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An exclusive guide to start your very own home cafe

During this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is safer to stay at home at all cost, especially when you are able to.

But what happens when you have a strong craving for a specialised coffee?

We are not talking about instant coffee powder or 3-in-1 coffee, we are referring to the aromatic taste of americano, the creamy taste of cafe latte or the foamy texture of cappuccino.

Nowadays, it is possible to have a cafe-like experience even at home.

Using the right equipment and ingredients, you can have that glass of iced cafe latte at the comfort of your home.

Your home cafe starts with a shot of espresso.

If you have the money to buy a coffee machine, go ahead.

However if you don’t, there are other more affordable replacements.

How do you start your home cafe without a coffee machine?

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Moka Pot

Kicking off the list is a Moka pot. It is a stove top or electric coffee maker that brews coffee by passing boiling water pressurised by steam through ground coffee.

Invented by Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti in 1933, it is named after the Yemeni city of Mocha.

There are plenty of tutorials available on Youtube on how to use a Moka pot.

The basic ratio for coffee to water is 1:2.

Since the pressure of a Moka pot is five to 10 times less than that of an espresso machine, the coffee brewed using the pot is not exactly an espresso by definition.

However as far as taste goes, it is as strong as close to you can get to espresso without buying a fancy machine.

Another affordable replacement for an espresso machine is the French press.

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French press

Similar to a Moka pot, a French press does not produce as much pressure as an espresso machine.

Nevertheless, it is still good enough to make an espresso-like coffee.

While you need to boil the Moka pot to let the steam brew the coffee, you only need boiling water with a French press.

The idea of a French press is to slowly press the plunger down with even pressure after allowing your coffee to steep.

The perfect time to brew a French press is about three to four minutes. If it exceeds this time, you may find yourself with a bitter over-extracted coffee.

Lastly, if you can get a hand of a ‘Kompresso’ or a portable espresso maker then that is the easiest way to make an espresso.

Starbucks Korea for instance offers a limited edition Picnic Series which include a Picnic Kompresso.

Along with one of these replacements, it is a good to have a liquid thermometer, a small electric whisk and a kitchen timer to help you to brew the perfect shot of espresso.

Arabica, Robusta or Liberica

To make that shot of espresso, of course you need ground coffee.

If you are a coffee enthusiast, then you probably already have your personal preferences of java beans.

When you search ‘ground coffee’ on online shopping platform such as Shopee, you are dumped with different kinds of choices.

So how to choose?

The most common type of ground coffee that are easily available is arabica coffee, also known as Arabian coffee.

The label on the packaging usually states ‘100% Arabica’ which means the coffee ground is made only using arabica beans.

This species of coffee tree Coffee arabica is believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated and made up about 60 per cent of global production.

Meanwhile, the second most cultivated types of coffee is robusta coffee.

Widely known as Coffee robusta, the plant is scientifically as Coffea canephora.

The third choice is Liberian coffee or Coffea liberica.

It is more common species in the Philippines, Indonesia as well as in Malaysia. Here in Sarawak, we have our very own Sarawak Liberica.

So how do you choose your java beans?

Firstly, let us talk about the most important factor which is the caffeine concentration because a decaf coffee is just a sacrilege.

The caffeine concentration of Liberica beans is the lowest of the three with 1.23g/100g.

Arabica has 1.61g/100g and Robusta has 2.26/100g. Hence, choose one that suits your caffeine expectations.

As for the taste, every blend has a specific sensation on its own.

Overall, arabica is known for its smoother taste often with hints of fruits or sourish aftertaste.

If Robusta is an occupation, then it would be a strong, six-packed construction worker. It has harsher, stronger and bitter taste compared to Arabica.

Last but not least is the Liberica beans. The feedback for this bean is varies. Some said it is the most aromatic beans compared to Arabica and Robusta beans.

It is also known for its woody and smokey taste.

When choosing your coffee grounds, you can also choose mixed blends between different kinds of coffee beans. The most common blend is a combination of Arabica and Robusta beans.

Now that you have chosen your beans, next is to choose the type of grind.

