Singapore may have over 1000 trendy hipster cafes and more are sprouting up every other day, but it still makes my day when I chance upon cafes that are serious about their coffee.
I love those cafes where owners and customers talk about coffee with a twinkle in their eyes, a radiant glow on the cheerful faces and their voices brimming with infectious enthusiasm for caffeine.
Many thanks to my friend Hannah of Hannah Chia's Food Trail blog who introduced me to Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee.
Tiong Hoe is a true coffee lovers' hangout - the talk at Tiong Hoe is more geeky than trendy.
I was privileged to meet with Mr Tan Tiong Ho, the owner and founder of Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee.
In 1960, Mr Tan started his life time devotion to coffee at age 17 as an apprentice at the Dutch coffee company Mirandolle Voute & Co. Just three years later, after learning the ropes at age 20, Mr Tan struck out on his own and founded Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee.
Since the beginning, Tiong Hoe has insisted on roasting and trading only in 100% pure coffee. Despite the trend since the 1970s, when due to the pressure of high coffee prices, coffee roasters started to bulk up their coffees by mixing in maize, sugar and margarine into their blends, Mr Tan persevered by dealing only in unadulterated pure coffee.
Tiong Hoe's commitment to pure coffee remains to this day and is well respected by the coffee community.
Juliana is the barista at Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee. Barista Juliana is one of only 14 Licensed Q graders in Singapore.
Actually, I am just a cappuccino person i.e. coffee novice. Then, Hannah wanted me to upgrade to hand brewed poured coffee ;-D
Juliana graciously poured us a Brazilian.
When I smelled the freshly ground coffee beans straight from the grinder, it had an intense nutty, chocolaty fragrance.
Oh, so lovely.
The freshly poured coffee had a sweet aroma. The coffee had good round body, and the round acidity was balanced by sweetness with nutty and chocolaty notes.
I learnt a bit more about coffee today ;-D
We next had a hand brewed Congo.
The Congo also had a chocolaty aroma. A full body with nice balance of citrusy and chocolaty flavours.
Love it too.
Juliana making espresso and cappuccino.
Juliana does everything lovingly with intense focus ;-D
Freshly brewed cappuccino on it's way to another coffee enthusiast.
At the moment while Tiong Hoe blends, roasts, wholesale, supply and retails coffee beans; it is not yet a cafe.
Coffee enthusiasts come in to enjoy coffee tasting and coffee talk, and drops a tip in this little wooden tub as they leave. It runs on an honour system; the staff does not even look at how much the visitor puts into the tub.
Meanwhile, Tiong Hoe has started the process of acquiring the permits for full fledged cafe operations.
Whether you are a coffee novice or geek, I think you will enjoy the friendly atmosphere and likeminded sharing at Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee.
Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee is located in a HDB shoplot at Blk 170, Stirling Road, Singapore.
Restaurant name: Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee
Address: Blk 170 Stirling Road #01-1133, Singapore
Hours: 8:30am to 5:30pm (Closed on Sunday)
No pork, no lard, no Halal cert
Date visited: 4 Feb 2015
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