Review: RAGE Bangsar – Where Coffee, Tech and Communities Meet

Good news for coffee lovers!

There’s a new cafe in town, and it’s more than just your typical Instagrammable spot. Setting itself apart from the typical copy-and-paste coffee chains, RAGE Bangsar aims to reinvent the scene with a refreshing new cafe concept that combines technology, coffee and the local community.

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At the official launching at their outlet in Menara UOA Bangsar, which I was privileged to attend! 🙂

The community aspect of the cafe is reflected in the cafe’s interior, with communal long tables (there’s one that’s actually converted from a ping pong table) as well as a ‘RAGE room’ where you can let out some steam after a stressful day at work (complete with actual punching bag and boxing gloves!). Wood and ambient lighting create a cosy atmosphere, while the raw concrete and exposed ceiling lends it an industrial chic vibe.

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“Most relationships start over a drink and very often that happens to be a caffeinated beverage. It can be as easy as ‘Hey, let’s go and grab a cup of coffee’,” says co-founder, Jevin Singh. “We want everyone to walk into any RAGE outlet and feel the close-knit communal spirit that we aspire to create across all outlets. Even the interior is built with a focus on Relationships-First.”

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Meanwhile, the tech aspect comes into play via their mobile application called DrinkRage, which allows members or ‘RAGERs’ to pre-order their drinks and even get them delivered. Delivery areas are currently targeted at high density office areas such as KL Sentral and the Bangsar LRT station, so you can get your caffeine fix in just a few taps, without having to leave the office. Talk about convenience!

With our hectic lifestyles in the city, time is of the essence, and RAGE aspires to help make the experience of offering coffee a smooth and efficient one. Upon placing an order, RAGERs can expect their coffee to be ready for pickup when they arrive or delivered within 20 minutes by an assigned runner. Great for groggy mornings when you need a caffeine booster to get the day started!

Beyond just selling coffee, the app also aims to deliver inspiration on demand. Within the app, there is also a specific community tab which allows fellow RAGERs to sign up for events and build relationships with people who enjoy the same cup of coffee.

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Quirky names and descriptions. Also RM8 for a cup of coffee in KL is a very reasonable price !

Their specialties include items with localised ingredients, such as Milo-spresso Dino, Matcha My Asam and Matcha Gula Melaka. For vegans/vegetarians and the health conscious / lactose intolerant , choose from several milk options such as oat, coconut, soy or regular dairy.

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Tried their “Dirty Chai”, which was pretty strong. The frothiness of the milk helped to cut through the spice and slightly tart bitterness. 

RAGE Bangsar also offers food on their menu, including full breakfasts and substantial meals like sambal aglio olio, rice bowls and mala chilli pan mee.

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The brand is also heavily invested in curating workshops in hopes to support aspiring individuals and tie the working community closer together. From movie nights to personal branding and motivational talks, RAGE has curated a fascinating lineup of interactive activities in store for all its members.Just stay updated on the app and join in on the convo!

RAGE is a strong proponent of working with other local businesses. Collaborating with eco friendly beauty brand ‘The Mineraw’, RAGE’s coffee waste is the star and vital component in their body, face and lip scrub produced by these ethical connoisseurs. You can get these items in store too.

RAGE BANGSAR 

Menara Uoa Bangsar, Unit LGF-3A, No 5, Jalan Bangsar Utama 1, Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur

Business hours: 7.45AM – 8PM (Mons- Fris), 8AM – 2.45PM (Sat). Closed Sundays.

drinkrage.com

*Images not watermarked courtesy of RAGE/SuppagoodPR 

 

For Hardcore Coffee Connoisseurs : Aunty Peg’s Proud Mary Coffee @ Collingwood, Melbourne

Melbourne has a sophisticated cafe culture, and there’s no better place to experience it than at Aunty Peg’s. The cafe-cum-coffee bar, run by local coffee roaster and retailer, Proud Mary Coffee, is located in a repurposed warehouse in a quiet corner of Collingwood – also home to their roasting facilities and the Collingwood Coffee College.

Step into the cafe space and be greeted by a gigantic homely-looking shelf  – the kind you may find at a genial aunt’s home – but instead of knick knacks and tea cozies, expect to find coffee equipment, interspersed with the occasional potted plant and tastefully arranged magazines/decor. Over on the right are more shelves, lined with Proud Mary’s range of ethically-sourced coffee beans from Brazil, Colombia, Honduras and Nicaragua, to name a few. The brand takes pride in supporting and representing coffee producers and communities, paying visits to their producers and venturing to their farms, homes and families.

The ‘bar’ area is a setup for 12 with high stools lining a warm-hued, polished wooden countertop. Our group cosied up to a few while our barista patiently ran down the types of coffee beans available and the filtering methods. At the back are three Synesso single-group machines, filters and taps.

