Over 8,000 coffee fans visited the Singapore Coffee Festival on its third day yesterday.
Soon after doors opened at 10am, business began bustling for the more than 90 exhibitors in the 11,500 sq m Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore. Several sold out by the afternoon and had to restock.
Long lines formed for festival favourites The Coffee Academics' coffee in a cone, Antoinette's coffee-roasted pork chop buns, and Gryphon Tea's iced mocktails served on flamingo floats.
Bun-maker Hattendo saw its cream muffins - which are making their debut at the festival - fly off the shelves, selling 1,000 by 3pm and restocking 500 for the evening session. "The crowd today just keeps coming," said Hattendo Singapore head chef January Liang, 31.
Mr Casey Thomas Blanche, 38, manager of the coffee roastery at Oriole Coffee + Bar, said: "Everything's been very positive. We've been selling a lot of coffee beans, and have had a lot of enquiries from hotels and outlets that are looking for suppliers. It's a great place to network with other businesses."
The event, which is still open to the public today, is organised by The Straits Times (ST) and presented by DBS Bank.
SINGAPORE COFFEE FESTIVAL
WHERE: Marina Bay Cruise Centre, 61, Marina Coastal Drive
WHEN: Today, 10am to 3.30pm and 4.30pm to 10pm
ADMISSION: $22, $18 (DBS and POSB cardholders, ST subscribers). Festival-goers will be given wristbands indicating the session they have bought tickets for. They have to leave once that session is over.
INFO: Go to www.sgcoffeefestival.com
Despite the size of the crowd, visitors said they were not troubled by space constraints. Mr Fraser Brailsford, 44, who works in insurance and was visiting the festival with his family, said: "It's good to have everything in one place to sample, rather than travelling everywhere to try the different kinds of coffee. "
Auditor Ronald Goonting, 27, who drinks three espressos a day, appreciated the inclusion of more obscure coffee brands. "There are a few well-known names, but many that I have not seen or heard of before. I'm looking forward to trying those."
Saturday was packed with a diverse slew of activities, from a morning hatha-yoga class to a lunchtime talk and book signing by Eisner award-winning graphic novelist Sonny Liew. Foodies got to try an eight-course omakase experience hosted by ST Life editor and veteran food writer Tan Hsueh Yun, which was sold out.
At the cashless Barter Market, people traded calligraphy for coffee beans as 24 vendors cajoled passers-by into exchanging an eclectic assortment of goods and services with them.
• 10.30am: Vinyasa yoga (Level 2 Mezzanine)
Pure Yoga conducts a free hour-long Vinyasa yoga session.
• 11am: Coffee with the boss (ST Lounge)
DBS' regional head of group research Timothy Wong talks about his personal investment stories with ST Business editor Lee Su Shyan.
• 12.30pm: Coffee With The Columnists (ST Lounge)
Two of The Straits Times' best-known columnists, Sumiko Tan and Ignatius Low, have a meet-and-greet hosted by senior writer Wong Kim Hoh for their new books, Sundays With Sumiko and Life Is A Mixtape.
• 1-2pm: SWF Pop#20 @ Coffee Fest (Zone Cappuccino)
Add coffee-related words to a poem/prose by writers Felix Cheong and Jennifer Anne Champion, and watch illustrators Dan Wong and James Tan turn them into art. Presented by Singapore Writers Festival.
• 5pm: Leather craft workshop (The Workshop)
Make your own cable organiser and customised cardholder at this 75-minute workshop by The General Company.
It costs $45.
• 6.30-8.30pm: Artistic recycling project (The Workshop)
Watch poets Daryl Lim and Stephanie Chan turn takeaway coffee cups into artistic pieces.
• 6pm onwards: Live music and BBQ (Sunset Wharf)
At the ST Lounge, festival-goers listened avidly to a variety of talks moderated by ST journalists, such as one with Singtel Consumer Singapore chief executive Yuen Kuan Moon.
Mr Yuen, 50, spoke about the notion of "digital quotient", an awareness of how to conduct oneself in the digital arena, which is meant to supplement IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient).
The day was split into two sessions to ease crowd control, with each session receiving more than 4,000 visitors.
Ms Fiona Chan, head of group strategy and analytics at Singapore Press Holdings, said in the afternoon: "We had a great turnout at the brunch session today, and several exhibitors sold out and had to restock. We're looking forward to a fantastic night with the best coffee, food and booze in town, and fireworks to boot."
As the evening wound down, indie singer-songwriters Inch Chua and Tim De Cotta, as well as rock outfit Stopgap, took the stage at Sunset Wharf. At 8.45pm, a crowd gathered at Sunrise Wharf to watch a five-minute firework display.
University student Peony Ang, 23, said: "The fireworks were impressive. It was also well-coordinated with the music."
Engineer Teguh Budiman, 24, said: "The fireworks were really great, it's something new. There's a huge improvement to the whole festival compared with last year, from the location to the vendors. It's a well-packaged experience."
Said Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez: "There were lots of happy faces all round. People sampling coffees with friends, connecting with our journalists, hanging out by the wharf and generally enjoying the weekend. For us at The Straits Times, giving our readers a great experience is what its all about."
•Additional reporting by Lee Si Xuan, Eddino Abdul Hadi and Kenneth Goh