Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Jesselton Coffee in Sandakan

I have been meaning to write something about this cafe for the longest time, but have yet found the drive to do it.. and since this could be one of my last time lepakking here while waiting for my flight later tonight, I might as well do some honour to this place.

Sandakan has seen a growth spur of cafes since development took place in Bandar Indah. One of the earlier spots is Equator Coffee which I've covered in earlier entries. More recently I am more drawn to loiter around this place since it is nearer to the hotel that I stay in.

Jesselton Coffee offers the usual variety of coffee based drinks, using only one source of coffee beans for its espresso - ... . As usual, my yardstick for comparing coffees would be its mocha, and Jesselton Coffee did very impressively by topping mine up with a nice rosetta everytime, even without asking for it sometimes.

I've also tried their ice blended beverage, again of mocha variety. Since it is powder based like all other ice blended around, I couldn't really appreciate the coffee in the drink but rather how nicely it blends as a whole drink, so for Jesselton's ice blended, I'd place it somewhere between Starbucks' and San Fran's Frapp. Of course, comparing mocha to mocha. (Mind you, although I tend to write much about Starbucks, but I think another company makes better slushy coffee then them). Its consistency is good for a 1/2 hour chat.

For non coffee drinkers, Jesselton prepares chocolate and tea based beverages but I never came for those.

Another favourite about Jesselton Coffee is their selection of home made cakes, priced very affordably comparing to other cafes. My personal favorite, pinapple cheese cake, but for all the time I've been here, I've only tasted it once - I wonder if I should suggest that they make it a regular offering on their cake shelves. For those who wishes to have something heavier, they only have on single choice of spagetti.

For those of you who misses the comfort of Starbucks while in Sandakan, can come over to Jesselton Coffee to et your fix. Ah yes, something must be said about their music playing in the store - just the way I like it, jazz, although mostly chinese flavoured, but nice cozy jazz nonetheless.

pictures to be uploaded later

Jesselton Coffee,
Lot 1, Block 34, Ground Floor,
Bandar Indah Phase6,
Mile 4, Jalan Utara
90000 Sandakan
Sabah Malaysia
Tel:+6089 212 250

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Cafe Old Town

This place has been a very popular venue to hang out, and even Starbucks or Coffee Bean can't rival its popularity. I've always wanted to come and check out the menu prepared for blog but this situation as seen here has been the same since it opened many many months back.

Better luck next time I suppose...

Friday, 3 October 2008



For those who are in Hong Kong around this time, do support the event!


YEP it's been too long... I've renewed the motivation to faithfully report the new brew and everything coffee in my town and yours... stay tuned, come back more often, sit down and relax...

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


Last night I wasn't really ouit to do coffee tasting, but what do you make of such claims you see on the wall? I had to come in and give it a try... there's no any other way about it...

The place is a well known destination amongst budget backpackers, and their coffeeshop opens almost all the time. It is also christened the Backpackers Museum, showcasing war and post war memorablias, what caught my attention most are the war poems posted along the stairs, under a big bright neon caption "Lest We Forget Your Sacrifice". Nice.

They seemingly have quite a good variety of food on the menu, but since last night I was quite single-minded to get some fried rice from another place, I ordered something light... and so surprisingly cheap...

Even Coffee Bean can't beat the decos they have here... authentic. Love it.

I had bottled coffee RM1.00 and charcoal toasted bread, also RM1.00. The coffee is just plain chilled sweetened americano presented in a green bottle, but the idea is really pleasing. I've not seen this done elsewhere.

Dim lighting and conducive ambiance for deep chat with friends (or date)... Definitely will be back.

Bread toasted on charcoal, then slapped on butter and sugar... nice.

Determined to come back for an interview with the Boss.

After that, I walked down to another cafe that I've discovered much much earlier, The Yesteryear Cafe. The first time I came they were playing jazz in the background. Quite crowded with locals and foreigners alike downing away sets of beer and stouts.

Lately the ambiance has been a little less than favourable for my liking, mostly because the last 3 visits they have been showing Wrestling on their 2 tvs. The plave is fast losing its attractiveness as an escapade for me to run away into a little world of my own.

But the main reason I come back is this, Lagi Aramaiti fried rice (with sausage, egg, pineapple and mixed vegetable), with sunny side up and a piece of chicken wing RM7.50. The iced coffee is just so-so. RM2.00.

