Brew 9: Turning a home into a cafe and sanctuary in troubled times

July 31, 2020

When Mirshal Lourdusamy opened a modest coffee bar on the porch of her family’s terrace house in January 2020, she couldn’t have predicted that staying at home would soon become the world’s mantra for evading a viral pandemic.

Mirshal has nonetheless seen her business, Brew 9, blossom in Kota Kemuning. She welcomes up to 30 customers daily through the gates of her residence and into a calm garden setting.

“Since we're a home cafe, our customers who come here are from around the neighbourhood," Mirshal says. "It's like coming into someone's home. It has a different feel compared to going to a public space, where you might be worried about issues like cleanliness. When you’re walking into someone’s home, there’s a sense of familiarity."

For Mirshal, her address is now a sanctuary for herself, her family and her customers, posing unique challenges for maintaining a safe and healthy environment in what is both a home and a workplace.

Mirshal's original vision for Brew 9 was born out of the spirit of togetherness. She sought to open her doors the way smaller communities have long done - anyone is welcome to drop by for a meal, to sit a spell, to talk about their troubles or what they're thankful for.

When the health crisis first emerged, she was naturally concerned for her parents who live with her. Her father is recently retired, while her mother has been a kindergarten teacher throughout Mirshal's life. Realising they were in the high-risk age group, precautions were taken, including curbing contact between them and customers.

As fears ebbed following the height of the movement control order, Mirshal's parents are now comfortable conversing with customers, while her mother also cooks for them. Brew 9's offerings include speciality coffee, home-baked cakes, and breakfast sets.

"My parents prefer to come into the picture," Mirshal explains. "Our customers don't just have coffee and leave - they tend to talk to us a lot." The conversations span everything from family matters to the education system to maintaining a work-life balance.

The mood might be of neighbours visiting each other, but all health protocols are upheld, from SELangkah's contact tracing to the use of face masks and hand sanitisers, temperature checks to the the physical distancing of tables.

Mirshal is grateful for the regulars who've become part of her life, including residents down the street who pop by every couple of days, reaffirming her decision to start Brew 9.

“You know how our parents lived in villages and estates where everyone knew and took care of each other? They just went to their neighbour’s house and had lunch together, I love that community life."

Brew 9 

18, Jalan Anggerik Eria 31/103a, Kota Kemuning, 40460 Shah Alam, Selangor. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 8am-7pm. Tel: 016-447-1844

Brew 9 is one of nearly 250 restaurants and retailers on our online store for vouchers and subscriptions. Shop at eatdrinkkl.com/store

Images in this post are courtesy of Brew 9. Photos of customers were taken in January this year.

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