There are ‘extra course’, ‘course’, ‘medium’, ‘fine’ and ‘extra fine’.

If you are using French press, choose ‘extra course’ or ‘course’ or ‘medium’. For a Moka pot, opt for ‘fine’ grind.

Other ingredients for your home cafe

Besides coffee beans, you must have milk in your home cafe. It is recommended to use skim milk for frothing since it is the lightest.

You can use whole milk but the froth will be creamier in taste.

Speaking of frothed milk, you can make one without a machine.

The steps include heating the milk and using a hand mixer to whisk the milk until it reaches the desired frothiness.

Don’t have any hand mixer or a whisk? Make full use of your biceps and triceps by shaking a jar filled with warmed milk.

To make more home cafe recipes, get ready other ingredients such as whipping cream, flavoured syrup such as vanilla and hazelnut as well as cocoa powder.

Your home cafe recipes

Once you have that particular shot of espresso perfects to your taste, you are ready to have your own home cafe.

The easiest thing to make is americano. Take your shot of espresso and add into 100-150ml of hot water.

Do not go the other way round because the water being flowed through the coffee can lead it to be over extracted.

For a cup of cafe latte, have an espresso with 150-300ml steamed milk poured over it. Feel free to add your own flavour with vanilla or hazelnut syrup.

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Iced latte

You can make own cappuccino by adding 160-240ml milk foam into your espresso.

A flat white is made with a double espresso and about 150-240ml light frothy milk.

Not feeling like too much dairy? Make yourself an espresso macchiato with as shot of espresso and about 50ml of milk froth.

An espresso macchiato is a single shot of espresso with a dollop of milk froth on top.

Another way to make full use of frothed milk is by making latte macchiato.

Unlike a cafe latte whereby the milk is poured into the espresso, a latte macchiato is made by adding a single shot of espresso slowly onto a big glass of steamed and frothed milk.

If you have whipped cream laying around the kitchen, top your espresso with it to make espresso con panna.

Finally for a dessert at your very own home cafe, pour a shot of espresso over a scoop of vanilla ice-cream to make an affogato.

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Make your very own affogato.

Setting the ambience for your home cafe

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Clear the clutter and sit on the most comfy couch in your living room. Light a scented candle if you have one, have a book ready at your side and put up some music.

There is a wide range of playlist of ‘coffee shop music’ to choose from especially on Youtube.

From ‘Korean coffee shop playlist’ to ‘Starbucks-inspired playlist’, pick your choice.

With the perfect cup of java poured into your favourite cup, you are now ready to have a cafe experience at home.

All images are stocks photos from and

#KajoPicks: Where to grab coffee-to-go in Kuching?

First of all, you can easily grab your coffee-to-go at any kopitiam (if you prefer good old local kopi) or even the typical choice of Starbucks. Plus, you can go visit any of Kuching’s dozens of cafes, but most of them are not open until late morning or noon.

So what do you do when you really need that quick dose of caffeine from a specialty coffee in the morning?

For KajoMag, here are our favourite places specifically to go and grab coffee-to-go in Kuching:

1.Black Bean Coffee & Tea

Where to grab to go coffee in Kuching 2

This list is not complete without a Kuching must-have for coffee lovers – Black Bean Coffee & Tea. It is known for our very own Sarawak Liberica which is one of the best coffee beans in the world.

Located at Ewe Hai Street, Black Bean Coffee & Tea opens at 9 in the morning – perfect timing for those looking for another cup of coffee after their early breakfast.

Looking for coffee beans to brew your own drinks at home? This is also the place for you. The staff is willing to help you select the perfect beans according to your taste.

If Kuching city centre is too far for you, they have another branch at Hock Seng Lee’s (HSL) new La Promenade Mall.


Where to grab to go coffee in Kuching 1

You might think, “Why on earth is a bubble tea chain on this list?”

Honestly, the coffee range drink from this Malaysian boba chain is pretty underrated.

Their signature coffee, americano and latte drinks come hot or cold. Additionally, they offer seasonal promotions on their selected coffee beverages for only RM5 (without tax) from morning till 12pm daily.

However if you prefer Robusta or Liberica beans, this place is not for you. Tealive only offers 100 per cent Arabica beans.

