At a party several years ago in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, I met a boy who had just returned from a three-year work stint in Melbourne.
People chat inside Departure Cafe, a hot specialty coffee shop serving fresh brews from gourmet beans sourced from Australia.
I no longer remember what he looked like, or if we exchanged phone numbers, but I do remember one thing he said: “There’s no good coffee in this city.”
At the time I thought he was mad. Malaysians have long gathered in kopitiams, Malay-style coffeehouses that not only serve strong cups of joe, but also serve as gathering spots for people to socialize or talk politics...