Monday, 10 March 2008


Yea, the coffee-blogger has been out for a while, but not in short of coffee... but the mood will return, come on guys, cheer him up, he will write... he will write again, soon....

Tuesday, 8 January 2008


RM 2.50

This is something new, I've never thought that even yogurt can be flavoured with coffee. The smell is a little bit off, imagine a sour smell in your coffee, but the taste is good. Very good, if not for the nata de coco, which in my opinion is totally unnecessary and contributes little to the nutritional value of the whole product. For this I'm going to give it 7.8/10!

RM 2.70

This didn't work for me. Generally I think there's too much hoo-haa given to everything tongkat ali, still I can tolerate the 3-in-1 type of the same brand, but the one in the can just did it badly. Yucks. 2.1/10

RM 2.00

I like my coffee bold, and strong... which means it tend to be a tad bit more bitter than the usual cuppa ordinary people would consume, but I won't define this anything near to bold or strong. If you can imagine drinking charcoal with milk, that's what Sundrop Premium is. Doesn't work at all. 1.95/10

RM 2.00

Again one of those that thinks that they'd up the class of their product by calling it cappuccino or espresso or something with coffee jargons... this can of capp tastes like leong-fun jelly, I can't really figure out either its the milk or the coffee actually that makes it taste like that. Just so-so... 5.3/10

RM 2.00

I can't really differentiate between this can of leong-fun tasting beverage and the one above. If the one before is a cappuccino, I suppose this is their version of latte. But still didn't work for me. 5.3/10

RM 2.00

Of all, this one I don't understand at all... were we not talking about instant coffee all this while? Is it trying to say that this is more time saving than the 3-in-1 type of instant coffee because they already mix it with water? This left me confused but I have to say, that the instant coffee type tastes slightly better than the other two, so I'll give it a 5.4/10.

RM 2.00

Although I have a friend that swears that Nescafe is not coffee, but thank God for Nescafe after all the above. This mocha in a can is my favourite of all the three versions they have, but 7-eleven was out of stock that time. Maybe I'm bias in this, since it's my favourite drink, but hey, it's my rating system. This is a plain 8.9/10!

insomnia tonight...

Thursday, 3 January 2008


RM 5.00

If you like Kit Kat, you'd probably like this, because it's Kit Kat.. but the faint coffee taste in it doesn't justify the price as compared to the ordinary version.

Saturday, 29 December 2007


Recently back again from labuan, as I have posted before, the land of cheap booze, cigarettes, textiles and of course chocolates. Surprisingly this time round, there were very little selections with coffee flavour, as compared to the last time when I could easily spend RM50 worth of chocolate with coffee in it. Anyway, since I am still in the mood for writing about it, I'll do a little introduction of each from my goodie bag:

RM 3.90

One of the good ones that really has the coffee aroma in it.

RATING 7.8/10

RM 0.80

I've never been a fan of Nougat, and the faint taste of coffee in it isn't really great.

RATING 8.5/10

This isn't exactly chocolate. Kahlua and Bailey's has long dominated the coffee and cream liquer selection but come this Christmas, we had something else to try out, and by general consensus, the family agreed that Cafe Boheme tastes better than Bailey's on the rock. It is actually coffee and cream in French vodka, and its well-balanced creaminess and light sweetness makes it perfect as dessert. Try pouring some over chocolate ice-cream.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Starbucks® Christmas Blend 2007

Our festive blend of bold Asia/Pacific coffees and crisp and lively Latin American beans is back to spread holiday cheer all season long. We give this coffee a joyful, spicy warmth with a very special and rare ingredient: aged Indonesian beans.

Key term: Spicy

From many lands, one blend Every coffee bean carries a distinctive taste that is particular to its land of origin. By carefully blending beans from different regions, our coffee experts have created an interesting interplay of aromas and flavors.

Food Pairing
Anything spicy with hints of citrus enhances Starbucks® Christmas Blend's coziness—especially our Cranberry Bliss® Bar, gingerbreads and cookies with ginger, orange, cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves.

A blend of Latin American, Indonesian, and rare, aged Indonesian coffees.


The difference between this blend and the other Indonesian beans is that Christmas Blend uses aged beans. Aging of coffee is a process whereby green coffee is held for a couple of years, allowing natural changes to occur. Aging process usually mute the acidity and improve the body of the coffee.

