SINGAPORE - The alluring aroma of coffee was thick in the air as Singapore Coffee Festival opened to the public on Friday (June 10) at the F1 Pit Building.
There was a queue of more than 50 people, who came as early as 10.15am, before the 11am opening time.
Coffee lovers converged for a day of exploration, checking out brews made with beans from countries such as Japan, Indonesia and India. Most of them walked around the booths, sniffing and holding cups of coffee. They also checked out unique coffee products such as nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee and coffee-infused beer.
More than 100 exhibitors, including coffee purveyors, roasters, equipment distributors and cafes are participating in the four-day event, which drew about 1,000 trade visitors on Thursday, the first day of the festival. The festival is organised by Sphere Exhibits, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings, presented by DBS bank and hosted by The Straits Times.
One of the crowd-pullers was Good Coffee Tokyo, which brought in award-winning Japanese baristas from Tokyo, Kyoto and Kumamoto. It showcased beans from Japanese roasters such as Kochere beans from Ethiopia and honey-processed beans from Costa Rica.
Businessman Edward Ng, 26, was impressed by the quality of the brew from the Japanese roasters.
He said: "Their beans are lightly roasted, which bring out the natural flavours of the bean, and the coffee has a clean taste, I am looking to buy some packs of coffee beans home."
Home baristas also took the opportunity to check out brewing techniques, using filter coffee tools such as the Hario V60 and Chemex, and using the Aeropress at the Make Decent Coffee lounge by home-grown coffee purveyor, Chye Seng Huat.
Butler Lee Yong Wen, 24, was drawn by the siphon machine brewing demonstration.
He said: "This brewing methods gives a nicer fragrance and has a nicer texture than espresso, I also hope to learn more about pourover coffee methods and check out coffee trends here."
Another visitor, undergraduate Alexis Liu, 19, said: "I usually use a French press at home, so I am here to find out more about the other filter coffee methods and try out latte art."
Common Man Coffee Roasters also ran a fundamental barista skills workshop to a full house. All of its 21 workshops and seminars for the festival are fully-booked.
Besides learning about coffee, visitors can bring a slice of the coffee action home, with coffee retailers offering an extensive line-up of coffee beans, gadgets and tools for visitors to immerse in their love for coffee at home.
Armed with their favourite cuppa, some visitors also took the opportunity to interact with Straits Times journalists at the ST Reading Session.
Deputy managing editor Fiona Chan and reporters Rachael Boon, Lester Hio, Olivia Ho, Yeo Sam Jo and Charissa Yong talked about their new book, Cafe Sg: A Cafe Lover's Guide To Singapore. They talked about their experiences picking the 50 best-loved and best-hidden cafes and coffee joints across the island.
Visitors also tucked into dishes from more than 60 food and drink booths by cafes such as Hatter Street, Symmetry and The Coastal Settlement. Some of them lounged around beanbags and on hammocks while having lunch.
Polytechnic student Heidi Tan, 19, liked the diverse mix of cafes and bakeries. "It is like attending a cafe convention, which saves me the trouble of hopping from one cafe to another," she said.
Ms Kerri Dunski, 36, a tourist from Australia, gave the thumbs up to the fantastic food line-up.
She said: "It is a well-rounded experience compared to the coffee festivals we have attended in Australia that focus only on coffee. This has a lively street market vibe."
Visitors can look forward to a slew of entertainment options such as movie screenings and performances by home-grown musicians today.
Singer-songwriter Charlie Lim will hit the stage at 4.45pm and indie band Pleasantry will perform at 6pm on Friday.
Movies such as 881 and Singapore Dreaming will be screened at 9pm and 11pm respectively at the outdoor area. These screenings are free and open to the public.
• The Singapore Coffee Festival is at the F1 Pit Building, 1 Republic Boulevard, until Sunday. It is open from 11am to 9pm. Tickets cost $18 a person and $43 a person for VIP tickets, with discounts for DBS and POSB cardholders. Buy tickets at the F1 Pit Building. Go to sgcoffeefestival.com.sg