grounded pleasures

The Singapore Coffee Festival 2017

Baristas and cafes of Singapore came together for a weekend in August, in the expanse of the Marina Bay Cruise Center; two levels of artisanal coffee, tea and bites.

It was about conscious consumption, choices, grounded pleasures, wildlife friendly beans, a barter market and an aeropress championship among other things … with balmy winds off both decks and a deep sunset slanting colour through the rigs in the west.

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For those of you who couldn’t make it – and by all accounts it was a crowded, smashing success – here is a round-up to ensure that coffee lovers make this pilgrimage next year, for this festival seems certain to become a feature on Singapore’s annual event calendar !

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To start with, there were cold brews, nitro coffees, coffees in a cone, white magic, Panama Geisha pour overs, filter coffees, coffee alternatives, noir drinking chocolate, original cocktails, sodas and flower teas.

Some with names from the febrile imagination of a Harry Potter afficianado – Unicorn Tears, Merlion’s Blood, Gold Brew. (This is coffee ?)

For traditionalists, neophytes and epicures there was coffee and more.

Beans from Nagoya Japan, Panama, New Zealand and Peru. Fairtrade coffee, carbon-neutral certified. 24K gold double-plated filters. Expresso machines, signature chocolate drinks, new and experimental flavours (with health benefits), specialty coffees and teas, guilt-free baked nuts mixes, granolas and butters, pastries, coffee capsules, micro-financed coffee beans, signature blends, single origin Ninety Plus specialty coffee beans, single drip coffees, small-batch handcrafted gelatos, a Rent-a-Roaster service, a coffee based mobile app, pies, cashews, beauty products, french cuisine, mead (citrus blossom honey, water and yeast made with a Kenyan Gathaithi expresso blend), Portugese spring water, natural coffee body scrubs, eco-friendly takeaway coffees, farmer-to-bar chocolates, cold brew coffees, bottled coffees, ready-to-drink coffee beverages served either ‘still’ or with ‘nitro’ and made with a kegerator, a roast-on-demand coffee service, chai with ginger and honey, marmalades, chia seed fruit juice drinks and coffee with Auchentoshan Whisky, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan-friendly cocoa beans (with the wonderfully complex flavours of fruit, nuts, spices and caramel) and organic panela.

Social enterprises supporting disadvantaged communities through coffee showcased their businesses.

Owa Coffee from Java, grown in the natural shade of the rain forests, contributing to the preservation of the habitat of the silver gibbons. A Wildlife Reserves, Singapore initiative.

Disadvantaged women and youth in training as baristas. Farmers assisted with knowledge and tools to produce high-quality Indonesian cocoa, snack boxes for Singapore’s underprivileged, marginalised and needy, ex-offenders being trained in French and modern European cuisine, aboriginal villagers owning their own organic farms, handcrafted beauty products and teas from urban farming …

Cafes and coffee habits, pairings, odes to coffee (I once dated a Starbucks girl), stories and competitions, free samples, barista milk, canned milk and latte art designs, local kopi, organic treats, coffee conversations … and books.

Certainly, nothing goes as well with coffee as a good book !

So, as one of the sponsors asked, can a cup of coffee change the world ?

Yes, apparently, through exposure, curiosity, passion, comittment, new practices and old values.

A freshly brewed cup of joe … that warm cup of coffee in your hands could be your start.

Words to live by.

Pix by A A Thomas

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