A Departure From The Norm

Finally, coffee worth raving about. For a departure from the norm, I would say my new favourite coffee cafe is Malaysia is… Departure Lounge.

What is so special about Departure Lounge? Actually for a cafe, their concept is quite special. It’s a place for you to wait/hang out before boarding your flight. Departure Lounge Cafe put on display tonnes of books. What kind of books? Well, not comic, not FHM, not girlie magazines, not IT/PC/Tech/Gadgets, not automotive. There are all books on TRAVELS. In fact, it is a perfect place to to your research if you plan to visit any counties out there.

I’ve known Departure Lounge Cafe for years. Though their sandwich and food are decent, nothing much to shout about their coffee though. So, what has changed? For your info, they have 2 outlets. One in Solaris, and the new one is in Damansara Uptown. My happy experience was at Uptown.

Ok, I know you are still waiting… What has changed.

They are now serving COFFEE from FIVE SENSES.

I wrote about my“epiphany moment” with Epic here.

Five Senses roast some of the best coffee in Australia. I was introduced to Five Senses by Simon. Hey Simon, you may want to come to KL more often now.

Back to Departure Lounge.

Departure Lounge Cafe - Counter

The Counter


Very interesting breakfast menu.

Travels Research

For those who plans to travel or dreams of travelling.

Coffee you want to try

Here they are.

Tried 3 drinks.

1. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe – Americano
They called it Lungo or Long Pull, which is not an accurate way to describe it. In fact, I wouldn’t want it if they are pulling it long. But as Americano, is is a lovely cup of coffee. My wife immediately found the “lychee” notes. I find it sweet and refreshing.

2. House Blend – Double Espresso
Very bright at first sip. The Acidity is pronounced. Yet at the same time, good body and SWEET with delicate hints of citrus. A very pleasant after taste too.
House Blend Double Espresso

3. House Blend – Cappuccino
I was wondering if such a bright acidic coffee would taste good with milk.  And it does. Sweet with hints of chocolate. They make with double ristretto. Another indication of decently trained barista… the milk was nice frothed.

This is the first time in Malaysia that I have the real urge to go back to any cafe for their coffee.

Damansara Uptown: 10, Jalan SS21/39, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Solaris: 10, Jalan Solaris 4, Solaris Mont’ Kiara, Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: 8am to 7pm. Sunday closed at 5pm.

36 thoughts on “A Departure From The Norm

  1. Rob

    Very nice. What machine are they using? I see a Kony there.

    I use Five Senses too. Really really good quality stuff. I must check out this place when I get back.

    All the best!

  2. Cliff

    Hi kfchan,

    This looks very promising! I’m from Melbourne and will be going to KL for work in a couple of weeks time. It’s good to know that we can find good coffee in KL.

    I’ll definitely give this cafe a go..


  3. Tow Jin

    Looks good..just wondering, have you tried Pacific Coffee Company at IOI Boulevard, Puchong?

  4. Boon Boon

    Hi kfchan, the coffee look good but too far away from my place. Is it any chance that buy the five senses coffee bean in Malaysia so that i can taste it in my house?

  5. kfchan Post author

    Dear Boon Boon,

    Ok. You are right. Kedah is far. Well, you can get Five Senses sent to you but it will not be cheap. RM48/250g + Extra few bucks for delivery.

  6. dm3

    Hi KFChan,

    My hometown is in DU,wow didn’t know there are so near? Was it just opened? Do they sell the Five Senses beans also? or which you stated earlier Rm448/250g is from other place?
    I’m in JB now and kinda difficult to get good beans here. Been trying Starbucks,Lavazza n have 1 can of Illy but soon running out of stock.

  7. chris

    chan, the ethiopian beans are way too acidic for espresso… nevertheless, may be you shud convince the owner to bring in more variety of blend… 🙂

  8. Wee Chuan

    Chris, the Ethiopian espresso has great acidity, which brings the fruitiness to the whole experience. Not many ppl can take it though, why not next time try it as americano instead.

