KUCHING: Black Bean Coffee & Tea, which made Sarawak’s Liberica coffee world famous, will open an outlet at Hock Seng Lee’s (HSL) new La Promenade Mall next month.
The new outlet will be its largest and is a collaboration with coffee enthusiasts at the multi-disciplinary construction firm.
“We cannot be more proud to host Black Bean at our new mall. Black Bean has been a favourite of ours since a long time ago. Their Sarawak Liberica is really one of the world’s best coffees. Its taste is unlike any other — sweet, tropical, intense and exotic,” said HSL corporate affairs manager Shirley Loo.
Black Bean at La Promenade will occupy a large ground floor lot of more than 1,400sqft. It faces Choice Supermarket’s entrance, and is near Rice King.
Black Bean began in mid 1990s with its coffee roasted and served in Life Cafe. In 2000, the first Black Bean cafe opened at Carpenter Street with just three tables.
By May 2018, Lonely Planet had selected Black Bean at Carpenter Street “as one of the world’s best coffee experiences”. The book featured just 150 coffee experiences in 37 countries, from east Africa to Cuba, Australia and the UK.
Black Bean was one of two selected from Malaysia.
“It was a true achievement and honour to be ranked among the world’s best,” said co-founder Han Pi Chin.
Her husband and business partner Chang Jong Yiaw said the accolade was more meaningful given Black Bean was recommended by travel journalists from around the world.
“We have never been a fancy coffee franchise. We use simple tools and simple decorations at the Old Town Shop. We’re still using the same hand drawn logo from many years ago. What we care about most is coffee roasting and brewing,” Chang said.
The La Promenade outlet will have an interior designed by Lucas Goh, who’s most recent work is the Spanish restaurant La Boca Ria.
“The client asked for a space for the community, so I thought, why don’t we do something that is reflective of the local culture then? I envisioned a place that will be nostalgic to older people, and to the younger ones, they will be wondering, cool, I’ve never seen these things before in real life. I tried to do something for all ages here, and we are appealing to all senses — sight, smell and sound,” Goh said.
Goh, who is an antique collector, is upcycling doors, window panels, frames to create partitions. Woven baskets and coffee gunny sacks are turned into hanging lights. Old showcases and bookshelves will be used to display Black Bean’s merchandise. At the centre of it all is a large bar for the baristas to work from.
A sectioned-off meeting room with projector has also been created for group discussions.
“We are appealing to all. You want to spend an afternoon with friends, catch up, you can come. You are waiting for kids at school, you can come. You are a university student, need a meeting space, you can come,” Goh said.
Black Bean at La Promenade Mall will also serve a fresh selection of cakes, local ‘kuih muih’ and open till late daily.
The mall is part of the 10-storey HSL Tower, which is the new headquarters of the public listed construction firm.