Much ado about something

Much ado about something

Common Man Coffee Roasters

22 Martin Road, #01-00 6836 4695
Hours 8am to 7pm daily

Singapore's speciality coffee scene has become so trendy of late that new entrants easily fall into the trap of gunning for style over substance. Common Man Coffee Roasters, however, seems to have gotten both parts down in equal measure.

Firstly, it comes backed by both coffee and retail heavyweights: the fortnight-old, 60-seater is a collaboration between the Spa Esprit Group, Harry Grover of 40 Hands Coffee in Tiong Bahru, and Australian speciality coffee roaster, Five Senses Coffee, a wholesale-only business that supplies Australia-roasted coffee to the group’s outlets.

Style-wise, they’ve thankfully skipped the predictably broody industrial-chic design brief, forging their own path instead with whimsical three-legged chairs and a glamorous marble bar as the centrepiece of the brightly lit, 2,500 sq ft space.

And instead of inundating the budding java lover with jargon-clad beverage options, the coffee menu here comes in four simple choices: black ($5) or white ($4.50) espresso coffees, filter coffee ($6) or Back Room coffee (market price). Back Room coffees are made from award-winning beans brought in only in limited quantities, while filter coffees are either dripped through a Hario v60 pour over or an AeroPress for a cleaner, brighter caffeine kick. Two single origins are featured each month, with a spotlight on a robust Sumatran and a citrus-tinged Ethiopian for August. Advanced coffee geeks can also request bespoke brews.

Unlike at most coffee joints, the food at Common Man is far from an afterthought – and substantial enough to keep even non-coffee drinkers coming back.

Now-ubiquitous eggs benedict ($24) gets a gourmet lift with braised ox cheeks and organic eggs, but for something truly original, try the green pea fritters topped with slivers of crispy pancetta and balsamic syrup ($22), or the Turkish breakfast ($25), a refreshing salad of hummus, feta and tomato padded with pita bread. A soft poached egg encased in a slightly sweet nest of phyllo pastry steals the limelight.

While Common Man is a coffee retail spot for now, Mr Grover and his team have their sights set on expanding into roasting and wholesaling coffee beans to other speciality cafes here and in the region by the end of the year.

A roaster fronted in a glass-encased room onsite supplies the cafe’s needs, while a larger industrial roastery will soon be set up for the wholesale business.

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