Friday, 3 October 2014

Juan Valdez Cafe @ The Intermark

Juan Valdez is a famous Colombian coffee brand and chain.  It opened its first Malaysian cafe at The Intermark, reputedly the first in South East Asia, in April 2014.  With vouchers offered by a group buying site, I was presented with the opportunity to try this brand of coffee which I have never had before.

When you first step into Juan Valdez Cafe @ The Intermark, you know that this coffee joint is a cut above the rest.  I absolutely loved the timber flooring (which exuded a feeling of warmth and coziness) as well as the classic floor tiles at the al fresco dining area.  

The colourful interior, the classy decor, the beautiful touches, the adorned knick-knacks on the shelves, the wooden tables and leather chairs gives me the feeling like I'm in a designer home, kicking off my shoes with a private butler making me a good cup of coffee (I can dream, can't I?)

The thing that pleased me the most was the incredible spaciousness of the cafe that makes for a comfortable setting to sit back and relax with your trusted gadget.  The choice of seating from (low) leather sofas to (mid-level) wooden chairs to the (high) leather chairs was a nice touch, whichever is best and most comfy to choose!

The cafe (apart from cakes) also offers coffee cookies, coffee candies and pre-packaged coffee beans for you to take with you in case you encounter caffeine 'emergencies' while at home :D

And these are some of the 'contraptions' (which looked like some apparatus from my science lab days) used by the baristas to brew your coffee - syphon, French press, Chemex, dripper V60, cold dripper and Kyoto...all sounding 'alien' to me. 

The Tinto Campesino (12oz) @ RM9.50 is a Juan Valdez speciality which simply means black coffee to you and me.   Campesino is described as a Colombian country-style coffee prepared with "panela" (unrefined raw cane sugar), cinnamon, cloves and lemon juice..a true taste of Colombia!  

This is a 'you either like it or you don't' kind of coffee and I'm afraid I'm in the latter group.  The combination of a spiced and acidic flavour was too exotic for me to appreciate.

The Ice Blended Nevado Classic (16oz) @ RM17 was creamy and good but way too sweet for me.  It's normal to be served with this sweetness (according to the wait staff) but you can always make a request for them to hold back a little on the sweetness....well, now I know!  

I had to scoop out the cream to reduce the sweetness as much as possible (better take pic first before discarding the cream).  I did like this better than the black coffee though.

On another visit,  I tried the Ice Blended Nevado Arequipe (12 oz) @ RM16 (RM18 for 16 oz).  I was asked if I wanted it with or without cream (this time) and I remembered how overly sweet the Ice Blended Nevado Classic was the last time I had it.  And so, I asked for it to be served without the cream.  Even without the cream, it was still too sweet for me.

I actually thought that the barista was too heavy handed with the sweetness the last time but now that it had happened twice, I assume this is the usual level of sweetness for their coffees which (I think) is way too sweet for most palates (especially mine).

The Frozen Coffee (12 oz) @ RM12 (RM14 for 16 oz) was the least sweet of them and ultimately the one I liked best of the four I tried.  The frozen coffee version here is not like those frozen coffee cubes in which you pour hot milk into but it's more like ice blended in texture.

The coffee flavour in this one is also more pronounced.  Actually, there's not much difference (in taste) between the Frozen Coffee and Ice Blended Nevado except the former comes without cream on top and the latter is creamier (even without the added cream).

They have the usual breakfast items in their All Day Breakfast menu such as Eggs Benedict, Scrambled Eggs, Croque Madame, Pancakes, Waffles, etc.  This was my order of Scrambled Eggs @ RM15 served with roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted mini potatoes, onion confit and fresh toast.  It's very different from the hearty (and more savoury) big breakfasts that we're so used to.  

The roasted mini potatoes on top was a letdown.  It resembled French fries that have been fried and cut.  It didn't look anything remotely like roasted potatoes.  The scrambled eggs were done right with the caramelised onions providing the sweetness and the cherry tomatoes providing the tartness.

On a separate visit, I thought I might as well go all out Colombian and try their Colombian Chicken Wrap @ RM20 instead of the usual breakfast offers that are common in most cafés.  It came with a side of mesclun salad (leafy lettuces, arugula, endive, frisée) lightly tossed in a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.  Sometimes a simple but fresh dressing (not those Thousand Island type sauces) is all it needs.  If you're not into salads, you can choose fries as well.

The Colombian Chicken Wrap (from the Sandwiches section) comes with capsicum, guacamole, red beans purée, cumin, cheese and lime marinated grilled chicken in a homemade wrap (much like a tortilla).  The tortilla wrap was served warm and slightly crispy.  The grilled chicken (plus all the other ingredients) in the wrap was surprisingly well flavoured, with just a hint of spice.  [#Note: Guacamole is an avocado-based dip, made from mashing ripe avocados with sea salt, and sometimes tomato, onion, chili, coriander, garlic, lime juice and other seasonings are added.]  If you're one who enjoys Mexican flavours, then this will be 'right up your alley'.  For me, I don't particularly like it but I don't dislike it either, it was just trying something different on my palate.

My Personal Opinion

This talked about coffee place offers coffee connoisseurs yet another option for those who want more variety.

I'm no coffee connoisseur....and I don't pretend to be one.  I don't have the words nor know how to use words to describe the taste of coffee, all I know is whether I like it or not.  But for me, this Colombian coffee is an acquired taste and not everyone is gonna love it.  A look around and I noticed that the clientele are mostly expatriates.  Perhaps, locals (like me) can't quite develop the taste buds or know how to appreciate this type of coffee.

Having said that, I did enjoy the frozen coffee but the high quality Colombian coffees here are not cheap.  Try this, at least once, just to tick it off your bucket list of coffees to try!

If not for anything else, come here for the lovely ambience (where you're bound to feel right at home).....and the Frozen Coffee!

Juan Valdez Cafe
Lot G-22 Intermark Mall
The Intermark
348 Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2181 2113

1 comment:

  1. If the coffee is too sweet for you, then I must stay clear of it. If you are ever in the vicinity of Sri Petaling, you can looked up this new coffee place - "103 Coffee Workshop". I read that it serves good tasty coffee.


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