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Trade visitors get to learn from cafe experts in exclusive first look

The Singapore Coffee Festival 2017 kicks off today at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre exclusively for trade members and the media.

Industry insiders have been lined up to share their knowledge in the morning, while sustainability will be the focus of talks in the afternoon.

The Singapore Coffee Festival is now into its second year, and is organised by The Straits Times and presented by DBS Bank. It will feature about 90 exhibitors, including coffee purveyors, equipment distributors and cafes, as well as workshops and live entertainment.

Each day has been divided into two sessions: Brunch from 10am to 3.30pm, and sundown from 4.30pm to 10pm. Each session costs $22, or $18 for DBS and POSB cardholders and ST subscribers.

Today's line-up for trade visitors kicks off at 11am with a talk titled What's Behind A Great Coffee by Mr Matthew McLauchlan, general manager of Common Man Coffee Roasters. He will explore some of the latest equipment on the market, how it adds efficiency and cost-effectiveness to an operation, and how it improves the overall quality of a coffee offering.

Mr Adrian Khong, founder of Jewel Coffee, will share his expertise on how to grow a coffee chain, while Mr Leon Foo, managing director of Papa Palheta, will give tips on how to take one's cafe to the next level.

Later in the day, panellists will discuss how coffee could become the world's first sustainable agricultural product, as well as how to implement sustainable practices in cafes to encourage eco-friendliness and cost savings.

This will be the second time that Common Man Coffee Roasters is taking part in the Singapore Coffee Festival. It will have a booth as well as host a series of workshops, including one titled How To Make The Perfect Flat White. All its workshops have already been taken up.

Mr McLauchlan said: "I hope that there is a higher concentration of trade visitors to this year's event. I know it has been tough times recently, for the retail industry in general, but I am looking to the positives and seeing an upturn in the near future. My hope is that seeing a larger trade turnout will confirm this."

On the remaining days of the festival, aside from having lots to drink and eat, the public can look forward to more than 15 workshops on topics such as brewing and coffee appreciation; non-coffee-related workshops on leather crafting, for instance; talks with entrepreneurs and social enterprise founders as well as ST editors and correspondents; fireworks, live music performances, yoga sessions and more.

STAYING POSITIVE

I know it has been tough times recently, for the retail industry in general, but I am looking to the positives and seeing an upturn in the near future. My hope is that seeing a larger trade turnout will confirm this.

MR MATTHEW MCLAUCHLAN of Common Man Coffee Roasters, which has joined the festival for the second time.

Mr McLauchlan said: "There is plenty to taste, smell, play with and, most importantly, learn at this year's Coffee Festival, and I am confident that many a mind will be blown."