In case you missed seeing it up close and personal during Great Coffee in Common, here's what you need to know about the Synesso S200!
Read more about why we think this machine is a game-changer here.
Getting up close and personal with different parts of the specialty coffee industry in the Asia region is always an enjoyable, enlightening experience. This, our third year participating at Café Malaysia in Matrade Convention Centre, KL, was no exception, with plenty of new toys, intense competition and great brewing to keep us occupied.
Whilst this time we didn’t have a booth as exhibitors, we channeled our coffee energy towards meeting other amazing people of industry. The coffee community in Malaysia showcases a distinct vision for unconditional quality and execution in green sourcing, roasting, and brewing. Needless to say, there was spectacular coffee to drink.
We took the opportunity to observe the national coffee competitions. We had a couple of our in-house celebrities compete, Larry Lam (Head Barista, CMCR KL) for the Malaysia Barista Championship (MBC) and Jeffrey Tan (Head Barista, 40Hands KL) in the Latte Art Championship (MLAC). Naturally we wanted to show all our support! Many seasoned and talented competitors were bringing great performances to the stage for each category, considering Malaysia has ranked 7th in the World Barista Championship 2017 and 10th in World Latte Art Championship, you can have a feel of the immense standard of competition on a national level.
A big congratulation to all the baristas in their respective categories that displayed excellent showmanship and skill on stage. We wish you the best of luck on the world stage!
Keith Koay – Malaysian Barista Champion
Irvine Kuek – Malaysian Latte Art Champion
Regine Wai – Malaysian Brewers Cup Champion (one of our AeroPress judges last year!)
Our Common Competitors
We’re feeling super proud of our guys and their efforts, Jeffrey ranked in the Top 6 for MLAC and Larry ranked as a semi-finalist in MBC. Competing provides different perspectives to approaching coffee and how we apply it in cafes. Here’s what they both brought to their respective categories:
If you’re in CMCR KL (or the near future 40 Hands KL), be sure to ask Jeffrey if you’re keen to see his pours in action or Larry for his coffee while it’s still on hand! He’ll be low-key serving this coffee off-menu at the CMCR KL outlet, so be sure to come by, ask, and try!
On the last day of the show, Josh and I had a takeover session on the latest Leva espresso machine at the La Marzocco, True Artisan Café booth. Not just a good-looking machine, it was also the 30th unit out of a total 90 units around the world. With that said, we wanted to share some espresso loving with one of our newest limited release Kenyans, Wamuguma AB. New coffee on a new machine seemed appropriate.
The Leva is an eclectic mix of old and new, the feel of a lever will be nostalgic to the experienced baristas and takes some time to become fluent. You’re allowed to choose the amount of brew water for your espresso and adjust a pre infusion. Once all the water has been dispensed, the shot will automatically stop and a “pressure profile guide” is reflected on a screen for you to save and follow in future espressos.
That was our Café Malaysia in a nutshell, a great start to the year!
Last month a few of the CMCR team packed their suitcases, jumped on the first flight to Seoul and headed over to the Café Show 2017 to find out what’s brewing in the Specialty Coffee world, as well as cheer on our national coffee heroes in the World AeroPress and World Barista Champs. Here’s a little run down of their top five and some words from both the Singapore and Malaysia AeroPress National Champs, on their experiences of competition on the national stage.
Number 5 – Coffee & Café Culture in Seoul/South Korea
The coffee culture, expectations and drinking habits in Seoul, and if we can be so bold, South Korea in general are quite different from Singapore, and perhaps from the rest of the world. Whilst corporate giants may have received a warm welcome, it’s the design-forward specialty coffee roasters that are really making the noise here.
Of all the cafes we visited on this trip our favourites followed the roastery, bakery, bar and retail space model – bringing a unique yet homely vibe to our drinking experience. Our faves where – Fritz, Mr Holms, Momos Café, Coffee Loves Him, Centre Coffee and Onions.We may also have eaten our body weigh in pastries…every day, been hitting the treadmill pretty hard since we got back to make up for this trip!
Number 4 – Korean Food
Ok so not strictly coffee related but we couldn’t talk about our trip without mentioning the food!! Street food is a big part of Korean life – how sad would life be without an Eomuk Fish Cake stick? Or a steaming pot of topoki? And no trip to Korea would be complete without a plate of Korean Fried Chicken washed down with HITE. We could go on but it would make you too hungry…
Number 3 – New Gear & Beans
There was a great turn out to this year’s expo, with many local and international brands putting on such a good show with exciting booths and the launch of new products.
