Category Archives: Highlander

Starbucks goes Instant


It finally happened.

When more and more cafes in Malaysia moving towards fresher and better coffee, the GIANT that is Starbucks goes INSTANT.


RM8 per pack. Inside consist of 3 servings.

I rope in 2 unsuspecting “victims” for some blind test. I bought the Colombia Pack.

Using the Colombia from Highlander, I made 2 portions. One using the V60 Dripper and another using Aeropress. And then the last portion, Starbucks Instant Colombia.

Epic Failed Award goes to ….

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Highlander Fresh Roasted Singles


Sometimes too much milk based drinks like cappuccino and caffe latte can put worrying stress in one’s middle-kingdom. And sometimes we just wanna enjoy a full cup of hot coffee while catching up on newspaper or magazines. On days like these, the craving for a cup of SYPHON-BREWED Single origin of Ethiopian Djimma or Costa Rica will bring much comfort.

I particularly like myself a bright and refreshing cup of Ethiopian at Coffee Ritual.


Many Choices.

When you got chance to go with a few friends, order 1 cup each so that you get to taste the obvious differences of the aroma and taste of coffee from different regions in the world.

Asked for Fresh Roasted Highlander Single Origin Coffee.

Signature Drink


What is better than Kopi Luwak?

After Kopi Luwak, it’s time for some “better” drink?

This is the Signature Drink (Coffee Beverage) with slight modification I used for the Barista Competition recently.


Of couse, it is made from the ever reliable Oscar Professional Espresso Machine.


Here is the SECRET ingrediant.


With some cream + brown sugar.


Some fresh Supremo Blend


Dosed… 18g


Tamped.


Tiger Stripping


Look at the crema!!!


Frothing the milk. Pleanty of steam from the Oscar.


A Heart


A Rosetta.


It is good…


It’s an EYE OPENING YUMMY EXPERIENCE.

Nuova Simonelli Oscar Espresso Machine


latest Update

April 2009 – Nuova Simonelli Oscar Specifications

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Updated: 13th Feb 2009

Look at what our friend from Penang, Venky manage from the powerful Oscar:

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Not bad man. Just to proof that if anyone has the passion and interest to learn, they can make a good cuppa 🙂

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Visited my friend Venky in Penang couple of weeks back. His long awaited Nuova Simonelli Oscar Espresso Machine has just arrived. This is what you call a Prosumer Machine, meaning for Professional Consumer. Whereas, the Gaggia Baby that I have or the Rancilio Silvia are known as consumer machine / home machine.

Do not be misled by its small size. This Oscar is capable to adequately serve most small cafes in Malaysia. In fact many small cafes over-spent on a commercial 2 group stainless steel machine cost in excess of RM15K and make less than 50 cups of coffee a day.

This baby here can handle easily 100 cups throughout the day. But of course, this is a machine with a 2.# liter water tank inside (commercial machines are plumbed-in), and you need to refill the water if the traffic is high. But then, what’s wrong with manually filling water couple of times a day if it save you more than RM7,000++.

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Oscar with a silver ABS plastic body. It is heavy but not too heavy. Can be carried by a single adult. Combine with a Mazzer Mini, good and fresh coffee beans and proper skills… excellent espresso is achievable consistently.

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Only 2 buttons. One to power on, the other to start and stop the brewing process. The big knob there is for steam.

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Fully commercial grade 58mm portafilter and a 4 holes steam wand. The Oscar, being a heat-exchange machine, can steam on demand. With a 2.* litre boiler inside, you have no worry of running out of steam. In fact, the steam is so powerful, I need a few tries before adjusting to it.

One downside to this machine, if you have not notice by now, there is no hot water dispenser. Well, I suppose this is a concern one need to consider. The reason the Oscar is priced so low for it’s capabilities, something has to give. Hence, no stainless steel body and no hot water dispenser. For extra RM2K, you can get a La Scala Butterfly with sexy stainless steel body and water dispenser too.

For me, to get hot water, buy a RM200 thermos would solve all the problem.

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Finally, here’s a couple of cappuccinos made with Highlander’s Supremo Blend, brewed and frothed with Simonelli Oscar. With the current fluctuating exchange rate, you can get the Oscar for around RM5.5K to RM6K.

Highlander Coffee – another great espresso & coffee experience


After the Asia Barista Championship, took some time to visit Highlander Coffee.

