Category Archives: Espressamente

An Interview with Michael of Espressamente

I have known Michael since the early days of Espressamente Illy in Pavilion KL.

His passion and commitment to the running of Espressamente is an example that Cafes’ Owner should emulate.
– His dedication to the high standards of espresso preparation
– His priority in ensuring proper barista training
– His focus in Customers’ Satisfactions
– His willingness to share knowledge
– His readiness for constructive criticism

Espressamente is one of the VERY few cafes where REAL BARISTA works.

Check out the Interview of Michael D’Alessandro by Wee Chuan here.

Good Espresso exist in Malaysia

Almost 2 year ago, I say that Good Espresso In Malaysia virtually does not exist.

Time for a revision.

Since then, I have had quite a few good to great espressos. Mostly home brewed. Supremo Blend from Highlander Coffee has been giving me consistenly above average espresso. Then there is the Epic Blend. My all-time favourite.

But the problem is where in a commercial settings in Malaysia can you find good espresso. Since I sold my Baby, I’ve been having espresso withdrawal symptoms. I’ve been surviving on Aeropress only. Aeropress has been great. But I miss the intensity of a shot of espresso.

Well, I happened to be in Pavilion earlier and drop by Espressamente for an espresso. Wow! It was good. Intense, sweet, nutty, pleasant acidity and very flavourful. Maybe it’s because I have not had a decent espresso for more than a month. Or maybe it was just simple good. My espresso was pulled by Waran, definately one of the best barista around.

So, as of now, for a good shot of espresso in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, visit Espressamente Illy in Pavilion.

Latte Art on Coffee

Not many cafes in Malaysia make their cappuccino or cafe latte with LATTE ART on them.

The word LATTE basically means MILK. So latte art means art made with milk.

Incidentally, many people went into Starbucks and asked for a latte not knowing that they were actually asking for MILK! Well, that how words lost their meaning. Perfectly meaningful words being mis-used. Back to the matter of latte art and cafes.

The only cafes I know of that serve their milk-based drinks with latte art are Espressamente Illy and Segafredo Espresso. And I don’t mean those cafes that shows us latte art only when interviewed by journalists or when they appear on media, or those where latte art only appears on their menu. Seems like Espressamente Illy and Segafredo Espresso cafes are the only that serves with latte art on a regular basis. Well, at least 8 out of 10 times is good enough for me.

Hey, if your cafe serves coffee with latte art, let me know. I want to come and try.

Note: let me qualify… when I say latte art, I meant those free pouring  latte art that shows a heart, an apple or a rosetta. NOT those who simple etched the surface with some chocolate sauce or colouring.

Is LATTE ART important to a cup of coffee? I assure you that latte art does enhanced that cup of coffee. How? Firstly, enjoying coffee is a sensory experience. It involve our whole senses. One of the very few things I like about Starbucks is how very cozy is their environment. (they can’t make a good cup of cappuccino if their lives is depending on it)  A nice cup of cappuccino with latte art shows how much care and details were put into making it.

Latte art on coffee basically enhances 2 aspects of consuming coffee. It is pleasant to the eyes and sweetly smooth on the tongue.

The fact that it is pleasing to the eyes is easy to understand, but there is another reason why it is lovely to the tongue.

In order to pour latte art like this picture (not by me unfortunately), the milk need to be correctly frothed. The stretching amd texturing must be well done and temperature must be ideal.

Actually, when you have correctly frothed milk, even without the art, it will still taste sweet and velvety.

And when you add the art, wow… that is a lovely coffee experience. With lovely milk and art, it can turn a lousy cup of coffee to be bearable. A bearable cup to average and an average cup of cofee to decent. And if you have quality fresh roasted coffee to begin with, you can get a GREAT cup of coffee.

Of yes, LATTE ART works on hot chocolate too.

Finally: don’t go and whacked the barista in Espressamente Illy or Segafredo Espresso if your cappuccino does not come with latte art , ok. Consider it a bonus. It is a difficult skills and take time to learn, practice and perfect.

Espressamente Illy @ Pavilion with Andrea Illy

Espressamente Illy in Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur is one of my favourite place for coffee.

And yesterday (Friday the 3rd, 2009), with a personal invitation from Michael, went there to witness a special event.

Andrea Illy, the President and CEO of illycaffè was there for a press conference.

