Split times, bigger venue for coffee fest

ST food critic Wong Ah Yoke and SPH's Fiona Chan at last year's Singapore Coffee Festival.
ST food critic Wong Ah Yoke and SPH's Fiona Chan at last year's Singapore Coffee Festival.ST FILE PHOTO

S'pore Coffee Festival organisers plan to cut overcrowding, queues this year for visitors

This year, the organisers of the Singapore Coffee Festival hope to make things a lot more comfortable for festival-goers.

At the inaugural festival last year at the F1 Pit Building, most people turned up on Saturday between noon and 2pm, resulting in overcrowding and long queues for coffee and food. "So this year, to make the flow of traffic smoother, and to create a more pleasant experience for all festival-goers, we decided to split each day into two sessions - brunch and sundown," said Ms Fiona Chan, head of group strategy and analytics at Singapore Press Holdings.

The brunch session will be from 10am to 3.30pm and the sundown session from 4.30pm to 10pm.

The Singapore Coffee Festival 2017 runs from Thursday to Sunday at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre. Organised by The Straits Times and presented by DBS Bank, it will feature about 90 exhibitors, including coffee purveyors, equipment distributors and cafes as well as workshops and live entertainment. The first day of the festival has been set aside for trade and media. Each session costs $22, or $18 for DBS and POSB cardholders and ST subscribers.

Festival-goers will be given wristbands indicating which session they have signed up for. They will have to leave once that session is over.

Ms Chan said that the split sessions "give exhibitors a bit of breathing room in the middle of the day and allows them to restock as necessary for the second session, so they don't run out of supplies too early".

So how do you choose which session to go to? Ms Chan said: "The brunch sessions are really all about coffee and the family. We have lots of engaging workshops lined up on home brewing and coffee appreciation as well as family-friendly arts activities relating to coffee. Our Life editor Tan Hsueh Yun is also going to be offering delicious eight-course menus curating the best picks of the festival."

The sundown session is meant to be "more relaxed and chilled out". Festival-goers can kick back at Sunset Wharf, an oceanfront al fresco dining and entertainment area with views of the skyline. It will also be the venue for an outdoor barbecue and live music from home-grown artists Inch Chua, Tim De Cotta, Ffion, Jawn Chan, Lewis Loh and indie rock group Stopgap. Sunrise Wharf will be the venue for the fireworks displays on Friday and Saturday presented by Mapletree Investments.

Latte art on a flat white at Bettr Barista, which will be offering a cup of coffee for free with four stamps collected at the festival as part of DBS Bank's Live Kind passport.

The breathtaking sea views and space - 11,500 sq m compared with 7,000 sq m last year - convinced Ms Chan and her team to hold the festival at Marina Bay Cruise Centre.

Vendors and festival activities will be spread over two levels in coffee-themed zones such as Brew, Americano and Cappuccino.

The Brew zone will also feature Straits Times Lounge, where ST editors and correspondents will have casual chats with entrepreneurs and social enterprise founders.

  • SINGAPORE COFFEE FESTIVAL

    WHERE: Marina Bay Cruise Centre, 61 Marina Coastal Drive

    WHEN: Aug 3 (for trade and media only, register at www.sgcoffeefestival.com); two sessions daily from Aug 4 to 6, 10am to 3.30pm and 4.30pm to 10pm

    ADMISSION: $22, $18 (DBS and POSB cardholders and ST subscribers)

    INFO: Go to www.sgcoffeefestival.com

Presenter DBS Bank's lounge can also be found there. Called Live Kind by DBS, it will house The Good Market, presented by Asia for Good by DBS Foundation, where eight social enterprises will showcase a range of organic coffee, sustainably sourced chocolate, healthy snacks and all-natural skincare products. Some of these social enterprises will be conducting free workshops such as healthy snack-making at The Social Ground, also part of DBS' lounge.

Zone Espresso on Level 2 will be the venue for morning yoga sessions on Saturday and Sunday. There will be non-coffee related workshops on flat lay photography and fragrance-making. At Barter Market on Saturday, vendors will exchange their products for anything but cash. The ST Wine booth will showcase wines from established merchants such as Grape Palate.

Ms Chan said that the venue is easily accessible: "The nearest MRT station is just a five-minute walk away, there's a bus that comes directly to the venue and we also have Mobikes stationed at a few points, which makes it even more convenient to get there."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2017, with the headline 'Split times, bigger venue for coffee fest'. Print Edition | Subscribe