Sunday, December 15, 2013

Lucy in the Sky Cafe Kuala Lumpur

As mentioned in my previous entry (click here), I had a considerable amount of free time since I'm in the transition period between jobs. Today (14th December), I'm in yet another new café launch; Lucy in the Sky. No, it is not related to the one in Jakarta nor is to the song by The Beatles. As for its choice of name, I speculate maybe its meant so people would frequent the cafe; similar to a certain drug. Just a speculation though.

Coffee shops and cafés opened every now and then, marking a boom in the industry right here in Malaysia. But this one left a deep mark in my heart for being the friendliest café. I know I might have used near-similar term in describing other places in the past, but the level of hospitality is at a whole new level. Partly due to the coziness of the café, friendly owner and hugely thanks to the talkative warm reception of the bariste*, Sima. The place gave non-pretentious and warm kinda vibes - similar to what I felt back in VCR. The interiors fused that of the usual rustic and clean design with an alleyway flooded with daylight (a plus point but a bit plain, decorations maybe?). Oh if you're a fellow café hopper, you might recognise the bariste and the occasional guest-baristas from a certain café ;)

The counter bar right at the espresso machine; La Marzocco Linea Classic with custom portafilters.

Sat at the counter bar (yes, they do have a nice, wooden plank counter bar), I ordered a ristretto as I'm in a curious mission to differentiate the former with an espresso (which I would explain in future entry). The ristretto is considerably sweet, subtly fruity, overly bright, light bodied and slightly spicy with a clear absence of bold creaminess. I forgotten about the finish and after-taste because I was actually café hopping and I am still in the midst of getting my taste right. Their cappucino tastes sweet, light bodied, and not very acidic. Currently, the bariste uses her self-concocted 'Friday the 13th' blend of Sumatra Lintong, Brazil Yellow Bourbon and Guatemala Antigua. Contrary to some places which uses the blend of Sumatra Mandheling variants (which is very good for milk coffee). As of now, they do not provide filter coffee due to the several reasons, but might be serving in the future.

A ristretto after a sip; notice the thin layer of crema.

Back to the ristretto, I asked the bariste just how to differentiate a ristretto from an espresso. She answered that ristretto, Italian for restrict, actually meant at cutting the espresso shot right after all the important essence had been extracted. The extraction of a tamped basket separates into several layers, mainly the acidic layer, sweet layer, and the final extra-extraction of bitter/crema layer. That final layer is what balances the otherwise overwhelmingly acidic shot of an espresso. And this layer is cut in the ristretto. All this actually mean that adjustment and constant observation would be needed to the change of blend, grind size and tamp pressure. This method of cutting the pour is actually used in fast-paced café since it saves the time from changing grind size, while other coffee shops might use a different method.

(left to right) The pure acidic layer, the sweet layer, and the crema/slightly bitter layer.

However, the definition of a ristretto also differs through region; in Australia, it is usually more acidic and sweet while in Italy, people prefer the shot to be heavier and bolder, regardless of acidity. As for Malaysia, the bariste answered we have yet to form a certain preference for a ristretto. Once again, it actually depends on the coffee shop/café/barista.

(left) Current menu on the board while waiting the kitchen to completion, (right) It's Christmas season!

Oh, this place is called a café because they serve a multitudes of other food and beverages namely light snacks (french toast anyone?), cakes, teas, fresh juices and beers. Yes, beers. And when their kitchen is completed, there will be hot meals too. This café is located right at the heart of tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur, and their patrons consist an approximate 95% of foreign tourists during the past few days of testing. Heck, it is just located right beside Raizzy's Guesthouse, Sri Mahamariamman Temple and a street away from Petaling Street (Chinatown). All in all, it is a good place to relax while having a chat with the enthusiastic bariste, before the place starts to get crowded. Best access through the use of LRT, it is located 2 minutes away from the Pasar Seni station.

(left) The natural-light flooded alleyway, (right) Sri Mahamariamman Temple.

Opens from 8am to 7pm daily.
50000 Kuala Lumpur.
Located beside Raizzy's Guesthouse.
Tel: 03-2022 1526

*Bariste is the female equivalent to a barista.

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