Whether you are a coffee connoisseur or casual coffee drinker, the inaugural Singapore Coffee Festival has a bonanza of activities, workshops, talks and retail options to pique your interest in the vibrant coffee culture here.
More than 100 exhibitors, including coffee purveyors, bean suppliers, equipment distributors and cafes, will be participating in the event from Thursday to Sunday. The first day is for trade only and the festival is open to the public from Friday to Sunday.
The festival is organised by Sphere Exhibits, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings, presented by DBS and hosted by The Straits Times. Sphere Exhibits hopes to attract 10,000 to 15,000 visitors over the four days.
Spanning two levels and with 55,000 sq ft of space at the F1 Pit Building, the festival offers an extensive line-up of coffee products and plenty of opportunities to learn about coffee, from tasting the nuances of varieties of coffee beans from around the world to the impact of water on brewing coffee. There will be workshops, barista challenge showcases and coffeetasting sessions too.
Common Man Coffee Roasters will be setting up its CMCR Lab, which will offer 21 workshops and seminars to help coffee enthusiasts brew a perfect cup of joe at home. Topics include latte art techniques and coffee-brewing methods. Most of the workshops are free for festivalgoers.
Home-grown coffee purveyor Papa Palheta will have a Make Decent Coffee Lounge to educate visitors on brewing methods ranging from the siphon coffee brewer to pourover coffee tools.
Chat over coffee in the ST Reading Room
Have burning questions on everyday topics from politics and property to food and travel?
Get them answered at the askST sessions in the ST Reading Room (Level 3, Food & Drinks Zone). These are an extension of The Straits Times' reader engagement programme launched in January. Participants can get seasoned correspondents and columnists' insights and views on a broad range of topics and engage in a cosy chat over a cup of coffee.
The columnists will be taking questions from the audience. Readers can send their questions to email@example.com
1pm: DBS chat - Assistant Money Editor Yasmine Yahya moderates a panel on How Businesses Can Collaborate With Social Enterprises For Success
2pm: DBS chat - Food Correspondent Rebecca Lynne Tan moderates a panel on Starting A Cafe And F&B Trends
Noon: Deputy Managing Editor Fiona Chan and reporters Rachael Boon, Lester Hio, Olivia Ho, Yeo Sam Jo and Charissa Yong talk about their new book, Cafe Sg: A Cafe Lover's Guide To Singapore (inset)
1pm: Film Correspondent John Lui on Getting Serious About Funny Writing
2pm: Senior education correspondent Sandra Davie on College Or Uncollege: Is A Degree Still Worth it?
3pm: Digital reporter Lisabel Ting on The Hottest Gadgets To Own This Year
4pm: Money editor Lee Su Shyan on Taking The Plunge Into Property
5pm: Cartoonists Lee Chee Chew and Miel Prudencio Jr give a live demonstration of creating cartoons
1pm: Opinion editor Chua Mui Hoong on Covering Politics In Singapore
2pm: Deputy editor Ignatius Low on Giving Up The Administrative Service To Become A Journalist
3pm: Senior correspondent Rohit Brijnath on The Sporting Life
4pm: Senior Correspondent Goh Eng Yeow talks to DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta about life, work and money 5pm: Travel writer Lee Siew Hua on Vacationing Like A Pro
Noon: Editor-At-Large Han Fook Kwang talks about his book Singapore In Transition: Hope, Anxiety And Question Marks
1pm: Senior writer Wong Kim Hoh on From Samsengs To Towkays, with three guests from his It Changed My Life interview series - Mr Harold Lee, managing director of courier service XDel; Mr Edwin Tan, chef-owner of Japanese restaurant Yoyogi in The Grandstand; and Mr Bert Tan, film investor and owner of Bert Lighting House 3pm: Food critic Wong Ah Yoke on Which Local Restaurants Truly Deserve Three Michelin Stars
4pm: Senior transport correspondent Christopher Tan on Is It Time To Buy A Car?
5pm: Photojournalists Neo Xiaobin and Alphonsus Chern on Taking The Best #nofilter Shots
6pm: Deputy editor Ignatius Low talks to DBS managing director and head of group strategic marketing and communications Karen Ngui about socially conscious living
Riding on the popularity of Instagram-worthy latte art, McCafe, McDonald's coffeehouse-style chain, will have its baristas create latte topped with intricate designs and visitors can also try their hand at latte art at its booth.
Visitors can also get insights into the coffee world at the #LiveBettr Lab by Bettr Barista Coffee Academy and DBS. The lab will hold panel forums with industry experts on topics such as socially conscious coffee consumption and how women are shaping the coffee industry.
Armed with their favourite cup of joe, visitors can also interact with Straits Times columnists at the ST Reading Room sessions as they discuss a wide range of topics, from property to politics.
