SINGAPORE - The Singapore Coffee Festival hit its stride as Saturday (Aug 5) morning saw the weekend crowd streaming in to get their coffee fix.
The second edition of the four-day event, which is organised by The Straits Times and presented by DBS Bank, entered its second public day at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore.
Soon after doors opened at 10am, business was bustling for the 90 exhibitors in the 11,500 sq m space.
Common Man Coffee Roasters barista Keith Yee, 28, said: "Compared to last year, this year's premises are much better. Customers have more space to enjoy the show and the outdoor areas are very happening, we had our AeroPress competition there yesterday."
"We decided to join Singapore Coffee Festival again this year as this is a place where there's a lot of cafes showcasing different types of coffee and it brings out Singapore's coffee culture."
Civil servant Ludovic Francois, 35, said he was looking forward to trying out some Japanese coffees.
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, ST subscribers)
INFO: Go to www.sgcoffeefestival.com
"I was at last year's festival, which was very crowded, but this is a lot more spacious and hopefully it stays like that throughout the day."
Dominic Soon, 35, who works in finance, said: "I like coffee, and this is a great opportunity to taste many different coffees in a single setting."
Festival-goers packed the Straits Times lounge to listen to talks moderated by ST journalists. In the morning, senior tech correspondent Irene Tham discussed digital literacy for a younger generation with Singtel Consumer Singapore chief executive Yuen Kuan Moon, 50.
Mr Yuen, 50, floated the idea of "digital quotient", which is meant to supplement IQ (intellectual quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient), and the need to work with parents to educate young people about issues such as cyberbullying and the safe use of social media.
Housewife Y. P. Tee, 57, said the session was very interesting. "It's good for parents to know there is help out there for them and their children when it comes to issues like game addiction or social media addiction," said the mother of two.
In the afternoon, housing reporter Rachel Au-Yong moderated a panel featuring young professionals who also have flourishing businesses or enterprises on the side.
These included Ms Rachael Leong, 29, founder of jewellery business Lucy and Mui; Mr Declan Ee, 34, who runs online furniture store Castlery; and Joshua Ip, 35, of non-profit literary organisation Sing Lit Station.
Said Ms Leong: "I would like more women to know that the side hustle is possible. Passion, and the belief that jewellery can change someone's life, is what drives me. It's not easy to make money in fashion and only in the past few years have (consumers) become more amenable to buying local labels."
About 4,000 coffee fans turned up for the brunch session from 10am to 3.30pm.
The sundown session, which started at 4.30pm, is proving to be equally as popular. One and half hours after the doors re-opened, about 2,500 coffee fans had filled up the venue, with more streaming in by the minute.
At 6pm, all the parking lots had already been taken up. Those making their way down for the evening activities, which includes a fireworks display and live performances by home-grown artists, are advised to take public transport. Those driving can park at nearby places like Suntec City, Raffles City, UOB Plaza or Marina Bay and take the train the red line down to Marina South Pier.
Ms Fiona Chan, head of group strategy and analytics at Singapore Press Holdings, said: "We had a great turnout at the brunch session today, and several exhibitors sold out and had to restock. Judging from the visitor numbers in the first hour alone, the sundown session looks to be at least as popular. We're looking forward to a fantastic night with the best coffee, food and booze in town, and fireworks to boot."
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. There was one part where it felt like it was spamming sparks, everything coming out at one go. It was also well-coordinated with the music. I thought it was going to be simple but it wasn’t.”
Engineer Teguh Budiman, 24, said: “The fireworks were really great, it’s something new. There’s a huge improvement to the whole festival compared to last year, from the location to the vendors. It’s a well packaged experience.”
Each festival day is split into two sessions - brunch from 10am to 3.30pm and sundown from 4.30 to 10pm.
Festival-goers will be given wristbands indicating the session they have bought tickets for. They have to leave once that session is over.
Brunch sessions are coffee- focused, with lots of workshops on home brewing and coffee appreciation as well as family-friendly activities.
The sundown session is meant to be more relaxed with an outdoor barbecue, live music and fireworks.