For someone who has been chugging cappuccinos and lattes all her life, it came as a slight shock to be told that they only serve black coffee.  I was tempted to label it as typical hipster coffee snobbery, but the baristas assured me that its because they are committed to serving coffee in its ‘purest form’.

Look out for the cold nitro brews, the process which is done over several days whereby the coffee beans are brewed, filtered, charged with nitrogen (or argon) and then kegged – just like alcohol. Now I don’t usually drink black coffee because it’s too bitter for my liking, but I was surprised that this was refreshingly crisp and soothing; none of that sandiness you get on your tongue as it slips down the throat. You also get that nice aroma which spreads around your mouth after each sip.

Adding on to the whole ambience was a selection of old records playing nearby, from rap to jazz and 80s MoTown.

Our friendly barista preparing our coffees.

If I remember correctly, their beans for the day was a varietal called Wush Wush, originating from Ethiopia. Like wine, there are coffee ‘notes’ – which state that the varietal shares delicate notes similar to Geshas (a type of apple), Jasmine, lemongrass, mandarin, plum, apricots, honey and possibly rose, whiskey and cinnamon.

There were several ways to have it, including washed, Honey and Natural. I opted for the Honey, which was supposed to have notes of apricot, nectarine and peach with a syrupy flavour. This was rather lost on this coffee noob. That’s also the problem I have with wine tastings – whenever people say that ‘this has an oaky flavour’ etc, I’m like “Oh so this tastes like a tree?” gaddamn.

Sorry, rambled. Back to the topic at hand…

I liked the coffee. It had a creamy foam on top which reminded me of beer, and the coffee itself was smooth and fragrant. I wouldn’t be able to tell you if it was peachy or not though, but it definitely had an undertone that reminded me of honey.

We visited the back area where they stored their beans. These were labeled with name and origin.

A quick jaunt upstairs to the Collingwood Coffee College, where they have classes every week to teach brewing/roasting methods to interested members of the public. There is also a bakery up here which supplies baked treat to the cafe downstairs, but it wasn’t open during our visit.

Large coffee machines at the back of the warehouse.

In short, I think this would be a great place for coffee lovers who want to experience something beyond the commercialised outlets that are a dime a dozen in Melbourne. They are a family run business so everything’s very personal (even the cafe is named after someone in the fam) and the service is very friendly.

AUNTY PEG’S 

200 Wellington St, Collingwood VIC 3066, Australia

Open daily: 9AM – 5PM

proudmarycoffee.com.au

 

Cafe Malaysia 2016

*first published on efy.com.my on January 19 2016. 

There’s nothing like the smell of freshly brewed coffee and baking pastries in the early morning.

Or afternoon. Or evening. Coffee and cakes are always welcome, anytime!When I stepped into Café Malaysia 2016 at the Matrade Exhibition Center in Kuala Lumpur last weekend, I was in for a real treat to the senses. The aroma of freshly ground coffee beans and baked cookies was enough to set the tongue salivating and the stomach rumbling, whether or not you are a coffee lover.

Organised by CEMS group for the second year running, the event which ran from Jan 14 to 16 is Malaysia’s first international café equipment, supplies and technology exhibition in Malaysia. There were hundreds of booths selling everything related to coffee, tea and confectionary – from machines and presses to cake ovens, eco-friendly packaging and many more.

As I made my way through the throng of visitors, staff standing at the booths enticed me with beautifully baked cakes and sweets, brewed coffee, squeezed juices and even ice-cream. There was also specialty coffee and bakes from all over the world.

 

At the main foyer, a contest was taking place. Three national barista championships; namely the Malaysian Barista Championship, Malaysia Latte Art Championship and Malaysia Brewers Cup were held in search for the country’s top coffee makers.

Young and enthusiastic baristas performed in front of the public; steaming, measuring and brewing that perfect cuppa as if by magic. The winners will go on to represent the country at their respective world championships.

 

“Response (to Café Malaysia 2016) has been very good! In fact, the queue was so long that it snaked outside of the venue,” said CEMS group managing director Edward Liu jovially when met at the venue. “We have more exhibit space and a larger space this year, so we are delighted with the good numbers. It isn’t just a trade show, it is a lifestyle event as people these days like to enjoy the better things in life,” he emphasised.

An estimated 10,000 visitors, both trade and public, attended the event.

Liu added that the overall café scene was still growing and had lots of potential.“More and more cafes are opening up in KL, driven by a demand, particularly from the younger generation,” he stated.

With that, Liu was optimistic about an equally, if not more successful show next year. “We’ve already slotted next year’s dates! It’s happening from Jan 12 to 14 2017,” he announced.

Upcoming Event: Cafe Malaysia 2016

*first published on efy.com.my on January 6 2016 

Jan 14 – 16 | 10am – 6pm | Matrade Exhibition and Convention Center |

Did you know that Southeast Asia is expected to consume up to 28mil to 30mil bags of coffee by the year 2020? Now that’s a LOT of coffee!

