Insight: Coffee stains

By Hoh Yu Li

On a coffee journey with my friend Chloe, I hunted down specialty coffee joints, tasted countless brews of coffee and met several passionate baristas in Australia, which ignited the caffeine fiend in me and the desire to learn all about its making.

Why Perth? Well, Perth has a robust and sophisticated coffee culture where small characteristic coffee joints selling specialty coffee can be found. There are also few retail chains and no sign of Starbucks anywhere I see.

There, I learnt much about coffee, from the origins of coffee to its preparation methods, and to tasting coffee too. I also gained insights into what a barista does and how passion drives people to pursue their dreams.


Simple as black and white.

Espresso is made by running boiling water through finely ground coffee under pressurized conditions. It is the essence of almost all coffee-based drinks such as cappuccino, latte and flat white. These milk- based coffee beverages are essentially a single shot espresso with varying levels of milk and froth. 


Grinder quality is arguably one of the most important factors in preparing a good espresso.  


Espresso extraction, also known as “pulling a shot”, is the length of time and amount of hot water allowed through finely ground coffee. This crucial step greatly determines the quality of the shot.


Two thousand, four hundred miles across the Pacific Ocean, Chloe shares her passion for coffee with Jeremy Hulsdunk, Western Australia’s Latte Art champion, who heads the Barista Academy in Perth.


"Free pouring", a style of Latte Art, is all about controlling the rate of the pour.


“A good cup of coffee never fails to perk up my day. The Latte, a commonly ordered drink, is well-balanced, adding tinge of warmth to the drinker. The espresso constitutes an essential base and the milk, carefully frothed to the optimal temperature – where the sweetness cuts through the espresso.” – says Chloe.

It is the art of brewing and tasting a good cup of coffee that these baristas dedicate themselves to. The love for making coffee is the passion of spreading the appreciation of authentic specialty coffee and seeing people enjoying good coffee. While such specialty coffee houses are few in Singapore, I am heartened to find that the coffee culture is slowly growing with a spike in the number of Australian-inspired cafes in town; with time being de rigueur. 


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