Aroma 7/10 a distinct earthy aroma infiltrates the senses reminiscence of a local day market after rain, cozy and familiar

Flavour 7/10 subtle hint of spice, complex enough without any particular one dominating

Acidity 5/10 low to medium

Body 8/10 full on the palate and tongue

Aftertaste 6/10 lingering taste on the back of the tongue, you'd either like it or not


Though the packet claims the keynote to be spicy, it is too subtle to be a first impression. Christmas, in my understanding, smells like cinnamon and apple and mint.

To perk up the Christmas feeling to this blend, I'd do it au lait. Best done using a press, of course. Take half a cup of steamed milk, throw in a sprinkle of cinnamon powder, and some brown sugar if you like it. Top with freshly pressed coffee. Remember it's 50% milk and 50% coffee. Whipped cream and nutmeg optional but still agreeable. Gingerbread and apple-crumble go well with this.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 30 October 2007


Many have asked whether or not I have any strings connected to Starbucks because of the amount of coffee tasting I've done there and not much I've said about the others. Well, I just want to make clear, that I am not in any ways affiliated to Starbucks, though much that I want to... the reason I am there most of the time is because of their client friendly policy and of course, the coffee there is good. Well, better... is many sense.

This is of course not to say that I've put down the rest of the coffee giants for good. For instant, honestly, I seldom go for Fraps at Starbucks, simply because I think Coffee Bean makes much better Ice-Blended drinks. Well for SanFran, I'd go there to glut on their salad, and when you're really thirsty and you want something icy with a kick, Mo'Mocha provides a better uumph than any of the other two giants....

But still, Starbucks gives its patrons a reason to come back... We at Philosoffee share the same sentiment about coffee... that is it more than just a drink, it is supposed to be an experience. An enjoyable one at that. Amen.

Monday, 1 October 2007


Created for summertime and iced coffee, Gazebo Blend® is an elegant assortment of East African coffees. Bright flavors are balanced with a smooth, medium body. This coffee is a seasonal offering. The rich flavor with fruit-like notes evolves as it cools - making it exhilarating served hot and delightfully refreshing over ice.

I had the chance to bring yet another coffee-master to my meeting, to introduce to us fellow Sabahans (who think anything black and sweet is coffee). It was during a buka-puasa party when Aini and her gang walked over all the way from Warisan to KKIA Pekan to introduce to us this thirst quenching blend, especially made for summertime (come to think of it, any liquid would be thirst quenching if you're thirsty from fasting the whole day!)


This blend gives off really a refreshing aroma, a fragrance reminiscent of sweet smelling flowers. The aroma also does the mind an invigorating and calming effect.

Aroma 7/10 Smells like fresh flowers with a whiff of fresh cut citrus. Making the mouth waters, even as I took a deep smell in.

Acidity 7/10 Quite a high pitch zing that startles the palate. Highly sought-after sensation. After tasting Indonesian coffee for the past few packs (which are generally bolder and lower in acidity) this is a nice reintroduction of the finer things in a cup.

Body 5/10 Medium, I'd say. The coffee leaves a winy sensation that makes the mouth waters, hence cleansing the palate.

Flavour 6/10 Unmistakably citrusy , something like a ripe orange .

Aftertaste 6/10 The aftertaste gets washed off quite quickly so it is not very prominent. However this quality can be used as a palate cleanser after a heavy dinner.


Like I mentioned before, this is a good coffee to have after dinner. I've tried it iced as well, as recommended, and it is as good as claimed. I've put up below a recipe from starbucks on how to make it into an iced drink.

Aini doing her coffee-master thing, notice that the apron is not the usual green but black!

And this is the whole gang that came...

Iced Coffee Recipe:
Start by brewing coffee at double strength, using 1 cup (2.5 oz/71 g) of ground coffee to 3 cups (24 fl oz/710 mL) water. After brewing is complete, add 3 cups ice to the pot and let cool. Serve in a tall glass filled halfway with ice. Adjust the coffee's strength by adding water to taste. Makes about four 8 fl oz (236 mL) servings.


My usual gets a hearty make-over, with a latte-art by my new friend, Greg...
So he says that he used to do this in the past, but after not doing it for some time, he's a tad nervous over the task of dressing my mocha... I believe he's not yet preparing my drink in this picture...