Founded in 1933 by Francesco Illy, illycaffè produces and sells a unique single blend of premium quality coffee worldwide.

Make no mistake, illycaffè as a company has done tremendous job in educating  and promoting premuim arabica blend of coffee to the public. Their research facility is probably one of the biggest in the world. They even have a University of Coffee as a training institute.

Though among coffee geeks, many tend to whacked them for their apparent lack of freshness in their beans on retail, I can’t really fault them for it. If you want to market worldwide, mass production, storage, international shipping… it is virtually impossible to offer fresh roasted coffee (or anything less than a month). But they did try their best in attempting to preserve freshness. Their 3kg tin of illy coffee apparently has undergone much scientific research to ensure minimal degradation of bean quality.

(But frankly, trying to prevent degradation of roasted coffee beans is like trying to prevent human aging. We all hope for breakthough but it is not happening.)

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Espressamente – The 2nd Coffee Lovers Gathering

Our second gathering at Espressamente on Friday, 26th Sept, 2008 turned out to be an interesting session.

I reach there around 8pm and Michael has already set up a table for us. Went to grab dinner.
Went back there by 8.30pm and Oscar was already there.

We took our seat and within the next 10 minutes there were 5 of us.
Oscar, Lee, Christopher, Mun Shin and myself. We were ready to order.
First round, single espresso for all the guys while MS ordered an americano.

Special request to have Michael pull us the shots.

My espresso was the last to be served. The photo did not do justice to the espresso.
Mine was not bad. Typical of Illy, it was smooth with pleasant acidity. Lucky for me and not so lucky for some because they were politely waiting for every drinks to be served. Espresso is just too delicate to wait. Some of them did not enjoy them as much as me. Guys, you all can give your comments, whether good or bad.

One tip for all. Whenever you order an espresso, do not be polite and wait. Espresso must be enjoyed on the spot, immediately after extraction. 3 minuted is too long a wait.

Michael joined us for a while and chat about some stories of espresso in Australia and Italy.

(Left to Right: Oscar, Lee, Jean, me, Mun Shin, Eric and Chris)

By 9.15, everyone turned up including Jean and Eric. After their round of espresso and more chit chat, it’s time for dessert. 

This is a variant of the afogato.

Afogato is espresso pour unto a scoop of vanilla ice-cream or gelato. This version has an addition of liquer (which we suspect is Kahlua). If you like sweet stuff, this is excellent. Personally, I like them less sweet… meaning next time I will have the original afogato without the liquer.

There were 2 more specialty drinks with mixture of liquer that I forgot to take a picture of. If any of you guys know what is the name of the other 2 drinks, do comment about it.

Eric ordered a panini sandwich, not sure if it is roast beef or chicken, but it looked really yummy.

So, that’s the story of our 2nd Coffee Lovers Gathering at Espressamente.

******Bonus Scene******

Cannot believe it… Went back to Espressamente on Sunday because Sookie missed the event on Friday and to catch up.

Iced Cappuccino and the Traditional Cappuccino. 

I ordered the iced capp for a change. Their Iced Capp is delicious.. creamy and nutty.
The traditional capp looks great, with nice microfoam. But alas, Sookie is really no coffee lover. She needed to put TWO pack of sugar :O Next time, she should just get a mocha or some dessert sweetened drinks.. hahaha.

Sookie and me. 

Mun Shin and Tiramisu. I know, both of them are nice.

The 2nd Coffee Lovers Gathering – Espressamente, Pavilion.

Update: 25th Sept, Thursday.
Irving, Christopher, FC Lee, Oscar, Eric, Jean, KF Chan & MS.

Wee & Kevin


Dear Friends,

If you are a coffee lover like many of us here, and you are in KL, do come and join us for a cup of coffee and share some coffee stories too. You can find tips (or give) on how to make the best coffee at home, where to buy fresh roasted coffee, where to find the best cafe in Malaysia and etc.

With enough of us, who knows… we form our own club and maybe get special discount at good cafes serving good coffee. (Note: We are not interest in discounts from cafe that serves horrible coffee).

Date: 26th Sept 2008, Friday.
Time: 8.30pm to 10.30pm
Venue: Espressamente, Pavilion.

Those interested, please drop me an email at:
kfchan7 (at) gmail (dot) com

The place has limited seating and I want to reserve the place. So, please confirm attendance.

KF Chan