3.Belalak Addicted Coffee

Where to grab to go coffee in Kuching 3

Have you heard of the Turkish way of brewing coffee? It is done by boiling very finely ground coffee.

Traditionally, the grounds left after drinking Turkish coffee are used to tell fortunes. The cup is commonly turned over the saucer to cool, and the patterns of the coffee grounds are used for fortune telling. For Potterheads out there, it is similar to tea-leaf reading or scrying in Harry Potter’s Divination class.

The best place you can find this type of brewing in Kuching is at Belalak Addicted Coffee, The Hills.

No, they don’t offer you fortune telling at Belalak Addicted Coffee. But they do offer a variety of coffee drinks with cute names.

Kopi Let is basically mocha, Kopi Pong is black coffee with palm sugar, Kopi Sus is latte and Kopi Kos is americano.

Besides these, they also offer non-caffeinated and ice-blended drinks.

8 Taiwanese bubble tea franchises you can find in Kuching

Nowadays, you can find boba shops in almost every corner of Kuching. Did you know that there are at least eight Taiwanese bubble tea brands available here?

If bubble tea has its own capital country, there is no denying that Taiwan would be it.

So far, there are two origin stories on how this chewy, milky drink came around.

The first claim derives back to 1986 in Tainan, where the owner of The Hanlin Tea room, Tu Tsong-he allegedly was inspired by white tapioca balls he saw at the market.

He then made tea using the tapioca balls, creating what we now know as bubble tea or pearl tea today.

Meanwhile, Chun Shui Tang Tearoom in Taichung began serving cold Chinese tea after observing cold coffee being served cold in Japan.

This new style of serving tea was a hit in the 1980s. Then came in the teahouse’ product development manager, Lin Hsiu Hui who randomly poured tapioca balls into her iced tea drink in 1988. From there, a new drink was born and it became an instant hit.

Regardless of which teahouse created bubble tea, we can all agree that Taiwan is the birth place of this drink.

Today, other countries such as China and Malaysia have also started their own home-grown brands of bubble tea.

In the meantime, Taiwanese bubble tea brands are opening their branches in all over the world including Malaysia.

If you are looking for Taiwanese bubble tea franchises in Kuching, here are eight of them you can visit (or order through delivery apps since we are in the middle of a pandemic):

1.The Alley

Taiwanese Bubble Tea franchise
Crunchy Brown Sugar Milk Tea

How about a Taiwanese bubble tea chain that is worthy of Korean royals? Netflix’s The King: Eternal Monarch (2020) is a hit Korean drama about a king from a parallel universe. He comes to our world using his inherited magic flute, falls in love with a girl and proceeds to have a date with her at The Alley.

In conjunction with the collaboration between the bubble tea brand and the drama, The Alley released a new crunchy milk tea series.

It comes in three flavours; Crunchy Cocoa Milk Tea, Crunchy Brown Sugar Milk Tea and Crunchy Tiramisu Milk.

Besides their crunchy milk tea series,The Alley beverages also comes in milk tea series, latte series, coffee series and more.

The brand is proud of their tapioca pearls which they claimed were made from scratch.

Looking back on its history, The Alley was launched in Taipei in 2013 by Taiwanese graphic designer and entrepreneur Chiu Mao Ting.

Today, you can find this Taiwanese bubble tea brand in North America, Europe, Southeast Asian region such as Singapore and Indonesia.

Location in Kuching: Ground & First Floor, Milan Square, Jalan Wan Alwi.

2.Gong Cha

Speaking of royalty, here is a Taiwanese bubble tea brand whose name translates to ‘tribute tea for the emperor’.

Gong Cha was founded in 2006 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan and opened it first franchise in Malaysia in 2011.

Their drinks are grouped into several categories such as brewed tea, milk tea, health tea, creative mix, latte, coffee and house special.

Some of our personal favourites from Gong Cha are Longan Red Date Tea, Matcha Milk Red Bean and Earl Grey Milk Tea with Coffee Jelly.

Locations in Kuching: Plaza Merdeka and tHe Spring


While The Alley is known for its deer logo, Daboba is known for its bear logo.