First, got to have 'em micro-bubbs... the secret to a fine latte art is good quality foam, so it has to be stable and stay rather firm through-out the pouring process. A quick whizz to the good old full cream milk, and we're ready to go. Talissa looking on...

Letting the foam stand a while, he quickly prepares the soul of the drink, the double-espresso shots...

And after mixing coffee and cocoa, it's time to pour in the milk, first the fluid milk carefully mixed into the concoction to create the mocha drink (no point having a good looking cup that tastes horrible) so this step is just as important (if not more) as painting the cap later...

And nearing the brim, Greg let the coarser bubbles take form while carefully pouring the later portion of the stream across the pool of white... and there you go, a heart!

Taa daa..!

The master-piece..

Although Greg can be a bit of a perfectionist, and let out a painfully disappointed sigh at his work... not that I know any better, but macam ok saja tu...

We'll have another try sometime soon. Next time - daun! Haha

Greg, boleh bah kalau kau...!

Greg (or Gory as he is better known) is a store coffee-master and has been with Starbucks since the initial opening in KK a little less than a year ago. You can find him making your favourite drinks at the Starbucks Palm Square (Centre Point) Outlet.

Thursday, 27 September 2007


I'd probably say this is my favourite... up coming

stay tuned..!
my favourite usual, Venti Caffe Mocha to go, with cream
Starbucks Coffee @ Warisan Square

Wednesday, 26 September 2007


Coffeechat with Zul and Crystal of Starbucks City Mall and Greg, coffeemaster from Warisan Square

Grown in Siborong-Borong—a town in the heart of Sumatra’s Lake Toba coffee-growing region—this rare, full-bodied coffee offers a surprising complexity, soft acidity and hints of freshly cut basil.

More about this coffee: Batak women pick the cherries and then pulp and wash them, all by hand. The wet parchment is set out to dry in the sun on tarps or woven mats in front of houses. This coffee is sorted by hand and delivered to market the day after harvest to ensure freshness.

Batak women at the marketplace

Priced at about nearly 200% from a usual pack of beans, this definitely is an exclussive production. Wrapped in a cool cut-out design box with royal purple packet, the look itself is irresistable.


Since this is also another single origin roast from Sumatra, the usual characteristic of Indonesian coffee is expected, as in earthy, mushroomy and complex. I could not appreciate the suggested basil as is on the pack, but probably because I don't know what basil should taste like.

Aroma 7/10 quite subtle, if compared to the usual sumatra blend, but the sweet complexity is also distinguishable

Flavour 7/10 just like its cousin the sumatra roast, this coffee is characteristically earthy, with a slight hint of wine

Body 8/10 heavy, strong saturation of the palate

Acidity 5/10 low, as common for Indonesian coffee

Aftertaste 5/10 The taste clears after a while, probably due to the salivation promoted by the winey character of the coffee


Don't chat over this one. Drink it straight, as hot as possible because it turns acerbic real fast. It probably tastes like the subtle winey character that you can get at the beginning, but magnified to about 250 times, which randers it unpleasant.

However, the coffee is slightly overpunctuated with the packaging and the anticipation of the Year's Black Apron Exclusive Label, but not at all disappointing, just delicate. Buy if only you appreciate good coffee that requires your utmost attention and turns bad the minute you turn your back on it... and if only you can still find it, because it is going fast..


Full-bodied and smooth with deep, spicy flavor.

Created in 1996 in honor of our 25th anniversary, Starbucks® Anniversary Blend is a big, bold, full-bodied blend of Asia/Pacific coffees accented with rare aged Indonesian beans.

More about this coffee:
The aged coffees deepen the earthiness and spiciness of this blend. This coffee celebrates the spirit of Starbucks and our coffee expertise.

The most catchy thing about this blend is definitely the presentation. I would know how catchy it is, for I bought not only the drink, but also the mug and travelling tumbler.. never have I bought so many merchandises based on one single product, but who can resist the lure of a half naked siren doing her thing, just like in the folklore. I think Starbucks' up to something.

Good marketing stratedy, I'd have to give them that.


The general mood created by the coffee's aroma is definitely relaxing and mallowed. On the first introduction to the palate, I could almost taste the sweetness, reminding me of cotton candy or roasted marshmallow. And being an aged Indonesian produce, the earthy fragrance is distinctive.

