Dining

$1 For a Cup of Coffee? Cafe Hopping in Singapore Just Got a Lot Cheaper with KopiPass

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Joanne Poh

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Cafe hopping sounds innocent enough—sitting down to a nice, steaming hot cup of coffee and curling up with a good book, how sweet!

Well, except for the fact that cafes in Singapore charge heart-stopping prices for coffee, and visiting multiple cafes in one day can really burn a hole in your pocket. It’s not uncommon for hipster cafes to charge $5 to $7 (!!) dollars for a single cup of coffee. Even a single espresso shot, the cheapest drink on the menu, usually costs at least $3 to $4.

That’s why KopiPass is such a good idea. This pass basically gives you heavily discounted coffees at a bunch of cafes all over Singapore. No, we’re not advertising for them, just sharing the lobang. Here’s the lowdown.

 

How much does it cost?

Okay, we know that’s the question on everyone’s lips, so let’s get it out of the way first—the KopiPass costs $30.

 

How does KopiPass work?

KopiPass is a card that you order online and is then sent to you at your mailing address. The card is valid for 6 months from 29th September 2016 to 31st Mar 2017.

Basically, you flash your KopiPass at 30 participating cafes and receive a free coffee.

You’re limited to one free coffee at each outlet. Once you’ve claimed a free coffee at a particular cafe, you can no longer get another, even on a different day.

If you max out your KopiPass and claim all 30 coffees at the 30 different cafes, that works out to $1 per coffee, since the KopiPass itself costs $30.

The catch is that you can only choose the coffees on a list of drinks (usually 3 to 5 drinks per cafe) offered to KopiPass holders.

Check their website here for a list of participating cafes and the drinks you can claim with your KopiPass. At most of the cafes, the drinks on offer are a long black, a latte and some kind of tea.

You should also not forget that the KopiPass expires on 31st Mar 2017. You’ll have to claim all 30 coffees by then, which works out to five coffees per month.

Actually, considering how much a coffee at hipster cafes costs these days, you should recoup the cost of your KopiPass after 5 to 7 coffees. Each additional coffee will then save you money.

 

Which cafes can you use your KopiPass at?

Don’t worry, you’re not going to end up at Starbucks or Coffee Bean (pfft).

Here’s the list of participating cafes. Check if these are places you’ll actually visit before buying the KopiPass.

Here’s the catch–quite a few of the cafes are located in non-central areas like Pasir Panjang and Joo Chiat. If you’re not willing to travel, that will affect the amount of value you get out of your pass.

We’ve categorised the cafes by area so you have a rough idea of which ones are going to be convenient for you to visit.

Central

  • Botanist – 74 Neil Road, 088839
  • Butter Studio – 147 Jalan Besar, 208865
  • Fleur Cafe – 76 Shenton Way #01-01, 079119 (new address)
  • House of Commons Espresso Bar & Cafe – 138 Owen Rd, 218939
  • Kaw Kaw SG – 28 Aliwal Street, #01-01 Aliwal Arts Centre, 199918
  • Montana – #02-25 PoMo, 1 Selegie Road, 188306
  • Suzette – 8 Raffles Avenue #01-13 Esplanade Mall, 039802
  • Tanuki Raw @ Kapok – 111 Middle Rd #01-05, 188969
  • The Assembly Ground – 2 Handy Road, #01-21 The Cathay, 229233
  • The Lab SG – 1 Jln Pisang, 199069
  • Toby’s Estate8 Rodyk Street, #01-03/04, 238216

East

  • 2nd Storey Cafe Bar – 19 East Coast Road #02-01, 428746
  • Avenue Cafe – 456 Joo Chiat Road, 427669
  • Carol Mel Cafe – 1 Irving Place #01-30 The Commerze@Irving 369546
  • LAAF coffee & bistro – 37 East Coast Road, 428755
  • The Laneway Market – 266 Tanjong Katong Road, 437053
  • TimeTable Cafe – 430 Upper Changi Road #01-01 East Village 487048

West

  • Ciel Patisserie – 146 Jalan Bukit Merah #01-1090, 160146
  • Doi Chaang Coffee – 321 Clementi Unit #01-02, 129905
  • Hatched – 267 Holland Avenue, 278989
  • On The Table – 118 Pasir Panjang Rd, 118541

North

  • Madcow Ice Cream & Music Cafe – 163 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4 #01-448, 560163
  • Murphy’s – 532 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, 560532
  • Old School Delight – 215M Upper Thomson Road, 574349

Northeast

  • Oh My Tian Bakehouse & Cafe – #01-79, 34 Whampoa West, 330034
  • SOD CAFE – 51 Hougang Avenue 9, #01-03, 538776
  • Sun Ray Cafe – 79 and 81 Brighton Crescent, Serangoon Gardens Estate, 559218
  • Wayne’s Chill-Out – 3 Punggol Point Road, #02-11 The Punggol Settlement, 828694

Southwest

  • coffee:nowhere – 154 West Coast Rd #B1-06, 127371
  • Red Baron – Red Baron, 45 Malan Rd, 109455

As you can see, the coffee joints are scattered all over Singapore. If you don’t have access to private transport and really, really hate having to travel anywhere far from your workplace or home, you will get less utility out of the KopiPass. Ask yourself realistically how many of these cafes you see yourself visiting over the next 6 months.

 

So, is the KopiPass worth getting?

30 coffees for $30 sounds like a good idea, but we foresee there will be lots of people who buy the KopiPass and then fail to get their money’s worth because they can’t be bothered to visit most of the cafes before the pass expires.

For instance, if you live and work in Bukit Panjang where there are zero hipster cafes (or if there are, they’re even more hipster than I thought since they’re clearly extremely underground), you need to ask yourself if you’re willing to travel to other areas multiple times in the next 6 months.

On the other hand, if you’re a hardcore cafe hopper who frequently travels to random neighbourhoods to hang out at cafes and Instagram your eggs benedict, then you could potentially save quite a bit of money by getting the KopiPass. However, you need to make sure you’re diligent about visiting the cafes on the list before your pass expires.

As for regular people who only patronise cafes now and then, you can still benefit if you make a special effort to change your habits for the duration of the KopiPass, such as by persuading your friends to meet you at hipster cafes for coffee instead of drinking Tiger Beer at the kopitiam.

If the main reason you haven’t been visiting hipster cafes is because their coffee is overpriced, the KopiPass is a good way to give yourself a break from actual kopitiam kopi and experience life as a Singaporean hipster.

Are you a fan of hipster cafes? Tell us why or why not in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.