The two brands share another similarity, they are both known for their take on the popular brown sugar milk beverage.

Daboba is mostly known to create the Honey Golden Pearl Green Milk Tea. Instead of black pearls, the boba is yellow in colour with faintly taste of honey.

Locations in Kuching: Galacity Street Mall, Jalan Tun Jugah

4.Ding Tea

According to their website, Ding Tea keeps a close eye on their quality and never use an overnight tea.

Founded in 2007, the brand aims to promote Taiwanese tea culture to the world.

Their drinks can be divided into different range such as milk tea, fresh tea, latte, flavoured tea, fruit juice and others.

Locations in Kuching: Everrise BDC, Plaza Merdeka, CityOne Megamall, Boulevard Shopping Mall, Vivacity Megamall, AEON Mall Kuching, iCom Square, The Hills


ChaTime currently has the largest teahouse franchise in the world.

It was founded in 2005 in Zhubei, Hsinchu, Taiwan.

Their best selling drink is none other than ChaTime ‘Pearl’ Milk Tea. Our personal preferences are Earl Grey Pearl Milk and Hazelnut Chocolate.

Locations in Kuching:
1.Aeon Kuching
Ground floor, Aeon Mall Kuching, Jalan Datuk Patinggi Haji Ahmad Zaidi Adruce
2.Vivacity Megamall
Level 3, Vivacity Megamall, Jalan Wan Alwi
Ground Floor, Lot 14011 (SL36), Metrocity, Jalan Matang


Do you know that one of the oldest Taiwanese bubble tea franchise have a couple of branches in Kuching?

Sharetea was founded in 1992 by Chong Kai Lung in Taipei, Taiwan.

In Malaysia, the franchise was first brought over Wong Tai Yong in 2009.

Meanwhile in Sarawak, there are around 30 Sharetea branches located all over the state.

Some of our personal favourite drinks are Strawberry Blended with Ice Cream, Matcha Red Bean Milk Tea and QQhappy Family Milk Tea.

Locations in Kuching:

1.Tabuan Tranquility
Ground Floor, Jalan Canna
2.Gala Street Mall
GalaCity, Jalan Tun Jugah

7.Chun Yang Tea

Chun Yang Tea was founded by former Taiwanese basketball players Wang Xinkai and Chen Jianzhou in 2017.

Since then, it had received celebrity endorsement such as Jay Chow and Barbie Hsu.

Instead of artificial flavouring or syrups, Chun Yang is proud to say that they only use real fruit in their drinks.

Apart from that, they do not use milk powders as part of their ingredients.

The brand Chun Yang, was named after a village in Taiwan which is known for their traditional tea making,

Location in Kuching: Ground Floor, Emporium Kuching, Jalan Tun Jugah

8.Xing Fu Tang

Xing Fu Tang is perhaps the ‘baby’ among these Taiwanese bubble tea franchises because it was founded only back in January 2018.

They claim to be Taiwan No. 1 in their logo. However, we let Kuchingites to judge for that.

Their signature drink is Brown Sugar Boba Milk.

Location in Kuching: GalaCity, Jalan Tun Jugah

Refresh your Work From Home experience with Heineken 0.0


Now you can enjoy the same great taste of Heineken® by inviting Heineken 0.0 into your virtual meeting

KUALA LUMPUR – Heineken 0.0 is now available in new cans for Malaysians to enjoy, anytime, anywhere!

Boasting a slimmer, more stylish and premium look, Heineken® 0.0 was launched following the rise in in-home consumption occasions amidst the new normal.

Heineken® 0.0 serves as the perfect partner to help refresh the work from home experience, which now plays a major role in our everyday lives.

The current pandemic has forced a shift in the workforce as more businesses are adopting the work from home approach.

However, it’s rather easy for the 9-5 grind to become dull and repetitive. Days are filled with back-to-back meetings that possibly eat into break time and lunch hours.

In some cases, people might be overworked, as working and leisure hours are blurred.

This ultimately results in a rather mundane work from home experience, but with Heineken 0.0, your work hours are now happy hours!

