The pop-up concept has become a global phenomenon in recent years, and it is not a surprise that it has reached Singapore as well. Although the first pop-up store came to Singapore as early as 2004, it’s taken a life of its own over the past twelve months. While the pop-up scene is usually a retail outlet in a busy area, one novel concept that opened in Singapore is The Steeping Room – A Coffee Concept.

Tucked away in the 2nd story of a Singapore HDB estate in Jalan Besar, The Steeping Room is a destination and not a place one would stumble by accident. Its neighbors include a shop that sells mountaineering accessories and a pole dancing aerobics studio. An interesting choice for location to say the least!

Not quite the fleeting pop-up that opens and disappears overnight, The Steeping Room has a lifetime of three months. Unfortunately July 31st was their last day in business, therefore we stopped by one final time to enjoy one last cup of their offerings. Check out the Tap This post on The Steeping Room.

Opened by the creators of popular coffee haunt Papa Palheta, The Steeping Room was opened to not just offer unique coffee beans from around the world but also to showcase unique brewing methods to bring out the perfect flavor. Their mission statement on a drywall upon entering is easy for each visitor to read:

A combination of different elements, the atmosphere and décor is a Nordic minimalist science lab. Not designed for a large crowd, at the center of the main room is the lab station with four chairs for guests. Upon sitting down, guests are given the menu of the day’s choices. We were offered two types of beans from Panama and El Salvador.

First offered the chance to smell the beans as they were scooped from the bag, the beans are then put into a well used Ditting Grinder from Switzerland. Smelling the beans again after ground, we were one step closer to drinking our coffee! Adding to the feel of a science lab, the water was brought to the perfect temperature on what reminded me of Bunsen burners from high school chemistry. Coffee has to be between 92-96C (197.6 – 204.8F) and anything above burns the coffee which ruins taste.

After a drip feed, we were ready to get started. Unlike your neighborhood Starbucks which you can have an option of latte or cappuccino with any variety of milk or soymilk, at The Steeping Room they make your choice easy as to preserve the true essence they only serve coffee black with neither milk nor sugar. The flavors of our beans were recognizably different with a more subtle and fruity taste compared to our usual expectations. The end note at the end to cleanse our palate was a Japanese white chocolate by Royce.

Unlike the average pop-up which opens and closes before any emotional attachment can be formed, the Steeping Room was open for 3 months which was just long enough for guests to get emotionally attached. A few were there for one last experience while others were fortunate to try for the first time on their last day of business. The experience was truly an original one, and this venue in the lease likely place will surely be missed.