Ms Goh Wee Wang, general manager (consumer) of Sphere Exhibits, believes it is timely to organise a coffee-centric festival.
She says: "While drinking kopi is a morning ritual for most Singaporeans, we are seeing a gradual shift in taste towards speciality coffee among younger consumers. This is an opportune moment to bring together coffee lovers and practitioners so they can share their knowledge and experience of making these delicious brews."
There will also be more than 10 speciality coffee purveyors from Indonesia, India and Japan. They include Good Coffee Tokyo, which will be introducing Japanese-style coffee, and Tanamera Coffee Indonesia, which is showcasing its award-winning beans.
Casual coffee drinkers can check out more than 60 food and drink booths by cafes such as Hatter Street, Symmetry and The Coastal Settlement. They will offer innovative brunch dishes and cold-brew coffee.
There will also be entertainment options, including performances by home-grown musicians such as Charlie Lim and iNCH as well as outdoor movie screenings.
Ms Goh hopes festival visitors can have a better appreciation for the "hard work, precision and heart" that go into brewing a cup of coffee, and plans to make the festival an annual affair.
"We hope visitors will walk out of the festival feeling a bit more inspired and, of course, caffeinated."
Sit down to eight courses curated by ST food editor
From innovative coffee-inspired brunch fare to pretty confections, it is food galore at the festival, which will feature more than 60 food and drink booths.
Instead of queueing at the booths, visitors can get an eclectic selection of snacks, main courses, desserts and beverages served to them at a sit-down meal.
The eight-course meal, called ST, Coffee & Company, is curated by The Straits Times' food editor Tan Hsueh Yun. She will also host the two-hour meals and chat with diners.
There will be one session each at the ST Reading Room on Saturday and June 12 from 1.30pm to 3.30pm, with a different menu on each day.
Diners can tuck into dishes such as espresso-infused crackled pork from Curbside Cafe, Clash Of The Potato, Mayo & Scallions by Hungry Heroes, Watermelon Strawberry Cake by Cream & Custard and Salted Egg Yolk Cream Puff.
They can also sip on Coffee Nut Milk from Hic Juice and coffee or tea from Strangers' Reunion.
Rounding off the meal on a sweet note are selections such as the Ocelot Hebridean Sea Salt Dark Chocolate from Hello Chocolate, and Doffee, a cup of coffee or tea topped with a doughnut from Killiney Kopitiam.
Ms Tan says: "It was tough choosing the menu because I wanted to have everything. The vendors have done a stellar job coming up with interesting bites. So I decided to have two different menus.
"I'm looking forward to chatting with diners over the food and, of course, great coffee. Don't bother queueing, come eat with me."
Each session is priced at $60 a person and is limited to 20 people. For tickets, go to bit.ly/SCFTASTE
Buy award-winning blends and taste pastry from overseas
Besides checking out home-grown roasters and cafes, make time for these overseas vendors making their debut in Singapore.
From Japan comes awardwinning Good Coffee Tokyo (booth: 2B17), which is bringing coffee gadgets and beans such as Kochere beans from Ethiopia, which have lemongrass and jasmine notes, and Kirinyaga beans from Kenya that come with a Mandarin orange-like sweetness (from $15 for 100g of coffee).
Mr Yuji Otsuki, a barista from Good Coffee Tokyo, says: "Japan has many unique roasters and coffee shops, but one has to drink the coffee to understand the complexity the beans possess."
Another Japanese vendor is cosmetics company Shiseido (booth: 3C4), which is bringing in its popular confection arm, Shiseido Parlour. Purchase its brightening skin products (from $85) to get complimentary confections including its Cheesecake, cubes of cream cheese wrapped in sponge cake; and La Ganache, creme fraiche and pastry cream coated with chocolate flakes.
From Indonesia, there is speciality coffee roaster Tanamera Coffee (booth: 2B18), which is part of the Indonesia Coffee Collective. It focuses on roasting Arabica beans grown in the Indonesian highlands, on the fertile slopes of active volcanoes on islands such as Sumatra and Java.
It will sell six types of espresso blends and single-origin coffee beans such as Malabar Natural, which has a robust tropical fruit flavour; and Toraja, which has hints of citrus fruit, roasted peanuts and crisp apple acidity (from $15 for 250g of coffee). Some of its beans have won medals at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo.
Tanamera Coffee's director Ian Criddle says: "We roast green beans from every coffee region of Indonesia, from Sumatra to Flores, which have different and unique characters."
Visitors can also check out Arabica cherry, Robusta parchment and Robusta cherry coffee beans at Vidya Coffee from India (booth: 2B28). Most of its beans are from the Western Ghats mountain range. The rich biodiversity there makes the beans richer.