"I didn't know coffee could have such fruity notes" + other coffee revelations

Updated: Mar 25

I was supposed to start a new section about coffee drinkers and their coffee habits, so I could learn more about which coffee to try next (as well as get to know the person recommending it).

(I think I should’ve said “I’m starting a new section…” because I‘m already doing it.)

While I’m thinking of a category title, here’s the first instalment. (Thanks, Trustin!) 😊


“I dream of becoming a barista”

Trustin Neo, digital learning designer, Singapore

Trustin at Temasek Shophouse

Trustin's recommendations

• “A Midsummer Night Dream“ from Hook Coffee (I wrote about them here)

• From Foreword Coffee: China’s Yunnan coffee beans, the Timeless Yuanyang, and the Laos Xam Tai (I also wrote about them here) 😊

• Perk Coffee’s Brazil Cerrado

How long have you been a coffee drinker?

Trustin: “Before specialty: 10 years of Kopi Gao and 3-in-1 instant coffee. After specialty: 1+ years.”

What coffee did you have today?

“This morning I brewed a long black with freshly roasted Java Malabar beans from Foreword Coffee using a Wacaco portable Nanopresso.”

Can you remember the first time you had coffee?

“The first time that I tasted real specialty coffee was when I brewed my first pour-over coffee using a V60 Filter. It was ‘A Midsummer Night Dream’ from Hook Coffee. I didn't know coffee could have such fruity notes!”

It's from Guatemala

How have your tastes and preferences for coffee changed over the years?

“Since learning about specialty coffee and the flavour wheel, I’ve been training my palate to taste and identify more varieties of coffee from different regions and their processing methods. I am constantly looking out for coffees with unique flavour notes, which led me to discover China’s Yunnan coffee bean – it carries tea-like tasting notes. This was when I found Foreword Coffee, the only café in Singapore that imports beans from Yunnan.”

Are there certain rules and habits you follow with your coffee?

“I believe in grinding fresh before brewing.”

What does a “coffee break” mean to you?

“To me, it’s my quiet time, a mindfulness ritual that I perform to be in the present, focusing on the brewing process, the aromas and the flavours.”

What’s the farthest your love for coffee has taken you?

“I just started a family; my baby girl is currently five months old. But I already have plans to bring her to a coffee farm stay in Yunnan province to celebrate her 5th birthday!

“As for coffee region, thanks to Perk Coffee, I got to taste the amazing beans of Brazil Cerrado.”

In what ways have you seen coffee make a difference?

“In June of 2019, I was looking for opportunities to study more about coffee and its operations. That’s when I learnt about Foreword Coffee’s special education (SPED) workshop. I signed up to be part of a committee and got involved in planning the curriculum. Very exciting!”

What lessons and tips struck you the most?

“As a learning designer, I volunteered to review the curriculum to gain perspective of the learning objectives and to help enhance the learning outcome of the workshop. I also joined the volunteers in facilitating the coffee brewing.

“During one session, a student was not cooperating. He was not able to verbally articulate it, but the teacher noticed that he was hand-signing about being afraid of the hot water. He was carefully guided to pour over the hot water. The smiles from both him and the volunteer were reassuring.”

Love coffee and helping people? Join the volunteers and staff of Foreword Coffee

What are your favourite coffees and coffee hangouts?

“Many. On a hot day, I enjoy an iced Timeless Yuanyang (from Foreword Coffee). The Earl Grey ice ball makes the drink so magical!

“One coffee that was distinctly tastier for me was Laos Xam Tai (Natural). It was bright and fruity, with notes of strawberries! I only discovered it thanks to a public cupping session conducted by Foreword Coffee.

“I used to café hop, but right now I prefer brewing my own coffee at home. Whenever I have some ‘me’ time, I head to Temasek Shophouse, which is off the beaten track and away from the crowd, and enjoy my afternoon at the Foreword Coffee outlet hidden within the historical building. Every visit is unique because there will always be new exhibits to discover, held by the sustainability organisations.”

That‘s it for my first coffee chat. So... would you like more coffee suggestions from other coffee drinkers? ☕️ Drop me a note. 😊

(By the way, I also want to do tea and bubble tea categories. If you know someone I can feature...)

Check out Trustin’s coffee-sharing session on Kalpha: “Better latte than never”.