This is due to increasing urbanisation in countries such as Malaysia, which has nurtured a growing ‘café culture’ and a demand for specialty drinks.

Now, coffee lovers are in for a treat next month as Café Malaysia, the country’s first international café equipment, supplies and technology exhibition, will be returning to Kuala Lumpur from Jan 14 to 16 2016.

Held for the second year running by Conference and Exhibitions Management Services (CEMS), the event at Matrade Exhibition and Convention Center, will feature 150 exhibitors from 15 countries and is set to attract some 12,000 visitors.

“We decided to bring Café Malaysia to KL following overwhelming support for our Café Asia show for the past three years in Singapore,” said CEMS group managing director Edward Liu.

“Singapore is a relatively small market, so we’ve always organised shows there in order to cater not only to the Singaporean market, but also for the bigger market of Asean countries,” he added.

“We came to realise that many café owners who came from Malaysia were very interested in establishing an association for specialty coffee suppliers. Hence, the birth of the Malaysian Specialty Coffee Association and subsequently, Café Malaysia,” Liu (left) explained.

Some of Café Malaysia 2016’s highlights include more exhibitors bringing in specialty coffees from different countries, such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Jamaica and South America.

“Vietnam also produces fairly good coffee and Indonesia has its own Luwak coffee. We hope to showcase a wider variety of specialty coffees at our event,” Liu went on.

In addition, there will be a section called Sweets & Bakes Malaysia, to introduce bakers, equipment suppliers and technology in the field of baking and confectionery.

The event will also see the search for Malaysia’s top coffee makers through three championships; namely the Malaysian Barista Championship, Malaysia Latte Art Championship and Malaysia Brewer Cup. The contests are sanctioned by World Coffee Events and the winners will represent Malaysia on the world stage.

“We hope that this will put Malaysia on the world map of the coffee and tea industry, and promote it within the country,” Liu enthused.

Café Malaysia 2015 proved to be a success, with over 8,000 visitors from 27 countries visiting. Liu promises a bigger and better show this year.

“We’re expecting 4,000 trade visitors – people from the café industry, suppliers and café owners, and some 8,000 members of the public,” Liu predicted.

On the coffee industry in Malaysia, Liu said that the outlook was very positive. “The per capita consumption of coffee is very high now in South East Asia, led by countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Cafes are mushrooming. It is a lifestyle,” Liu enthused.

He estimated RM9.4mil in sales to take place. “Exhibitions like this generates business and are big facilitators of the economy. Business is generated not only through sales but through exhibitors and visitors coming in from abroad. They will spend on airfare, hotel accommodation, transport, food and entertainment,” he said.

Consequently, Liu hoped that the event will help to drive the local F&B industry by opening up more job opportunities and avenues for employment.

Café Malaysia 2016 will be running from Jan 14 – 15 from 10am to 6pm (trade visitors only) and Jan 16 from 10am to 5pm (open to the public). Admission is free.

For details, visit http://www.cafe-malaysia.com

Coffee @ Caffeine Cafe, Setiawalk Puchong

I used to like going to Starbucks because of the environment, but everyone seems to have more purchasing power and a penchant for overpriced coffee these days. Gone are the days where I could sit with my green tea frappe and my lappie, and just write or blog there. Now there’s always screaming children who can’t sit still. @-@

When I’m in Setiawalk, I prefer going to Caffeine. Tucked in a cosy corner on the first floor, it’s a relatively quiet and chic cafe that serves good coffee and cakes. Their cakes are quite pricey (RM15+) but good. They also serve local home made ice cream from Fat Baby, with flavours such as Vanilla, Peanut Butter and Fudge, and Chocolate. (RM7.50).

Altho FatBaby isn’t bad, it can’t beat Forty Licks at another cafe nearby called Tipsy. I used to go to Tipsy a lot, but it’s also getting crowded these days. Sooner or later I’ll run out of quiet cafes to hangout in D:

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Cosy environment with wood and brick accents, white tables and a comfy pouffe corner which I sunk into with my books.

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New book! Also, I want that bear pouffe.

(Right)

Ice blended vanilla with coffee shot. The coffee was quite strong and bitter, but was offset by the vanilla.

sam_2839-tilePB+ Fudge. Idk if it was too long in the freezer, but the texture was a little too ‘icy’ for my liking. Still prefer the creamy consistency of FortyLicks.

 

CAFFeine; (I just realised it’s spelled that way, lol)

G-09-1, Level 1, Block G, SetiaWalk, Persiaran Wawasan,

Pusat Bandar Puchong, 47160 Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia

Mon: 1:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Wed – Fri: 1:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm
PS: I’d hang out here more often, but it also happens to be my ex’s favourite cafe and it’d be awks running into him lol.