Get your selfie printed on a cup of coffee at new Haji Lane cafe

Operations manager Yves Zhuang (left) and Mr Eddy Chan (right), director of Avril Cafe, which opened Selfie Coffee in Haji Lane. -- ST PHOTO: DANIEL NEO
Operations manager Yves Zhuang (left) and Mr Eddy Chan (right), director of Avril Cafe, which opened Selfie Coffee in Haji Lane. -- ST PHOTO: DANIEL NEO
SundayLife! reporter Samantha Goh (above) gets her photo printed on her coffee. -- ST PHOTO: DANIEL NEO
SundayLife! reporter Samantha Goh (above) gets her photo printed on her coffee. -- ST PHOTO: DANIEL NEO

There are selfies, wefies and now, selfies on coffee.

The Selfie Coffee cafe in Haji Lane offers customers a chance to have their photographs printed on a cup of coffee that is topped with whipped cream.

Vegetable oil is used to digitally print the image on the top of the cream using a special machine, which the staff refer to affectionately as "Little Helper".

They would not say how much it costs, only that it is in the five-figure range and the machine is similar to those that print photographs onto cakes.

Selfie Coffee, which opened on May 2, is owned by Avril Cafe. Its first store opened in Penang last November and since then, three other outlets have opened in Johor and Kuala Lumpur.

Mr Eddy Chan, 45, director of Avril Cafe, says the selfie coffee idea came after seeing how photos are usually printed only on hard surfaces such as containers.

"The selfie coffee idea is an expansion of the possibilities of selfie technology," he says.

"Since so many people today are in the habit of taking selfies, this is another way to make use of the photos they take and create more memories."

Selfie drinks cost $7.50 for a hot one, $8.50 for a cold one and $8.90 for a frappe.

After ordering their drink, customers are invited to take an on-the-spot selfie with the cafe's smart devices, after which the photos are uploaded to the printing machine.

The selected photo is then "printed" onto the whipped cream layer to create an exact colour copy.

Props such as oversized sunglasses and flowers are also provided for the shoots, and shy customers can even take their photos in private behind a black curtain.

Alternatively, they can also bring their own pictures. Some unusual requests have included anniversary portraits, pictures of celebrities and idols and even photos of pets.

To achieve the ideal selfie effect, the drink should be cold so that the photo can last longer, up to about an hour, compared to five minutes on hot ones.

Aside from the selfie coffee, the cafe, which can seat about 30 people, also sells pies and cakes to complement the drinks.

Ms Yves Zhuang, 29, operations manager of Selfie Coffee, says: "If the cafe's only speciality were the selfie on the coffee, many people would come only once for the novelty.

"We try to make whatever we offer a trademark, something that customers would come back a second time for."

The chain plans to develop more drink options for non-coffee lovers, such as Horlicks and Milo, as well as more foods that the selfie technology can be used on.

It sells about 80 cups of selfie coffees a day on weekdays and about 150 cups on weekends.

Ms Zhuang estimates that the cafe has sold 2,000 cups of selfie drinks so far.

First-time customer, student Poon Yum Xuan, 19, says she was sceptical at first about the coffee.

"Other than the novelty of having your selfie on a drink, it's actually quite a large cup, not to mention the coffee tastes good as well," she says.

"I came to see the selfie, but I might return again for the coffee."

samgohwy@sph.com.sg