***Coffee geek moment alert*** we got to touch the Nuova Simonelli Mythos 2, La Marzocco LEVA machine (those levers!), the BKON Craft brewer and what really got us going, the Giesen W140A Roaster. This bad boy is able to roast 140kgs per batch – what a whopper! It was also a great to see Specialty Coffee in action with so many producers and farmers from different regions here to promote their green beans.
One of our particular favourites was the Panama booth where we met one of the Lamastus Family who produced our delicious El Burro and Luito Geisha beans. Get some before it’s all gone, we’re nearly down to the last bag.
Number 2 – World Barista Champs
One of the main highlights of the expo was the World Barista Championships. Over 60 National Barista champs from around the world battled it out, pouring their way to the coveted title. After a nail biting competition, Dale Harris of Hasbean Coffee, UK was crowned king.
It was a great atmosphere and the guys from Ediya Coffee put on a great show, as did the MCs who made the event thrilling and full of excitement. It wasn’t Singapore’s year unfortunately, but there is always next!
Number 1 – World AeroPress Champs
Two words…FREE BEER! But really, it was amazing to see the nations come together over coffee – as cliché as that sounds! It was a tight battle, with our local talents Hui Zhen Tan (Malaysian Champ) and Jerald Teng (Singapore Champ) putting up a good fight, but ultimately it was the Brits’ night with a wildcard entry for Paulina Miczka who pressed her way to gold. Loved the jumper Paulina!
And, that’s our wrap-up. We brought back many memories, widened stomachs and suitcases stuffed full amazing coffee which we’ll be drinking for weeks – Seoul you did a great job!
We’ll leave the last words to the two AreoPress Champs we took on the road with us, as they tell us what their biggest learning was from the whole experience:
Hui Zhen Tan: If there's one thing to take away from the experience, it is definitely that success does not come without hard work. I wished that I had practiced more before the competition! However, I can say with confidence that this competition is one of the best things that's ever happened in 2017. I’m a relatively inexperienced barista but I was encouraged to take the leap of faith and take part in the Nationals for Malaysia; it has made me realise that you should believe in yourself and don't be afraid to do things out of your comfort zone :D
Jerald Teng: The biggest learning I’ve taken away from this experience is to see how I’ve grown as a coffee maker, it’s a real eye opening for me.
Get involved with our new series of workshops hosted by local Singapore artists, designers and businesses. All workshops are inclusive of a welcome drink with snack and then enjoy 20% off the regular menu at Grounded by CMCR!
Everyday Flowers by The Assembly Hall
Saturday 4th November, 9.30am - 11.30am
|In this fun workshop hosted by Kate Gallagher (Floweret Co) you'll learn tips and tricks of flower buying in Singapore; including which flowers to buy, how to take care of them so they last and how to simply style them in a vase that you will take home with you.|
Styling Your Jewels by Lucy & Mui
Sunday 12th November, 10am - 1pm
Free to join, just turn up!
Fine jewellery designer Lucy & Mui will be holding a pop up store with their beautiful minimalist style incorporating precious stones in modern silhouettes. The team will be on hand to answer all your style questions and show you how to stack and layer your jewels.
Saturday 18th November, 10.00am - 1pm
Fully booked but email directly for future dates!
|Learn how to make your own personalised pressed flower candle from Singapore creators Hush Candle using natural soy wax and therapeutic essential oils. All products are 100% natural with no chemicals or synthetics. You will also get to make a floral hand-tie whilst your candle cures!|
Character Design & Colouring by Tinee Dino
Saturday 25th November, 2pm - 3.30pm
Fully booked but DM on IG for future dates!
Join Singapore based illustrator and creator of Tinee Dino, Rachel, as she takes you through the basics of character design, storytelling and colouring. From finding inspiration to layering vibrant colours, this class will improve your drawing skills and awaken your imagination!
Coffee Flavour Discovery by CMCR Saturday 2nd December, 3pm - 4.30pm
|Learn the basics of applying taste and olfactory skills to a coffee tasting in this fun and interactive workshop by the CMCR Academy. This is an abridged version of our Sensory Skills & Coffee Knowledge class offered in the Academy.|
Making Coffee Grounds Fertiliser
Saturday 9th December, 10am - 11.30am
|Learn the basics of setting up an edible garden and how you can turn your used coffee grounds into fertiliser. In this session we'll discuss suitable things to grow in our climate, soil & pest control so you can start growing your own at home!|
Surprising Treats by CMCR
Saturday 16th December, 4pm - 5.30pm
To book email firstname.lastname@example.org
|If you are a lover of all things sweet come join us for some eye opening treats that are decadent and healthy at the same time. All equipment and ingredients included and, the best part about it, you can eat what you make at the end of the class. Indulgence without the guilt!|