Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Making the Perfect Cuppa!

Wake up and smell the coffee!!!

I just have to have my cuppa in the mornings... and afternoons... I average about 3 cups a day. While I do love the traditional kopi at the hawker centre (yes, complete with condense milk!), I quite enjoy the whole romance of the espresso bar as well.

And today I was thrilled to be able to chat with a couple of baristas (my kind of people) about pulling the perfect shot of espresso. This is ahead of the Singapore National Barista Competition 2010, which runs from this Thursday through Saturday, and will see 33 baristas pit their skills against each other for the chance to represent Singapore in the annual World Barista Competition.

And one of my guests has won this title twice (2007 & 2008), representing Singapore in the World Barista Competition in Atlanta, USA. In fact, he did our nation proud by placing 21st internationally!

His name is John Ting, and he's currently Head Barista at Oriole Cafe & Bar. It was clear to me that this young man is driven by passion. The way he talks about coffee..... not only does he know so much, he makes me want to go out and grab my cuppa... like now! *LOL*

We also had 2 participants of this year's competition joining us: Mohd Aslam bin Kamsan and Lynette Huang. Aslam is a Product Development Specialist Beverage (F&B) with Spinelli Coffee Company, and been 7 years in the industry, while Lynette is a barista at Wild Honey.

Lynette started her journey back in 2000 with Starbucks Coffee, then took a 2 year hiatus to pursue a diploma in design. But hey, she's back with a vengeance! "... to your first love," I tease her.

Passion & Coffee: [clockwise from left] Aslam, Pam, John, Victor, Lynette.

It was also a pleasure for me to meet Victor Mah, President of the Singapore Coffee Association. In fact, I got a text from my good friend Su that my coffee connoisseur guest is her neighbour and she didn't even know he was President of SCA! That's how humble he is. *grin*

And he's such a colourful & knowledgeable character. I totally enjoyed chatting with him, and I learnt so much from him too -- about the history of the barista profession, as well as the SCA which in fact was established back in the 1950s, as an association for coffee traders here. Oh, how it has grown!

Well, as expected, I went out and bought myself a cuppa coffee after! *LOL* It's sad that I can't drink coffee before I go on-air, as it makes my throat a tad raspy. So you will know if I've drunk coffee in the mornings...... if I sound like a toad! *LOL*

Coffee wakes me up, and as my ex-boss from publishing used to say, "You should buy Starbucks stocks!" I used to head into work with a Tall Mocha every morning. Gosh. Some things never change..... I think I take after my mum! *gasp*

Singapore National Barista Competition
25 - 27 Feb
Suntec City Convention Centre
(Rooms 303 & 304)
Admission is FREE.

Catch the finals on Sat 27 Sat, 11am. There's free flow of coffee!

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