For the past two years, civil servant Tan Chee Fui has had to do without his daily caffeine fix at times. His three-year-old automatic espresso machine had been acting up and refusing to start up every few months.
That prompted him to participate in the Singapore Coffee Festival Coffee Machine Giveaway. The 44-year-old was named the winner of the contest in a lucky draw on May 23 and he takes home a barista set-up that is worth more than $7,000. It comprises an ACS Vesuvius espresso machine sponsored by cafe and coffee purveyor Grind Coffee and two Ilsa milk pitchers from coffee equipment shop Espressocups.
The timing of his win could not be better, as he was planning to replace his current machine.
He says: "It is such an attractive prize as I can now make a better cup of coffee for my wife and design it with latte art." Previously, he was unable to do latte art as the coffee brewed by his machine produced only a thin layer of milk foam.
He and his wife, a 44-year-old housewife, drink four cups of cappuccino between the two of them daily. The couple have a nine-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter.
With his spanking new semi-automatic machine, he looks forward to experiencing a diverse spectrum of flavours from the coffee beans and having better control over the quality of his coffee.
The dual boiler machine is equipped with five pre-set pressure profiles, which can be varied across seven stages to brew a well-rounded cup.
BOOK IT / SINGAPORE COFFEE FESTIVAL
WHERE: F1 Pit Building, 1 Republic Boulevard
WHEN: Thursday to Sunday, 11am to 9pm (Thursday is for media and trade by registration)
ADMISSION: $18, $44 (group of four, same-day entry), $43 (VIP). Up to $5 off for DBS/POSB cardholders, $28 (three-day pass for DBS/POSB cardholders). Available from Sistic (go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555)
His current machine gives him a "standardised brew" with its pre-set brewing temperature and pressure levels for making six types of coffee beverages such as an espresso and a latte macchiato. He says: "I hope to play around with the functions of my new machine to extract a wider range of coffee flavours, such as getting more sweetness and getting a thinner texture of coffee."
Mr Tan used to frequent coffee shops for his morning perk-me-up, but a holiday to Perth, Australia, more than three years ago sparked his love for cappuccino. He still remembers the cup that he enjoyed at a cafe in Fremantle.
"The coffee was creamy and flavourful, with a smooth milk foam that was designed nicely with latte art," he says. "I got so hooked on the flavour of that coffee that I decided to buy a coffee machine when I returned from the trip."
The inaugural Singapore Coffee Festival, which celebrates Singapore's vibrant coffee culture, will be held from Thursday to Sunday at the F1 Pit Building. The first day is for trade only and the festival is open to the public from Friday. It is organised by Sphere Exhibits, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings, presented by DBS and hosted by The Straits Times.
There will be more than 100 exhibitors at the event for visitors to learn about barista skills, local kopi heritage, and buy coffee gadgets and beans.
Mr Tan, who is planning to attend the festival, is looking forward to trying his hand at latte art there by taking a class. He says: "I want to upgrade the quality of my coffee brew and replicate the cafe experience at home."