  9. Simon

    Wow…are they using Ethipian for espresso? That coffee is bright even with syphon…can’t imagine how it is like in espresso…

  10. dme

    Wonder what coffee of the month will be this coming weekend? since i’ll be in DU. would love to see how they pull the espresso & frothing the milk.

  11. dm3

    Btw Thanks KF Chan, for your email on the products.
    i’m still very green in espresso making & alot to learn .
    and its very true for the freshly ground coffee taste so much better,if only i’m willing to have my own grinder as you mentioned. 😀

  12. marcus Low

    wah, when u go here? bring me along leh, hmm….my wife is a tourism addict, better think twice….

  13. kfchan Post author

    The problem is their opening hours. Closed at 7pm.
    Try planing on Sunday. Their outlet in Solaris is open.

    Yeah, I’m sure your wife will gets lots of inspiration man.

  14. ezra limm

    Wow. Roast dates on the grinder. Deserves praise.

    But if that really is a kony, they better have the turnover to prevent stale grounds from entering the portafilter. Commercial grinders are known to have grind retention issues, especially the bigger mazzers like the SuperJolly and the Robur. These machines are designed for seriously high turnover and high throughput, like in a busy cafe in the morning. The grinds collect in the chute between the burrs and the dosing chamber, or within the burrset itself. And if you’re really fanatic about freshness, then you’ll be purging about 10g of coffee before each grind if the grinder has been left unused for over 30 minutes. (smell ground coffee after 30 minutes and you’ll see how it has changed).

    I’ve got experience with two Ethopian beans, the Harrar Longberry and Gambella Sundried, and I can say that they have some really awesome aromatic notes (you’ll notice when you start grinding!). But taken straight as espresso, erm,.. maybe not. No matter how you pull an ethopian bean, it ends up being a bit overpowering…just like how many high grown coffees end up being excessively bright when used alone. Personally, I dont use over 50% of these beans for espresso blends. They add body and some beautiful aromatics, but alone they are just too overpowering.

  15. ChenYV

    It’s awesome to hear and read about upcoming cafes that are appearing in KL, cafes that actually respect the bean enough to train all their baristas and make sure they know their stuff. I haven’t been home since last year, and it’s really great to read about cafes that are on the way to being on par with places like 7seeds, St Ali, BrotherBabaBudan and the likes in Melbourne. Many successful cafes here in Melb use 5Senses like Proud Mary, ThreeBagsFull etc. And I must say 5Senses have done a good job in ensuring their clients do their bean (and brand) proud by maintaining standards.

    I’m also curious, KF Chan, how saturated is the coffee culture/niche market in KL? I’m actually thinking about bringing the Melbourne experience and feel to KL but of course, lots of research need to be done first. Judging from your blog, there is a select group of coffee connoisseurs there in KL who knows their stuff pretty well. But do you reckon business will be good if the Melbourne experience were to be brought into KL, considering it’s such a niche market, where majority can’t differentiate between a latte and a capp? From your blog, it does seem like coffee culture is picking up. I just wish people knew better than to buy their ”coffee” from Starsucks, Coffee Bean etc.

    I will be back towards the end of this year and will be keen to meet up with coffee snobs to talk coffee.

  16. ezra

    I got to say, 5senses has got some good customer service. Once I thought they were a cafe, and actually paid them a visit. Turns out they only roast and despatch from their office. Was surprised to see a commercial espresso machine there though, given it was just a factory warehouse and despatch center. Apparently all cafe’s that use their beans gets training from them as well.

    Couldnt buy coffee from the warehouse as they only sell online. However, the guy running the office was nice enough to give me two online vouchers (well, one was for the lady who was with me but she doesnt drink coffee so i got it as well).

  17. kfchan Post author


    KL is saturated with bad coffee. If you are going to bring in some great coffee experience, I welcome you warmly man. Though many still cannot differentiate between caffe latte and cappuccino, BUT even layman can tell the sweetness and smoothness from a well textured milk.

