Kaffa Espresso Bar @ Green Hall, Penang & My first Coffee Cupping Experience!

Little independent connoisseur coffee places have been sprouting up around Penang island of late. Needless to say the coffee culture has hit the island and looks like its here to stay (for quite a while anyway).

One of the coffee places that caught my eye is Kaffa Espresso Bar at Green Hall (not to be confused with Kaffa Kafe which was previously at Straits Quay). I actually first spotted Kaffa Espresso Bar at its first outlet in Damansara Uptown. I happened to be in the area and couldn’t miss its striking Tiffany Blue & black logo. The Damansara Uptown looked so warm and inviting, but alas, I did not have the time to visit. So imagine my utter delight and surprise when I spotted the familiar logo at Green Hall just a few months later.

Kaffa Espresso Bar's Salted Caramel Macchiato
Kaffa Espresso Bar’s Salted Caramel Macchiato (RM12.50) yums~ one of my favourite drinks at Kaffa Espresso Bar! Another really good drink is the Cafe Freddo (cold drink) RM12

I had the good fortune of being invited to the media launch recently and having already visited Kaffa Epsresso Bar a few times prior, I couldn’t pass up the invitation!

Kaffa Espresso Bar Front Entrance
Kaffa Espresso Bar Front Entrance

 Kaffa Espresso Bar prides itself as a vintage American espresso bar which combines good food, good coffee and company in a cozy and relaxing environment. The Managing Director of Kaffa Espresso Bar, Dr Darren Ng who is passionate about interior design, spearheaded its vintage design concept. And I must say it definitely impresses! I love the fun couches, the brick wall and the hanging light bulbs are probably my favourite design element at the cafe!! <3 <3 <3 ~big wet eyes~

The Green Hall outlet has a vintage car Tiffany Blue (different from the one painted at the Damansara Uptown outlet – forgive me I’m a noob when it comes to cars to I don’t know the make & model! lol) & The Beatles painted on its brick walls. There is also the iconic Marilyn Monroe mural which you can see from the back entrance.

Kaffa Espresso Bar interior
Kaffa Espresso Bar interior
Interior 1
Kaffa Espresso Bar interior (I love that cute “Coffee Please” poster!)

At its Green Hall outlet, Kaffa Espresso Bar has added an art gallery aptly named ‘The Imaginarium’ on the first floor, combining coffee with art.

Kaffa Espresso Bar back entrance - notice the Marilyn Monroe painting on the wall :)
Kaffa Espresso Bar back entrance – notice the Marilyn Monroe painting on the wall 🙂

The Imaginarium currently hosts an art exhibition by Rofizano Zaino until early December 2013. Rofi as he is also called hails from Singapore and is a self taught artist who enjoys painting faces and figures. Apart from Malaysia and Singapore, he has also had his paintings exhibited in New York City, Washington DC, Amsterdam, Brussels and Shanghai.

Psyche Art Exhibition by Rofi
Psyche Art Exhibition by Rofi
Art exhibition by Rofi
Art exhibition by Rofi
Art pieces by Rofi
Art pieces by Rofi


After viewing the art pieces, we were treated to a coffee cupping session by Claudio Pinto, Coffee Sommelier, owner and founder of Roast Art. Kaffa Espresso Bar is currently working with Claudio Pinto and Clauodio Giulietti to develop their own in house coffee blends. With their own roasting machine currently at Kaffa, it is Kaffa’s hope to deliver the perfect cup of coffee and to let customers have an all round coffee experience.

Coffee cupping session
Coffee cupping session

The set up for the Coffee Cupping session…. looks rather intimidating for a non coffee expert like me! lol But exciting nonetheless!

Ground coffee for the coffee cupping session
Mr Claudio Pinto the coffee sommelier
Mr Claudio Pinto the coffee sommelier

First, Claudio explained to us a lil about coffee – the difference between Arabica and Robusta, how coffee cherries are picked, different coffee regions and gave us some coffee history. He also mentioned that coffee cupping is an actual occupation and coffee cupping is done to determine the quality of the coffee bean and also to detect any defects.

For this session, 4 different types of ground coffee were laid out and we had to do a few ‘exercises’…

Claudio explaining the coffee cupping ‘exercises’ that we’d have to do

We were given a form to fill up based on our experiences and taste of the coffee based on our preferences – the fragrance of the coffee (when dry & when wet), flavour of the coffee at various stages, acidity, body, balance and aftertaste.

So off we went sniffing at different types of coffee and trying our utmost best to describe and rate what we smelled! lol

Pouring hot water to the ground coffee
A 'crust' forms on top after hot water is poured in
A ‘crust’ forms on top after hot water is poured in

Once hot water is poured into the coffee, a ‘crust’ forms on top which needs to be removed. This is referred to as the coffee “after break” (after breaking the coffee) We then tasted the coffee at this ‘after break’ stage. Later when the coffee has cooled down somewhat (to about 40degrees Celcius) we tasted the coffees again. And the last tasting would be when the coffee has completely cooled. I was surprised to find that the coffee tasted different at the various stages. But my untrained tongue could only detect what I liked and didnt like. lol

Finally Claudio revealed what the 4 different coffees were and I found that I liked 85% Arabica blend and the 100% Arabica blend. My least favourite was the Single Origin Tanzania coffee. The coffee cupping session (although confusing to my nose and tongue at times, lol!) was definitely a very interesting experience)

Kaffa Espresso Bar had coffee cupping sessions earlier in the month which was open to public (RM50 per session) so if you’re interested to experience this for yourself, do contact Kaffa Espresso Bar or keep updated via their Facebook page.

One of my favourite areas at Kaffa Espresso Bar Green Hall…

Kaffa Espresso Bar Alfresco area by day
Kaffa Espresso Bar Alfresco area by day

So pretty right?? Would be just perfect for a party! This Alfresco area is just outside of the Imaginarium. The Imaginarium and alfresco dining area is open for private events, exhibitions and launches. And we’re told that they’ll be hosting a wedding there next year. <3


After the coffee cupping session, we were treated to an array of food served at the cafe – salads, their signature  spicy aglio olio with turkey ham and seaweed, sandwiches and various finger foods and desserts. The cafe is pork free.


I must admit that I am not a big coffee drinker – in the sense that I do not need coffee everyday for an energy boost. Instead, for me, going out for coffee is something of an indulgence – an outing and experience to share with family and friends. So the environment and overall ambience of a coffee place is important to me. As such, I really love hanging out Kaffa Espresso Bar with its vintage cozy feel. I look forward to going back to try more of the food and more of their drinks and cakes.

And oh! Kaffa Espresso Bar will also be opening at Penang International Airport by the end of this year!


Kaffa Espresso Bar 

22 Green Hall, 10200 Penang

TEL: 04-262 2822


Try: Their Salted caramel macchiato and the Cafe Freddo 🙂

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