Chase the wildest dream with the simplest life

We’re living in a world that demands speed. To be recognized as successful, one is expected to achieve things within the shortest span of time, be it wealth, fame, or status. This phenomenon has hit people across the globe, including young people that are freshly out to society. They’re put into a never-ending life race, doing what they’re ‘supposed’ to do and being who they’re ‘expected’ to be. Sadly but true, that’s the new reality.

And while most young people are trying hard to be ahead of the race, there’s this couple who chose to slow down and live at their own pace, focusing on brewing their love for coffee. Eventually, their passion blossomed into a fulfilling career. In 2020, they founded Tyler Coffee Bar, a warm little place that resides in Bangsar’s residential area that provides Latte Art and Hand-brew Coffee workshops for coffee lovers. Over a span of only 2 years, they’ve gained 10,000 followers on Instagram and are now one of the hottest spots for coffee workshops in town. In this featured interview, this young and inspiring couple shares about how they remain true to themselves regardless of society’s standards, their journey of starting Tyler Coffee Bar, and their exclusive sense of ceremony as a couple.

Joeenn: Hi I’m Joeenn and I’m 24 this year. We started the Tyler Coffee Bar business 2 years ago.

Tyler: Hello I’m Tyler and I’m 23 this year. This is my 6th year in coffee making, and I’ve competed in various Latte Art competitions from different states and countries.

Joeenn: It goes back to 2 years ago when we just got together and Tyler was still working as a cafe barista. I would spend some time in the cafe that he was working in as I lose my job due to MCO, and I realize there wasn’t much traffic in the morning. So we spoke to his boss and suggested if we could conduct coffee workshops in the morning and he agreed, that’s how we started. But it was quite tiring for Tyler as he has to juggle between the morning workshops and his work in the afternoon till late at night. 

Tyler: Yes, the routine lasted for 2 months until we came across this cafe nearby that wanted to close their business. And so we contacted the business owner. Initially, we had this idea of taking over the business but after considering our financial status and uneasy situation, the business owner suggested that we could collaborate instead. Just like that, we moved into our second workshop location.

Joeenn: The business owner was interested in investing in Tyler after seeing his past competition experiences and passion for coffee. Besides, the cafe was newly renovated and all the coffee-making equipment was still there, it would be such a waste to just close it down. They offered to lend us the space and equipment to conduct the workshops, while we share the cafe rental by half. If I were to describe how was the feeling of starting this business, I would say that I feel very lucky and we definitely worked hard for it. The lucky part is that if it weren’t because of these two business owners, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Tyler Coffee Bar’s signboard at the entrance, designed with a minimalist portrait sketch of Tyler and Joeenn.

Joeenn: Running a cafe requires you to be there physically for a whole day and I’m not a fan of being caged in one place every day hahaha. What I like about our current business model is that the time flexibility is high, since we’re only open every Friday to Sunday. We can decide where to go and what to do during our rest time.

Tyler: Another reason is that we think running a cafe would change our initial aspiration, it would become earning profit instead of sharing our love and passion for coffee. If you’re running a cafe business with an end goal of earning money, the quality of coffee beans might be something that you’ll need to compromise, as good coffee beans have a higher cost price and you won’t be able to get much profit in return. 

Tyler: I realized that the youngsters who just graduated or stepped into the working world would easily feel anxious and pressured because they would compare themselves to others. In my opinion, everyone has a different family background and standard for life, there’s no need to conform to one that the others expect you to be, like owning a car or a house. What’s important is finding what you love and deep-dive into discovering your own values while doing it.

Small notes at the barside, written ‘I used to think that coffee is bitter and acidic. But ever since I met him, I find that it’s actually sweet.’

Joeenn: As usual, we would buy gifts or flowers for each other during special occasions. Some people might think that buying flowers is a waste of money but to me, it’s needed (if financial status allows). Sometimes we would visit some local stalls or restaurants with good vibes. It’s good enough for us even if it’s just chilling at home with a cup of coffee.

Tyler: I think it is doing what we both love. I didn’t like greens at first but somehow she slowly influenced me, and I like it now. The same goes for her, she didn’t like doing latte art back then but she started practicing it now after seeing me doing it. Yeah, it’s the power of influencing each other with what you like slowly.

Tyler: I was an extremely unconfident person, till a point where I have no courage to get into a relationship. She is my first girlfriend. *smile* The reason why I date her is that she taught me to live more confidently, and she has changed my perspectives on things. If it weren’t for her, I think I am still lost and anxious. Another great thing about being with her is that I can be my truest self, I feel comfortable communicating with her without any fear of her leaving me because of my family background.

Tyler concentrating on creating his Latte Art
The signature Hummingbird Latte Art

Tyler: Aside from the usual latte art workshops, we’ll soon conduct a reservation-based coffee tasting course. We’ll source some distinct coffee beans in season and brew them with different methods so that the participants can have a new taste experience. Stay tuned!

Joeenn: Focus on that one thing you love, go deep and be good at it. Try not to divide your attention to multiple things at a time and expect to master everything. Learning is like filling up a bucket with water, when we’re filling up a bucket with one tap at a time, it will be filled up at the end. But when we need to fill up multiple buckets with only one tap at a time, the bucket will never be filled up. We can’t have too many choices at once, so it’s better to just focus on one thing at a time.

Tyler: Have a sense of direction in life and never force yourself to live according to society’s expectations. If you have yet to find your direction or goals, try to invest your time and money in different things and you’ll eventually find the one that suits you best and you love most.

Would love to explore more about Tyler Coffee Bar? Go check them out on Instagram: @tyler_coffeebar