About 20,000 coffee fiends got their fix and more at the second edition of the Singapore Coffee Festival, which ended yesterday.
The four-day event featured more than 90 exhibitors including coffee purveyors, equipment distributors and cafes, as well as workshops, talks and live entertainment at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre.
Exhibitors and visitors who attended last year's festival praised this year's edition for its more spacious layout with 11,500 sq m spread over two floors, and greater variety of products on offer. Last year's event was held at the F1 Pit Building.
The event was organised by The Straits Times and presented by DBS Bank.
Said Mr Warren Fernandez, ST editor and editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/ Malay/Tamil Media group: "It has been a great weekend, filled with some good coffee, food, music and conversation for all. We promised that this year's event would be bigger and better, and most people I met agreed it was. So, all in, a good outcome for us at The Straits Times, and every reason for us to look forward to next year."
Many vendors reported brisk business at the weekend, with festival favourites such as The Coffee Academics' Coffee In A Cone, cream muffins by bun-maker Hattendo and coffee-roasted pork chop buns by patisserie-restaurant chain Antoinette drawing long queues.
WHAT THE VENDORS SAY
It is our first year participating, but we decided to join as we have a unique product, the Coffee In A Cone. There is good exposure for brands here. Some people who had not heard of us actually just got to know about us through this platform. They have been asking about our location, and we have been giving out a lot of name cards. The exposure here is really good, and it doesn't matter if you are a large or a small brand.
MS NICOLE NG, 26, of The Coffee Academics marketing and business development division.
Business has been very good, it is quite exciting, people actually ask a lot of questions about coffee. Compared with where we are from in New Zealand, there is a lot more interaction between the customers and the baristas; people are genuinely interested about the different types of coffee.
MR JOOP VERBEEK, 52, owner of IncaFé.
Compared with last year, this year's premises are much better, the venue is a lot bigger, customers have more space to enjoy the show, and the outdoor areas are very happening.
MR KEITH YEE, 28, a barista at Common Man Coffee Roasters.
WHAT THE FESTIVAL-GOERS SAY
I like coffee. I don't drink it every day, but I like to try the coffee at different places, so this event is great for me. I get to visit the different cafes and sample their coffee, see if there is anything unique.
MR RITESH GOENKA, 39, a banker.
There are a lot of local establishments such as Lorgan & Sons and Grounded Pleasures, so there is a lot of support for local businesses here, which is great.
MR MUHD SHAFIE, 32, who works in flight operations.
Hattendo was left with just 100 cream muffins after yesterday's brunch session, and had made about $3,000 in sales a day, said Hattendo Singapore chief executive Daisuke Ishioka.
"We prepared more than 1,000 every day, and every day it has sold out. We are selling more than we expected to," he said.
Splitting each day into two sessions - brunch and sundown - helped with crowd control and gave vendors time to replenish stocks.
Antoinette's pork chop buns, created specially for the festival, proved so popular that they will be added as a weekend menu item at its restaurants soon, said its sales and marketing manager, who gave her name only as Ms Wong.
A repeat participant at the coffee festival, Antoinette has seen a doubling in sales this year, with up to 2,000 buns sold over the four days.
Festival-goers also packed the ST Lounge to listen to a variety of talks featuring, among others, corporate bigwigs such as DBS regional head of group research Timothy Wong and Singtel Consumer Singapore chief executive Yuen Kuan Moon.
Readers also had a chance yesterday to meet two of ST's best-known columnists, Ms Sumiko Tan and Mr Ignatius Low, who both recently published new books - Sundays With Sumiko and Life Is A Mixtape.
Other notable meet-and-greets included a lunchtime talk and book signing by Eisner award-winning graphic novelist Sonny Liew and dining sessions hosted by ST Life editor and veteran food writer Tan Hsueh Yun, whose cookbook Hunger Management sold out at the ST Press booth yesterday.
A Barter Market, live music and fireworks displays at Sunrise Wharf on Friday and Saturday were among other highlights of the festival, which also hosted the 2017 Singapore AeroPress Championship by Common Man Coffee Roasters on Friday.
Ms Fiona Chan, head of group strategy and analytics at Singapore Press Holdings, said: "By any measure, the event has been a huge success, most of all because of the thousands of visitors who keep telling us what a good time they are having.
"We also really want to thank all our hard-working and talented exhibitors, many of whom have repeatedly sold out their offerings and are already asking us about next year's festival."
Marketing manager Daniel Lim, a self-professed coffee snob, said he was blown away by the selection of coffee and food on offer.
"Everything I have had so far has been really good... It is also a lot less cramped than last year, which makes it more enjoyable," said Mr Lim, 23.
IT engineer Juhi Dubey, 34, said her first visit to the Singapore Coffee Festival yesterday will not be her last.
"I love coffee, so this has been a wonderful experience. I have discovered cafes that I had not heard of before. I have had five cups already," she said.