Sometimes, we hear stories that are so similar to our own, that we can’t help but smile. During the Malaysian leg of our trip, numerous pictures and recommendations lead us to an old printing complex in Kuala Lumpur in our search for great coffee shops. Despite it being a peculiar place to find a coffee shop, it seemed as though the people of the city were well aware of its presence within the complex.
Printing complexes are something my family and I hold close to our hearts. My grandfather was a publisher and had a printing facility of his own right behind his house. My mother and her siblings often spent their days playing on the publishing room floor as children, so coming here felt like revisiting a place of her childhood.
From the outside, it was easy to believe that the structure that housed Pulp was once a place where newspapers, magazines, and books were made. The structure kept the beautiful architecture of the old printing company with its sloped roof and silhouette, the interior however, had a more modern feel with chic wooden counters and sleek equipment.
Behind the baristas’ counter was a room called C-Platform that was filled with espresso machines, grinders, cups, kettles, and everything else you could possibly need to brew the perfect cup of coffee. It was coffee enthusiast’s paradise, and was also where Pulp held coffee classes for curious beginners and seasoned connoisseurs alike.
Despite the crowd, we managed to order a latte, a bottle of cold brew, and a square of carrot cake before seating ourselves at an old paper-cutting machine (with its blade removed of course). My mother was overjoyed to see the way it had been creatively recycled into a table where Pulp showcased their numerous bags of coffee beans and blends such as their citrusy and nutty Terra Firma, pecan-tasting Nuts+Bolts, and their chocolaty Throwback blend.
“Oh, you should see this machine in action! It could slice a stack of paper this thick!” my mother gleefully exclaimed while holding her hands apart.
To get a better understanding of Pulp, I approached Stephanie, who despite being busy, kindly told me the story behind the popular coffee shop. The story began when Art Printing Works sought to revitalize their old printing complex. They caught the eye of Singaporean coffee company Papa Palheta that had come to Malaysia to answer the country’s demand for quality coffee and coffee equipment.
The idea behind the name stemmed from the thought that paper and coffee weren’t all that different. Paper starts off life as wooden pulp before becoming paper as we know it, whilst coffee has to be de-pulped in order to extract the seeds for further processing. Thus, the old cutting-room was named Pulp by Papa Palheta, in honor of the parallels between paper and coffee. I love a good story, and theirs was just that.
Perhaps that’s why Pulp resonated so much with us. Seeing the way a place of my mother’s childhood had been beautifully redone and made accessible again was a testament to what can be done with a little imagination. We left with smiles on our faces from a combination of the great coffee, service, and the great story we just heard. If you’re ever in Kuala Lumpur, make sure you pay them a visit, and perhaps you’ll leave with a smile too.
Special thanks to lovely Stephanie and Shawny for being so kind and friendly. Pulp is lucky to have you.