CAFÉS. THEY SEEM to pop up in every neighbourhood that touts itself as the next hip indie haven. “All-day brunch” they proclaim, eager to please. Strip away the poached eggs, maple-syrup-drenched pancake stacks and tables, and leave behind good old coffee and the honest, passionate folks who make them, it’s a strange thing how simple works in the case of Nylon Coffee Roasters.
As a micro-roastery, it goes against the flow of conventional cafés. In fact, the owners of Nylon, Dennis Tang and Lee Jia Min, were quick to stay away from the idea of cafés. “We see our space as an avenue to showcase our coffees, for people to drop by for a quick cup or a takeaway,” Jia Min explains.
A newspaper advertisement they found led them to fall in love with old school metal shutter gates and the terrazzo floors in the present shop space, hidden in the sleepy neighbourhood of Everton Park. The original furnishings together with a few vintage chairs and a wooden bar top, a surprise railway sleeper snagged from a defunct railway in Australia, completes the charm. While the space borders on being claustrophobic during crowded lunch hours and busy weekends, the wrought iron benches in the pavilion outside provides a welcoming alternative sitting area.
Good coffee should not be a luxury, it should be affordable and accessible.
Everything from the furnishings to the menu follows a simple, no frills nature. To the couple, “managing customers' expectations and experiences is crucial,” so they chose to simplify their menu. No need to decipher pretentious coffee terms here. It is as simple as black and white, each cup brewed consistently with passion and care.
It’s no wonder Nylon has garnered a loyal following—a healthy mixture of regulars from previous cafe stints and residents living in the old HDB estate—ever since they opened in May 2012. Despite being daunted by physical exhaustion that accompanies day-to-day operations of running Nylon, the good-natured duo maintained that “building a community unconsciously” encourages them to keep the business running.
Interestingly enough, Nylon is involved in the entire process of bringing a cup of coffee to life. They source beans directly from socially responsible farms, using fresh crops as much as possible. They both admit that establishing direct relations with sources takes up much of their time and resources but they are more than happy to make personal sacrifices in order to deliver quality coffee to local and regional consumers. If that isn’t sufficient genuine commitment to their coffee-centric craft to impress, they even “combine (their) passion with good deeds” by organizing occasional charity and pop-up events to give back to the community.
We wanted to build a business based on quality and transparency, and one that puts the same emphasis on the coffee as well as the experience.