Here are some pictures but unfortunately I was so engross with drinking the coffee that I totally forgotten to take any picture of the coffee. But I can assure you, they are great.

Here is Cedric (left) and Phil (center).

The “sexy” Vibiemme espresso machine. Slurp (salivating).


And they have this 6 feet tall coffee roaster.

Phil made me an excellent espresso. Why is the espresso excellent? What are the ingredients?

1. Fresh roasted high quality arabica beans.
Someone said to me once, “roast your own coffee lah, it’s not rocket science”.
What image they have in mind is someone standing over a big iron-casted wok and roasting their beans. Well, if you are thinking of those cheap traditional kopi you get from any kopitiam, then yes. It is no rocket science. But let me ask you, the next time you go to any kopitiam, order a cup of kopi-O, and try drinking that without milk or sugar. Then you tell me how nice it is.

Traditional kopi has its place in the market. First, they are cheap. Then, combine them with the correct & optimum of condensed milk + evaporated milk + sugar, they can taste quite decent. I enjoyed my kopi at Kemaman kopitiam too.

But a great cup of espresso is a totally different creature.

To combine a few different regional coffee at the optimum ratio, roast them to their correct profile require great skills, patience and a discerning taste buds. May not be rocket science, but it is quite near.

2. Barista Skills.
Phil is definitely a qualify barista. Not the same as *Star$’s “barista”. Just like doctors, you got the “Dr. House” type and you got those “bomoh” type. Phil belongs to the former type.

3. Machine.
That was a Vibiemme. Though i’m proud of my Gaggia Baby, but when you compare good and great, mine can only reach the “good” stage. Sigh… I’m so jealous 🙂

So if you people are in Singapore, pay them a visit. Get the direction from they newly renovated web site here.

*Note: I hope you guys know what Star$ means.

Cappuccino Spree


I have been going on a cappuccino spree for the past few days. Using the Highlander Supreme Blend to the fullest… here are some results:-

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Unable to control the pour properly, I don’t even know what pattern is that. A snail on the left.. hahaha.. and cheated with a bit of etching on the right.

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These are better. Smooth, sweet and velvety with a clear fresh taste of good coffee.

Fresh Roasted Espresso Coffee Blend


Now that the Election Fever had passed and the PKR-DAP-PAS coalition (Barisan Rakyat) had form government in the 5 states of Penang, Kedah, Kelanta, Perak and Selangor, it’s time for them to get down to their work. Let’s hope that positive changes will drive our country’s economic, social and political arena to higher growth and maturity.

It is time for me to re-focus my attention to the journey in discovering better espresso. Some people call it the espresso nirvana. Some term it the espresso “god-shot” where it felt as if god has blessed the cup.

Got myself some freshly roasted Highlander’s Supreme Blend.

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After dialing in the grinder and pulling a couple of “sink-shot”, here are the results:

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The shot above are done using those espresso glass from Starbucks. Heh heh heh.. Once I manage to convince one district assistant manager of Starbucks to give me one of their glass. She was kind enough to oblige me. One thing I can’t fault Starbucks is their customer service. I was after all once a very regular Starbucks customer.

If you notice the line on the glass, it measures at 30ml, which is the default measurement for a single shot of espresso.

What i pulled was not a regular espresso, but rather a ristretto. A Ristretto basically refers to a “restricted” shot. That shot above is about 23 to 25ml. Generally, ristretto gave a more intensed shot and the flavours are more pronounced.

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This is espresso in a Bodum Double Wall Thermo-Glass. The sizeof the glass is 3oz or 90ml. What I have there is a double ristretto, about 45ml. A regular double espresso is about 60ml.

Wow, look at the crema. And this is from 100% arabica coffee beans, about 1 week from roasting. The taste is intensed, mild acidity, full bodied with a tinge of sweetness and very slight bitterness. Please do note that a good espresso is not BITTER. But having a very slight bitterness is actually desirable. And more importantly, it does not have any bad after-taste. (My previous ranting about espresso.)

I have been using Highlander’s Blend for some time. But it was only recently that I manage to find the correct combination in bringing balance to the (force?) whole espresso experience. I grind it finer, tamp it lighter…lo and behold.. it works ideally on my Gaggia Baby machine. Not forgetting the most important factor, the excellent La Scala M5 grinder.

Next… Cappuccino.