Starting from 23 November to 31 December, now you can enjoy a beer while you work from home by simply inviting to your virtual meetings, at least three days in advance.

Once your calendar invite has been accepted by Heineken® 0.0, you and your meeting attendees can look forward to 4 free cans of Heineken 0.0 delivered right to your doorsteps!

Heineken 0.0 New Can 2

Heineken 0.0 with brand new look

“We decided to launch Heineken 0.0 in new cans as we saw that more consumers preferred to enjoy a beer or two at home. This also goes hand in hand with our aim to open up new drinking occasions with Heineken 0.0, especially as working from home is now a new normal for many of us. So what better way to refresh your work from home experience than to kick back with a beer in hand by inviting Heineken 0.0 to your virtual meetings,” said Pablo Chabot, Marketing Director of Heineken Malaysia Berhad.

Defined by its refreshing fruity notes and soft malty body, Heineken 0.0 provides a perfectly balanced taste.

It is double brewed like Heineken® with the alcohol being gently removed and blended with natural flavours.

This provides a choice for non-Muslim consumers, aged 21 and above, who enjoy the taste of beer but not necessarily the effects of alcohol, to enjoy the same great Heineken® taste anytime, anywhere!

Taking cues from the growing cultural trend around moderate alcohol consumption and living a more balanced lifestyle, it was first introduced in 2017 in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany, followed by the UK and France.

Heineken 0.0 then made its debut in Asia in 2018, by launching in Singapore, followed by Thailand in early 2019 and Malaysia in June last year.

The drink is now serving it’s same great taste in 39 countries worldwide, including Europe, North America, and Australia.

Ready to refresh your work from home experience? Now you can relax and sip through your virtual meetings with an ice cold Heineken 0.0, in a new 330ml can that contains only 69 calories per serve. Find out more about T&C and delivery on the Heineken® website.

The all-new Heineken 0.0 can is also available nationwide, in selected hyper/supermarkets and convenience stores.

For more information and updates, log on to the Heineken® website or follow Heineken® on Instagram (@HeinekenMY) and Facebook.

Your complete guide to Sarawak Teh C Peng Special

If Sarawak had a national drink, that beverage would definitely be Teh C Peng Special.

A drink that you can order throughout Sarawak, it is also known as three-layer tea because of how its ingredients look in the glass before you give it a really good stir.

Basically it is a beverage made of red tea, evaporated milk and gula melaka syrup (a type of palm sugar). It is an upgraded version of Teh C Peng which is iced tea with evaporated milk.

Add on the syrup and voila it becomes ‘special’!

What is Teh C Peng Special?

Can you see the three layers in this drink?
Can you see the three layers in this drink?

The commonly known origin of this drink is 7th mile Kuching’s Fresh Food Court. To this day, visitors still flock to this food court to have a taste of the original Teh C Peng Special.

The highlight of the drink is none other than the gula melaka syrup. Gula melaka (Malacca sugar in Malay) is a type of palm sugar made from the sap of flower buds mainly from the coconut palms.

Not all palm sugars are the same as they may differ in composition. Gula melaka can be dense and sticky which is why before you drink Teh C Peng Special, you need to stir it vigorously.

You can always make your own Teh C Peng Special at home as long as you have black tea, evaporated milk and gula melaka.

You can make your own syrup by melting solid gula melaka in some water over a slow flame, or buy a bottle of Teh C Peng Special syrup easily found in most Sarawak supermarkets.

When it comes to Malaysian drinks, the alphabet ‘C’ means evaporated milk. But why the letter ‘C’? Apparently it is inspired by the first initial of the most famous brand of evaporated milk from Nestle called Carnation.

Now comes the teh or tea part: Teh C Peng Special is made of red tea.

Red tea in Malaysia or other countries such as China is actually what Western countries refer to as black tea. It is more oxidised than oolong, green and white teas.

The most common brand of tea in this country is BOH Tea, which is also the largest black tea manufacturer in Malaysia.

Teh C Peng Special makes a great thirst-quenching drink especially in hot weather.

How a Teh C Peng Special looks like after a good stir.
How a Teh C Peng Special looks like after a good stir.