Aroma 7/10 soft and gentle, the sweetness resembles roasted marshmallow

Acidity 4.5/10 rather low

Body 8/10 strong and confident, the coffee saturates the palate rather easily

Flavour 7.8/10

Aftertaste 6.5/10 quite clean aftertaste


Sipping the coffee slowly will reveal the slightly briny sweetness, not unpleasant, something of a strong caramel. Definitely something to relax with.

Thursday, 26 July 2007


Attending a meeting over a 3 nights stay in Labuan - the land of cheap booze, cigarettes, textiles and of course, chocolate - I picked up a goodie bag full of the stuff worth more than 50 bucks. And all of them as you may have guessed it correctly - are in someways and somehow flavoured with coffee.

Stay tuned till I find the opportunity to have my caloriextravaganza, and celebrate the second Easter this year doing something I'd regret - trying out my coffee chocolate.

But a coffee maestro's gotta do what a coffee maestro's gotta do... oh well.

Sunday, 22 July 2007


Stuck between wanting to play a good host to the visiting Indonesian doctors, and not being bored to death pretending to be interested in some huge nosed proboscis monkeys, I had to make up my mind and decide... finally I decided not to die from monkey-induced boredom. Got myself dropped halfway off Sandakan town, at Bandar Indah, I quickly headed to this place which I spotted the night before during a night out to get some beers.

coffee equator

Another one of those place that surely will catch my attention, even though it was late at night, not to mention the heavy rain and the fact that I saw it from such an angle usual people would just be happy to ignore.

Yeap, anything with a large signboard with t he word coffee on it will work!

Inside, to my greatest pleasure, was fully air-conditioned and the comfortable dining tables were just as inviting as the signboard outside.

At one glance, this place would pass off as a really impressive American style coffee joint franchise, very similar to that of Coffee Bean or Starbucks, minus the usual overcrowding and the effort to find a good place to sit.

the counter - extra shy people who runs off gave it an impression that there's nobody around

Even the menu was suggesting that this was an experience I am going to remember - it says "coffee tastes better with a friend". Aaahhh :-)

Very quickly attended to by its young apperentice, Kit (whom later expressed that he has a keen interest in pastry business) he showed good knowledge of the products on sale, which tell me that I will at least enjoy my stay here.

cozy chairs - not captured here is the sofa set

I was later joined by the owner, who was a friendly lady who has travelled Europe to experience the real coffee that side of the world has to offer. She took time to sit on my table, telling me a little bit more about their coffee, its origin, and what makes the business work with different people.

Equator Coffee usually gets packed later in the evening, when the younger consumers find it a perfect place to hang out with friends, or get together to do homework (though I doubt much would be accomplished here).

coffex coffee

Equator Coffee only serves Coffex Coffee, a company from Australia which gets its beans from Central America. The shop only uses one single blend, which is the Espresso for Cafe, medium strength.

I tried a few drinks and later a couple of pastries here at Equator. The first was to try Coffex black. I will write about it separately. Then, a Grand Cappuccino as recommended by Kit, a concoction of Espresso with a spalsh of flavoured syrup. Kit did Irish Cream for me, which I thought was superb. Other than that, they also have other syrups like chocolate, caramel, hazel, mint, tiramisu and vanilla. Priced at RM8.70 a serving, not too bad really.

Another recipe worthy of trying, which is Mdm Chong's favourite, is Caffe Viannese - Cappuccino. I didn't have the opportunity to try this one, after 2 servings of coffee here, but this could be a good reason to come back! Priced at RM8.60 a serving, it is one of the store's bestsellers I suppose.

Another thing that cought my attention, on the menu was the real Irish Coffee - with real non-halal stuff in it - at RM15.50 a mug, I wish it was not broad daylight and I have to take a taxi back to the hotel - or I would have ordered one. Next time, next time...


Another offering that one shouldn't go back without trying, is in the display fridge, next to the counter. The cakes are all home made, and each and every one of them are made herself by Mdm Chong! I got to try her tiramisu (RM6.00 each) and since I am filled to the brim but still greedy - I packed a slice of her Japanese Cotton Cheese cake - simply irresistable.

This is one place I would gladly recommend to anybody passing by Sandakan. I wish we have one like this in KK.

Kit and Mdm Chong

Equator Coffee opens daily from 0800H to 2300H
(varying on Weekends and Public Holidays)

G/F Lot 5, Block 12, Bandar Indah,
Mile 4, Jalan Utara, Sandakan

089 210 517