Foodie Confidential with Mavrx Coffee Bar's Alexandra Eu: For the love of good coffee

Ms Alexandra Eu, co-owner of artisan coffee bar Mavrx at Great World City, says that a good cup of coffee always delivers on its promise – a great tasting, instantaneous boost to kick-start the day.
Ms Alexandra Eu, co-owner of artisan coffee bar Mavrx at Great World City, says that a good cup of coffee always delivers on its promise – a great tasting, instantaneous boost to kick-start the day. PHOTO: MAVRX COFFEE BAR

Who: Ms Alexandra Eu, 34, co-owner of home-grown artisan coffee bar Mavrx at Great World City, which opened in December last year. She runs the bar with her husband Kuok Meng Wei, 35.

Ms Eu is also co-founder of Art Loft Asia, an e-commerce platform that supports emerging Asian contemporary artists; and digital engagement start-up Hive Up, which specialises in financial education for consumers and enterprises. Hive Up was acquired by Hong Kong-based fintech company Prive Technologies in January.

At Mavrx, she oversees the branding, design and operations sides of the business.

The newlyweds, who tied the knot last year, have no children.

Why did you open Mavrx?

For the love of good coffee. My husband founded Mavrx in Duxton Hill about four years ago.

We are determined to carve out cosy spaces and are convinced that the best ideas are brewed over a great cup of coffee, which thus inspired the name Mavrx — a celebration of Mavericks or individuals doing things that matter most, inspiring the work of originality, creativity and experimentation.

When the opportunity arose to open a second outlet at Great world City last year, we jumped at it.

We are currently hunting for a new space for our Duxton Hill outlet which closed last month when the lease ended and are also looking into expanding our brand with a few more outlets and mobile coffee carts in Singapore.

  • What would your last meal be?

  • I would probably want it to be my mother's homemade nasi lemak. It has become quite a staple on Saturdays at lunch time, where we often have friends and family over, and it never fails to put a smile on my face. She has been serving nasi lemak for about the last 10 years.

    We make everything from scratch, from the sambal petai with prawns, to the marinade for the spiced fried chicken. We also make our own sambal and serve dishes such as omelette, sambal prawns and sayuh lodeh. There are also peanuts, ikan bilis and fried ikan kuning - the works.

Can you describe Mavrx's style of coffee?

I would say that it is full-bodied but balanced, rich but not overpowering. We use a blend of beans from Brazil, Sumatra, Colombia and Guatemala, roasted by Allpress, an artisanal roastery that started in New Zealand and now has roasteries around the world.

Our medium roast blend of beans has a flavour profile with hints of caramel and cocoa. Expect clean, crisp acidity and apple notes too.

What is your signature drink?

When we opened the Great World City outlet, we introduced an iced espresso with tonic water. The tonic water lends sweetness to our house-blend espresso — perfect for a typical warm day in Singapore. It is light and refreshing, and gives you that much needed mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Quite honestly, I think it could even be mistaken for root beer.

Do you have alternatives for non-coffee drinkers?

While we are still extremely coffee-centric, we also wanted to be more inclusive for those who prefer tea or no caffeine at all.

The genmaicha and seven-spice chai lattes are extremely fragrant and are a great alternative if you have already had a morning coffee.

We also offer hot chocolate made with Grounded Pleasures drinking chocolate from Australia, and a yuzu cooler with soda water — invigorating with all the right citrusy notes to beat the heat on a sweltering hot day.

How many cups of coffee do you have a day?

I try to limit myself to two a day even though it can be tough to resist another cup, especially when I am right behind the bar and craving more.

I usually have a piccolo latte in the morning at about 7.30 am, and another one at about 3pm. I might have an espresso tonic if I want something a little lighter.

Where are your favourite coffee joints around the world?

When my husband and I travel to other countries, we make it a point to visit artisan coffee bars there.

We research new places ahead of our trips and even bring along a Handpresso portable espresso machine and buy fresh grinds when we get to the new city.

Some of our favourites include Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco, The Coffee Collective in Copenhagen, Olive and Oliver at the Surfjack Hotel in Honolulu and Monmouth Coffee Company at the Borough Market in London.

What makes a good cup of coffee?

A good cup of coffee should be well-balanced, strong and smooth, without any need for the addition of sugar. For me, a good cup always delivers on its promise — a great tasting, instantaneous boost to kick-start the day. What's not to love?

What's always in your fridge?

Lots and lots of fruit and vegetables. I also always have a stash of frozen green grapes to snack on, and ice cream. I like Haagen Daz's coffee ice cream, while my husband likes Snickers ice cream. We also enjoy the flavours by home-grown ice creamery Creamier with outlets in Toa Payoh, Tiong Bahru and Gillman Barracks.

What local food do you crave after a trip overseas?

Yong tau foo. I usually go to the stalls in Tiong Bahru as well as Orchard Yong Tau Fu at Cuppage Plaza. I also like fish soup, which we cook at home. We use whatever is fresh and as a rule of thumb when making the stock, we portion one fish head per person so that the soup will be robust and flavourful.

What is one of your favourite childhood food memories?

I love my maternal grandmother's popiah. It brings back fond memories of Sunday lunches during my growing up years when my cousins and I would gather together to learn how to make and roll popiah.

She would come around to each of us and tell us if we were rolling it incorrectly.

We still eat popiah together on special occasions about once a quarter. Her version includes toppings such as crispy seaweed, shredded omelette, garlic chips and other staples such as prawns, peanuts, sweet sauce, minced garlic and chilli.