to cup.So, when Barista & Co. recently set up their first coffee shop and roastery at the Keystone Park on Riverside Drive in August, I was quite excited to visit, especially since I had already fallen in love with their Peppermint Mocha, even going so far as to mix it up a little and created my own creation: a Peppermint Hot Chocolate.
Having visited Barista & Co. twice prior for coffee, I asked one of my friends to join me there for a brunch catch-up sesh one weekend. We arrived at the café after 11:30AM on a Saturday morning and to my surprise, it was empty, but soon enough, the café was buzzing with people. With the capacity to sit about 20 people, Barista & Co. has a relaxing aesthetic with wooden furniture and cute succulents on the white tables. It’s quite Instagrammable!The Barista & Co. menu consists of several coffee drinks including the classic coffee options, signature drinks such as the Mandarin Mocha and hand-brewed coffee using an Aeropress, a V60 and a Siphon.For the non-coffee drinkers, there’s also orange juice, hot chocolate and a choice of teas. They have baked goods such as Croissants, Gâteau of the Day and the Classic Belgian Waffles. For those of you who don’t have a sweet tooth (rather unfortunately, in my opinion), they have a savory option: a selection of vegetarian paninis. And for those with allergies, they offer homemade soya and almond milk options and gluten-free food options.To drink, while I asked to be surprised, my friend ordered a Vanilla Latte. When the drinks arrived, I got a Hazelnut and Caramel Latte. It was a sweet hot drink with lovely caramel nutty notes.Given it was a gloomy cold day, we decided to share a Classic Belgian Waffle. It arrived topped with strawberries, grapes, bananas, chocolate sauce, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream. With a crunchy shell and fluffy interior, the waffle was incredibly delicious. We both loved it!To finish our brunch, we decided to try the Siphon Coffee. Watching it being set up was very exciting and reminded me of those practical experiments we conducted in high school during our chemistry lessons. The well-versed barista, Charles, was truly a coffee expert, answering my many questions with ease as he took us through the siphoning process.One of the oldest coffee brewing methods that doesn’t require electricity, the siphon method was invented in 1805. There were two glass vessels – the bottom one was filled with 300ml hot water, then corked with a siphon tube sticking vertically upwards. Another glass vessel was placed on top, open to the atmosphere.
The bottom vessel was then heated; as the temperature increased, the vapour pressure of the water increased. This then pushed the water up the siphon tube into the upper vessel. A small amount of still hot water and steam remained in the bottom vessel and were kept heated.
The pressure kept the water in the upper vessel, which was then filled with 30g medium roast coffee grounds. After the coffee brewed, the heat was removed from the bottom vessel, which led to a decrease in the vapour pressure. The brewed coffee was then pushed into the empty bottom vessel, ready to be served.
Basically, what vapour pressure means concretely is that the boiling water converts high-density (a liquid) into low-density steam (a gas), which thus expands to take up more volume. This pressure from the expanding steam then forces the liquid up the tube; when the steam then condenses down to water, the pressure decreases and the liquid flows back down.
The resulting coffee was delicious and surprisingly not as bitter as I had expected. The medium roast had chocolate-y notes too. We tried it both hot and iced. The iced espresso tasted less bitter as I could then taste the coffee’s fruity notes too.A place where creativity, science and dedication meet – the café is ideal for casual hangouts and coffee dates.After having had a wonderful time with attentive service, scrumptious food and excellent coffee, both my friend and I left Barista & Co. caffeinated properly.
Disclosure: Our meal was complimentary, courtesy of Barista & Co., however, all views and opinions are entirely my own.
Photos & videos by Millie Shah