Like many people I know, I spend long hours reading up on coffee and often feeling the urge to bolt out of Malaysia and see what’s on offer in other coffee loving countries. And after recently conquering Melbourne I decided to set my sights on Singapore. That’s because our neighbours down south have become a very sophisticated lot when it comes to their ability to distinguish between good and even better coffee.
It aptly illustrates how Singapore has grown from savouring Kopi-o at heartland coffee shops, to coffee chains in the 1990s and eventually having awesome specialty coffee boutiques pop-up. I’m also glad the Island State is playing host to several notable coffee appreciation classes and that’s exactly how I kick-started my trip:
My first day of class was a full day session that’s organised by the Singapore arm of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. It was a little overwhelming at first, but I’m having a blast! I’m putting in the ‘ground’ work – pun intended. The first was of course to become acclimated with how coffee was produced in farms and the logistical flow and painstaking process single origins are sourced from mills before they make it to a reputable roaster and eventually consumers.
I believe all-comers who catch a glimpse of the procedures will grow to appreciate their daily cup of coffee even more. There’s a once-over on procurement of the all the necessary essentials for any coffee lover including the handling and purchase of a roasting machine. The classroom format is suitable in meritocratic Singapore, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they handed out buku latihans for us to take notes.
Nevertheless, they did hand out an Arabica Green Coffee Handbook and we trained to identify defective green beans. Sorting took me almost two hours as I laboured over every broken, withered and damaged bean to ensure that the eventual batch that is sent to be roasted for coffee drinkers. All I can say is that it’s a whole lot of work for a pittance in beans that eventually passes scrutiny. It’s a very thorough grading process that sifts through every flaw to make sure that every single bean is up to scratch. And yes, I appreciate every cup of coffee even more! A lot of effort goes into the process of making a simple cup of drinkable coffee. Onwards!