Singaporeborn espresso bistro opens in KL Starcom

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“Sometimes, all you really need is a well-made latte, whether that is with the eponymous house blend or the more traditional 22 Martin. Photo: CMCR
All things, to all people u2013 itu2019s a tall order, but Common Man Coffee Roasters (CMCR) aspires to be a one-stop caffeine shop.
u201cSome people just want a well-made latte, and others want to sit at the bar and ask about every single origin we have,u201d said Harry Grover, co-owner and founder of the popular cafe and roaster, its original outlet at Tiong Bahru in Singapore.
So its new Kuala Lumpur branch u2013 opened just four months ago u2013 seeks to also serve that wi
ing formula of a small-but-focused list of coffee varietals plus various ways to enjoy said coffee u2013 even in the form of cocktails.
The latter are exclusive to the KL outlet, which has also just started serving di
er; Singaporeu2019s CMCR has more of a brunch crowd and so closes earlier. CMCR KL welcomes bleary-eyed caffeine-hunters at 7.30am, and closes its doors at 10pm every day.
Discreetly tucked under the large, 24-hour Anytime Fitness gym in Plaza Vads, Taman Tun Dr Ismail (in case all that caffeine gives you an energy surplus), CMCR KL boasts a pared-down plushness, with a whole lot of Instagrammable corners and no hint of industrial chic.
Its central island bar flanked by two fat golden pillars suggests a cocktail bar, but the aroma of roasted coffee in the air belies its true identity.
Creating Common Ma
nBefore catering to the Common Man, Australian-born Grover, 36, created 40 Hands in Tiong Bahru in 2010, cresting the Third Wave of coffee riding into Singapore at the time.
His interest in coffee had been piqued when u2013 after working in business for a few years u2013 he took up a Masters course in International Aid and Sustainable Development at Murdoch University in Perth.
u201cOne of the things we learnt was about how the coffee industry was positively impacting local communities in Asia,u201d he said. u201cAnd I lived a block away from the Australian Barista Academy, so I decided to enrol in a course.u201d
Even today, teams at both CMCR outlets pride themselves on the sustainability of their coffee u2013 to hit their zero defect target with the YirgZero coffee from Ethiopia, farm workers sort the beans by hand, according to CMCR KL barista Larry Lam.
u201cWe work directly with the farms for many of the coffees, cutting out the middleman. And this also generates jobs for the local community,u201d he added.
With visions of a coffee-based business percolating in his head, Grover visited his older lawyer brother, who had lived in Singapore for a decade. He noticed the countryu2019s bubbling, burgeoning interest in speciality coffee and had u201cthe right conversations with the right peopleu201d.
u201cWe opened 40 Hands in Tiong Bahru, the only business to open there until independent bookstore Books Actually opened,u201d said Grover. u201cPeople thought we were a bit crazy, but we didnu2019t want to move into a mall. I had to have a bit of faith u2013 figured if we built it, they would come!u201d”

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