Coffee is like magic. It slows down time and opens up hearts.
Barista Interview #1: Voon (Chye Seng Huat Hardware)
Stepping into Chye Seng Huat Hardware, one can fully experience the time-slowing illusion of coffee. With its old-school aesthetics and muted colour scheme, this place reminds me of my childhood which I spent at my grandparents’ place. The smell of hot coffee and sweet pastries fill up my nostrils as I scanned the bar for the person I came for today – Voon.
A self-proclaimed coffee nerd
Sporting a short hair-cut and a minimalistic t-shirt, Voon is easily one of the most stylish person in the room.
“I am Voon, I’m from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I have been brewing for Chye Seng Huat for 2 years.”
Voon has been a coffee nerd ever since she started brewing 4 years ago.
After working as a barista in her brother’s café for 2 years, she started craving for a bigger platform for her to explore more about coffee.
“Through working at my brother’s café, I learnt a lot about coffee, brewing, and running an F&B business. However, I got to a point where I wanted more knowledge and experiences about coffee, and a change in environment became necessary.”
The human aspect of serving coffee
When presented with the opportunity to work with Chye Seng Huat Hardware, Voon dived right in. Her experience in both Malaysian and Singaporean coffee scenes have influenced her worldview regarding coffee.
“I like to think that we are not just serving coffee, but we are also serving people. I used to be a coffee geek and only focused on the technical aspect of coffee. Now, I know that more than perfecting the brew, the human emotions that we are presenting to our customers also contribute to the coffee experience.”
Chye Seng Huat Hardware is indeed built to optimize the human aspect of the coffee experience; customers can see and interact with the baristas with its low-levelled 360° bar counter. This space is indeed designed for its dwellers to slow down and communicate.
“Coffee is such a magical conversation-starter, I sometimes see customers from different backgrounds sharing a conversation over the coffee that I make and this is what I love the most about my work.”
Favourite brewing method - V60 Coffee Dripper
When asked about her thoughts on Hario products, Voon cheerfully remarked that the Hario V60 Coffee Dripper is one of her favourite ways to brew coffee.
“The plastic Hario V60 Coffee Dripper is hardy, simple to use, no machines needed, and cleaning is just as easy as throwing away the filter and rinsing. My recipe also consists of up to 40 seconds of wait time, during which I can make another cup of coffee or interact with my customers.”
The flexibility of the V60 Coffee Dripper is indeed perfect for a busy barista.
Voon’s 3-Pour Method V60 Recipe
Voon’s 3-step recipe is an easy-to-remember recipe that produces consistent flavours and reduces the chances of over or under-extraction. This recipe extracts the sweetness of the coffee beans and creates a medium-light body that is extremely drinkable.
- 15g coffee beans – medium grind
- 230g water – 92 °C
- Place the paper filter into the Hario V60 Coffee Dripper and wet it.
- Pour 15 grams of ground coffee into the filter. Pre-infuse the grounds with 40g of water, swirl the coffee dripper gently once or twice, and let it bloom for 40 seconds.
- Pour 90g of water (up to 130g on the scale), in a spiral motion.
- After the second pour has filtered through, pour 100g of water (up to 230g on the scale), in the same spiral motion. Allow the water to drip down. Serve hot.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware
Chye Seng Huat Hardware, a shophouse along Tyrwhitt Road where PPP Coffee resides, is not just a café. Within its compounds, you can find the Roastery, the CSHH Coffee Bar, the Annex and the C-platform.
In the Roastery, green coffees are roasted and packed fresh for the customers. They are then transformed into cups of delicious coffees at CSHH Coffee Bar while customers watch.
In the Annex, you can purchase coffee bags and equipment to brew at home. The C-Platform on the second floor of the compound is a learning space where one can learn more about coffee and how to brew a decent cup.
The beans used for the coffee at Chye Seng Huat Hardware changes seasonally. The best coffees for each season are curated by their roasters so that customers get to experience coffees from all over the world!
I approve of all the coffee items on the menu, but my favourite is the cold-brew, and you should definitely try it too!
Chye Seng Huat Hardware
150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207563
Operating hours: 9 am – 9 pm daily
*Special thanks to Voon, Shi Li and Chye Seng Huat Hardware for facilitating this visit and interview.
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