    I can tell you, we DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH cafe serving good coffee. I dream of a day where there is at least ONE good cafe* in every shopping malls, ONE good cafe in every district and hopefully… ONE good cafe in every Taman.

    *good cafe = a place that serves good coffee, where the espresso is sweet, cappuccino is smooth and single origins that is fresh and flavourful.

  18. ezra limm

    “I can tell you, we DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH cafe serving good coffee. I dream of a day where there is at least ONE good cafe* in every shopping malls, ONE good cafe in every district and hopefully… ONE good cafe in every Taman.”
    That will remain a dream until customers are more educated and exposed to good coffee. There also needs to be a STRONG GREEN BEAN push to make fresh coffee the norm. I dont really care if espresso doesnt take off in malaysia, after all it involves machines that are quite expensive. Chemex or french press is just fine, as long as the beans are fresh. Fresh beans.

    Perhaps one day vacpots will come back in fashion, like those in Japan, and more shops will roast on demand and grind on demand to stay competitive.

    Fresh coffee pwns all…regardless of brewing method.

    The japanese concept:

  19. Pingback: DU Project – Departure Lounge « Ipoh Mali Talak Sombong!

  20. Den aka "not the true coffee lover because I don't like drip coffee"

    Why is the french press to do with the true coffee lover? Should I also doubt if you are a true coffee lover if you don’t like moka pot?

  21. Abdul Manaf Fahor

    French press is one of the famous method for coffee brewing. Yes kfchan did an entry about Aeropress but that was it. So espresso and espresso-based drinks are his preferences. And I find it is weird to enjoy single origin coffee via espresso method. Moka pot brewing method results is more similar to espresso; not my taste.

  22. kfchan Post author

    Most will find the things they are unaware of to be weird. In fact, using single origin for espresso has been going on for some time. I think James Hoffman from UK was the first World Barista Champion who won using Single Origin a few years back. And this year winner, Alejandro Mendez also won using Single Origin for espresso.

    It is the purpose of this blog to make known to readers the current happenings in the Coffee World (especially in Malaysia), so that coffee lovers in Malaysia will no longer perceived to be weird what is ALREADY happening all over the world.

    And for the record, I love more than just espresso and espresso-based coffee beverages. I like Aeropress, pour-over and syphon too.

  23. Hoo-Yin Leong

    single shot, double shot,
    nude or with sugar,
    french press, aeropress, chemex, V60 or syphons,
    milk or without,
    capp or latte or flat white,
    turkish or pressi,
    cubano or salt,
    red or black eye,
    starbucks or 3rd wave,
    let’s just keep an open mind to NOT impose our taste and flavor judgement onto others,
    just let the bean speak for itself

  24. Abdul Manaf Fahor

    Exactly. BEANS. How are you supposed to enjoy the flavour of the bean using espresso? And this is the so-called coffee lover pick. When there is a place that sell freshly roasted beans(well significantly fresh compared to online purchased beans)- all kfchan could comment is mediocre coffee. Antipodean roast they beans at the outlet itself. If you don’t notice there roaster machine.

  25. kfchan Post author

    Here are more new things you can learn.
    Fresh roasted beans does not mean that the coffee produce is great. You have mistaken Leong’s phrase of letting the beans speak for itself. When you have good quality beans, freshly and expertly roasted, properly brewed by knowledgeable barista, they can taste good in MANY brewing methods.

    If you take lousy beans, even if freshly roasted it will not taste any better then it’s own potential.

    If you take good beans, freshly and expertly roasted them, they have great potential. But an uneducated barista will like screw it up badly.

    There are few reasons why can cannot enjoy the great flavour of beans via espresso method.
    – Bad Barista make you a sink shot
    – Lousy beans to begin with
    – The Roaster screwed up the roasting process
    – The particular beans profile does not suit your preference
    – You just don’t like espresso. It’s still ok. No need to force it.

  26. Coffee Munster

    ahhhh that discussion…haiyo fren…can talk till the cows come home still ppl will pay for bad coffee lerrr…

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