May 6, 2011

MBuji Café: Where Your Coffee Adventure Begins

Nope, I am not a coffee addict… but who could resist an adventure with one? Gearing up for the caffeine escapade, I headed to Subang Jaya, Carrefour recently for an invite from FOOD and MBuji to seek out the inner coffee appreciation in me.

MBuji… how does one pronounced this? In fear of butchering the name, my first question was to seek the correct pronunciation of this coffee café. Owner, Alice Sai deftly shared that this is pronounced as ‘boo-ji’, named after a famous stone that looks like a hill and is said to be one of the highest and largest stone in Tanzania, Africa. Believe it or not, the stone is said to weld supernatural power. (Don’t’ ask me what power though… wink!)

Alice takes her coffee seriously! Her passion for coffee can be nimbly seen from the way she shares her knowledge about the humble bean. Do not let this humble bean fool you as it is considered one of the top few export businesses in the world.

MBuji showcases triple A grade Arabica beans that is grown in MBinga, Tanzania. We were given an in depth coffee appreciation class on how to differentiate the different grades, flavors and locations of the coffee beans’ origin. Alice quotes on identifying good coffee ‘When it feels like drinking water when you have it. You don’t get thirsty and it doesn’t get stuck in your throat’.

The class started off with a speech by Alice’s business partner, Gus Savvas, an Australian master roaster with 30 years of experience in coffee. Gus certainly enlightened me with great details of the humble bean. I like him as he is such a serious coffee expert! J

Legend has that coffee originated from Ethiopia where a goat herder saw his goats eating strangely after eating some berries. He declared the berries evil and threw them into a fire. Soon after, a heavenly aroma arises and thus the appreciation of coffee was born… my summary version from Gus!

Apparently tasting coffee is an art form! We were given a huge jug of water and a plate of desserts to prepare us for our tasting session. Gus shared the following technique which we had to do to be able to identify and taste true coffee flavors:

  • Fresh brewed coffee in its raw form without sugar or milk
  • Smell the aroma of the coffee up close to your nostrils
  • Quaff the coffee with an exceptional loud slurping noise but do not swallow
  • The loud slurping noise is required so that one can mix the coffee with air and directly spray the tongue evenly with the liquid
  • Swish the coffee mixture around the mouth to coat
  • At this point, you can either swallow or spit out the coffee
  • Analyze the characteristic of the coffee
  • Add milk to the coffee for a different flavor if you wish
  • Cleanse your mouth with water or desserts before tasting the next bean

Coffee tasting is serious business! I tasted 7 kinds of coffee beans that come from different locations worldwide and everyone has its own unique characteristics to it! Let me share a quick and summary of the coffees that night:

Abyssinia: Origin Ethiopia
  • Full bodied flavor
  • Heavenly aroma
  • Acidic
  • From start to end, the taste remains the same

Colombian: Origin Cordillera
  • Strong Oomph
  • Nutty taste
  • Taste doesn’t linger as it disappears quickly

French Roast: Highest Dark Roast Level
  • Roasted till the natural oil comes out
  • Burnt aroma and taste
  • Flat as lacking in flavor

Sigri Papua New Guinea AA: Origin Pacific Island
  • Smooth and mild flavor
  • A hint of sourness with fruitiness
  • Excellent blending qualities

MBuji House Blend: Origin is a secret!
  • Lively and unique
  • Full body
  • Fresh aroma

Sumatran Blue: Origin Lake Toba, Sumatra
  • Bluish tinge
  • Smooth
  • Soft with mild acidity
  • Suitable with milk

Uganda: Origin Uganda
  • Full bodied
  • Cleaner and less earthly flavor
  • Strong and harsh flavor (for me at least)

Raw beans before roasting and final product of roast

Some coffee facts shared from Gus:
  • There are only two types of coffee beans Arabica that grows on high grounds and Robusta that grows on the valley or lower ground.
  • There are seven levels of roast ranging from mild to dark roast
  • Flavors are added when the coffee beans are almost finish roasting to produce flavored coffee
  • Hot milk will disguise the coffee characteristics while cold milk allows the coffee to shine
  • Coffee should be stored in the freezer with sugar cubes to absorb the moisture
  • The finer the grind of the coffee bean, the better the flavors

Different types of coffee makers from basic to professional coffee machines and coffee grinders.

MBuji has an African safari theme and is also adorned with a series of paintings from African Edward Tingatinga.

Chocolate covered coffee beans are addictive!

Our desserts to cleanse our palate

This was certainly an eye opener for me. I never knew there are so many various types of coffee beans from all over the world. I think I have never drunk so much coffee at one time so caffeine buzz was pretty incredible… hahaha!

Go check out MBuji and experience the coffee adventures. They also offer the coffee appreciation sessions to the public and details can be found at their Facebook site. Food is also available with lots of desserts on their display counters. Ambience was an Africa theme with lots of wooden carvings of animals and a series of African artist Edward Tingatinga’s paintings

More information about MBuji:

MBuji Café

Subang Carrefour
1st & 2nd Floor, Jalan SS16/1
47500 Subang Jaya
Tel: 603 5611 6382
Fax: 603 5638 3382

IOI Mall
EF30, 1st Floor, New Wing
Bandar Puchong Jaya
47170 Puchong
Tel: 603 8071 1262



  1. I'm insomnia by just looking at the coffees!!

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  3. This was indeed an awesome adventure taking my sudden tour to this brilliant blog post. I love to admit that I am a coffee addict and always hunt for getting new taste. Actually I was searching online for getting some latest features of new coffee maker as my old friend Bialetti moka express is about to be expired. I was also thirst for learning about coffee adventure and this is the story of landing on your amazing blog. I trailed to the end of your details and happy to learn about MBuji. You really produced a precious piece of contribution here for your numerous fans and readers. It can be a great coffee learning platform too. I appreciate you for the time you taken to share this beautiful content. Simply love it. I also would like to share a relevant site that I visited few few minutes back and that's London speciality coffee. May be useful for the coffee lovers.