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Life, Liberty, Coffee

February 27, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

On the way to a wedding at Foochow Methodist Church in Little India last week, I wanted to check out a terrace house* on Starlight Road I’d visited many years ago, to see the gentrification of the area.

But we were delayed by an intriguing sign:
Liberty Coffee, Rangoon RoadNaturally, an investigation was in order.

Liberty Coffee, Rangoon Road Liberty Coffee, Rangoon Road
Water point, Liberty Coffee, Rangoon Road Liberty Coffee, Rangoon Road
Liberty Coffee, Rangoon Road Hario, Liberty Coffee, Rangoon Road

Liberty Coffee (facebook), at 131 Rangoon Road, diagonally across from L’Etoile Cafe on Owen Road, was set up by Terence Tay (ex-pilot cf Smitten Coffee and Tea Bar’s ex-naval officer). His description of the roastery as a speakeasy surely refers to its lack of regular opening hours or a barista to call its own, rather than any fly-by-night connotations or opium in the coffee.

Liberty Coffee, Rangoon RoadWith the Singapore “artisanal”, specialty, third wave coffee field already filling fast with players, Terence was right to start on a friendly note. For last week’s open house, he borrowed three baristas to helm the La Marzocco: Marcus Leong from Papa Palheta/Loysel’s Toy, Darren Chang (aforementioned ex-navy guy) from Smitten Coffee, and Pavan Khialani from Sarnies, Telok Ayer Street, and some chaps from Jewel Coffee dropped by for a chat.

Liberty Coffee, Rangoon Road Liberty Coffee, Rangoon Road

They mainly retail “globally-sourced specialty beans, artisan-roasted to the highest standard in Singapore” on the big black Giesen coffee roaster (also seen in black at Smitten Coffee and blue at Jimmy Monkey) in the rear of the shophouse. A Mirage Veloce Coffee Machine and a smaller Giesen(?) sat on ledge in the back as well.

Speakeasy Espresso Blend, Liberty Coffee, Rangoon Road Flat White, Liberty Coffee, Rangoon Road

The house Speakeasy Espresso blend was lovely in a flat white made by Pav: tobacco at first then transiting to nutty goodness with slight spice. Brazil Fazenda Lagoa Mondo Novo, Guatemala Finca Santa Ana La Huerta, Ethiopia Sidamo. Terence said they had been cupping every day and the beans were best after a 2-3 week rest from their roast date.

Scale, Liberty Coffee, Rangoon Road Pour-over, Liberty Coffee, Rangoon Road
They did single origin pour-overs too (11g a cup).

Also very decent:

Banana Walnut Bread, Liberty Coffee, Rangoon Road Banana Walnut Bread, Liberty Coffee, Rangoon Road
banana walnut bread;

Pecan chocolate cookie, Liberty Coffee, Rangoon Road
pecan date cookies; but we were too late for the Valrhona chocolate layer cake.

On the topic of liberty, we’ve had hilarious little discussions over the past week about the lawyers who help people fight for their freedom – not the society-approved human rights sort who claim to fight for the allegedly oppressed, poor and downtrodden; but the types who represent alleged murderers, rapists, rich corrupt politicians (whom, people forget, are also entitled to the same sort of “human rights” as the first category).

Liberty Coffee, Rangoon RoadYou really need the right advocate for the job, and a large part of this has to do with understanding the culture within which you will be judged: part of this has to do with the different laws in each jurisdiction (since each society may have differing definitions of what it considers to be just, and some laws are in place to deal with the unique issues in each place), another part of this is because different legal systems work in different ways, and yet another part of this is because the judge is human and therefore, not matter how hard he tries to be objective and how many safeguards are in place, exercises his discretion within a certain culture.

If you were in India, you would need an Indian lawyer who would be able to draft court papers in the most confident and self-righteous language possible (otherwise, you may not be taken seriously) but have the patience to wait a whole day to have your case heard; if you were in Indonesia, your lawyer would have to be able to navigate the queues to have your case heard some time this century (without bribery) etc. In these two instances, an American lawyer (for example), throwing his weight around and demanding his right to be heard and going to the media whining, might merely jeopardise your case, even if he knew the local laws like the back of his hand.

And if, like Dominique Strauss-Kahn, you were facing charges “abetting aggravated pimping by an organised gang” and “misuse of company funds”, and you’d actually attended an orgy party organised by the head of the local French police, perhaps you need to pay top Euro to a French lawyer like Henri Leclerc who will argue (not before an official judge but the judge that is the collective public) that you may not have known you were with prostitutes as “in these parties, you’re not necessarily dressed. I defy you to tell the difference between a nude prostitute and a nude woman of quality.”

While some of us may never have charges brought against us in a court of law in this world, we will all stand before God to be judged on the Last Day. And if the biblical accounts of human encounters with God is anything to go by, we will be trembling with fear and attempting to hide under mountains to avoid his wrath.

What a relief then that we have a supremely competent lawyer, an advocate, who will act for us and defend us in God’s court of law (1 John 2:1). And his plea will be that he himself has been the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), so that whoever believed in him (before it was too late to do so) would not perish, but would have eternal life (John 3:16).

Starlight Road
3 Starlight Road

12 Starlight Road
12 Starlight Road

  1. March 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Thank you for your writeup on our little speakeasy coffee corner. We’ve had a number of your readers try to come visit us but unfortunately the cafe wasn’t open. We were glad to have intercepted them while the doors were open during our roasting days and had to explain that the cafe does not operate regular hours. I think your post did not quite elaborate on that bit and some readers have attempted to visit us two or three times unsuccessfully! I’ve had to give away quite a few free coffees to partially make up for the long trek some of them have made to visit us. We are trying to open at least once a week though the opening days are only announced on our Facebook page a couple of days before opening. We hope to open more days from April onwards. I hope you can point your readers to our FB page at http://www.facebook.com/libertycoffee to check our opening hours. Thanks!

  1. July 1, 2012 at 9:05 am

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