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Café Of the Future?

Enter The New Black – a progressive coffee destination that turns the café experience on its head.

The New Black


BY Janice Seow

February 12th, 2015


While passers-by making their way along Upper Circular Road in Singapore may not immediately register what The New Black is – only that it looks uncannily like futuristic science lab – the sleek, minimalist interior with punchy colours will more than likely catch their attention.

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The brainchild of Founder and CEO Phoa Kia Boon, The New Black is described as a café for the ‘third generation’ of coffee lovers. Simply put, it’s aimed at coffee connoisseurs who know what they want, and wish to grab their chosen beverage to go.

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At 100 square feet The New Black is not a large space, but given its unique concept, it doesn’t have to be. Taking centrestage is a specially designed barista’s workbench made of elegant sculpted steel, chrome and glass. It is lower in height than what one would find at most cafés, enabling the baristas to engage more easily in conversation with customers to determine exactly how they would like their cup of java. Cutting-edge technology has also been incorporated into the workbench, ensuring that each recipe is delivered to perfection, right down to the temperature, amount of beans, water, pressure and brewing method. Then there are the tablets at the counter, where those unsure of what they want can click on a taste wheel – where the coffees are deliciously described much like tasting notes in wine – to determine the one that’s right for them.

Importantly, the workbench is foldable, portable and easy to install, in line with Phoa’s vision to bring the same novel coffee idea to office lobbies and various public spaces around town.

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Every design detail has been carefully considered, from the brightly coloured coffee cups and uniforms to the takeaway carriers. There are also sleek benches – minus tables – for those who wish to enjoy their drink right then and there.

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But what of the coffee itself? Great thought has gone into curating the finest artisanal selection from around the world, from legendary roasters such as Tim Wendelboe from Massachusetts and George Howell from Oslo to newer kids on the block like Singapore’s own Nylon.

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The New Black is not just a place to get great coffee; it’s also an experimental lab of sorts where from time to time, the specially trained baristas will serve up new recipes to customers to gather feedback for fresh offerings.

The experience here is certainly unlike any other café. From its coffee to its design to its use of technology, The New Black presents a bold vision of what the next generation coffee house can be.

The New Black is located at 1 Upper Circular Road, Singapore 058400.