Great Coffee in Common: Darren Farr

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Darren Farr

Chef and Café Owner of The Lokal


How did you get started in the coffee business?

Back in 2013, I saw that there was a niche in the market in Singapore for good quality food to go along with good coffee, which in my opinion - didn't exist during that time. There were plenty of good cafes with good coffee but not many with good food. So I opened The Lokal with that concept in mind.

When and where did you have your first coffee-piphany?

It used to be a necessity for me, when I was doing 2 jobs and always needed the caffeine boost. But I think I truly noticed a difference in good quality coffee when I visited Italy for the first time.

Describe the best setting to enjoy coffee.

It’s 6am at my kitchen counter, before opening up The Lokal for brunch service when it is the calm before the storm.

How do you decide who will be a good barista?

 Somebody who can multitask - by making a good cup of coffee, talking to customers to understand what they want, be able to understand his beans and resources, can calibrate well and have a personality too!  


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Great Coffee in Common: Yuko Nagayama

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Yuko Nagayama, - Freelance Coffee Professional
Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Participated Singapore National Aeropress Championship (2014 and 2016), Japan National Aeropress Championship (2015 and 2016)
, Singapore National Brewers Cup Sensory Judge 2017
, Japan National Brewers Cup Sensory Judge 2017. 

Who influenced you on you coffee journey?

So many people influenced me in coffee and if I talked about them all it will take so many hours! Talking about the most influential people until now are Jia Min and Dennis from Nylon Coffee Roasters.
I admire their strong commitment towards producers and hard work to maintain high quality of coffee and service as many customers, neighbours and industry friends keep coming back to appreciate coffee. Whenever I go Nylon, I always learn something from them.

What is your favourite coffee bean?

Oh, difficult question! Because wherever I go, if I have a  delicious coffee, it becomes my favourite. My recent favorite was an Aeropress brewed Burundi by Passage Coffee that I had at Tokyo Coffee Festival and Ethiopia Nano Challa roasted by Nylon Coffee Roasters. 
Both cups are clean and well balanced, and maintains good flavour even when it cools down.

How do you usually drink your coffee?

I usually do a pourover when I brew at home,  but I like trying different brewing equipment and method. Recently, I have started brewing for my parents as well so I have been using Kalitawave185 or Chemex for bigger portion.

What opportunities has coffee given you?

Friends, Coffee friends, in Singapore and people I have met when travelling overseas, no matter they are professional or home brewers, they are very passionate about coffee and open to share their experiences. I am very encouraged by them participating coffee competitions and events, and even moving onto challenges such as judging, I am really thankful of them.

What has coffee taught you?

You may not believe that I was very shy and introvert character before I start learning coffee. However, once I was attracted by the charm of coffee, I start chatting with people at cafe and that experience was pretty comfortable. The more I visited coffee places, the more I communicated sometimes from myself (maybe the friendliness of coffee people already helps!). I am quite surprised this positive move and the way to express myself has given through my coffee experience.

Do you think Singapore is swiftly evolving into a specialty coffee?

Definitely yes. I see people visit coffee places in town or overseas through SNS more often. Although only a few courses were available when I start learning about coffee but now there are more workshops and classes at world-standard levels available around town, many shops start roasting in house and also become more interactive with customers to introduce their coffee. This year, Singapore baristas have made a great achievement for world competition, which is very wonderful news!

Describe the best setting to enjoy coffee.

I enjoy chocolate together with coffee, my favourite is Black Thunder, from Japan. When I was working at very stressful environment, drinking french-pressed coffee together with having Black Thunder chocolate was my blissful moment. I also like to drink coffee at home in the evening time when the next day is off day or the coffee relaxing at the cafe after the dinner or drinking alcohol.

In your opinion, what makes a good coffee?

Good health, good people and happy environment.
Good health, because you can enjoy and appreciate more flavours, Good people, because you can share with your appreciation together and happy environment, because happier is better!


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