Friday, December 15, 2017

Bangkok D3 - Take the boat to Chinatown, Wat Pho, and Kao Shan Rd

Breakfast for the day :)

Since I liked taking the breakfast away and having it in hotel, we had the above for the day :) This time we had ham omelette breakfast set, ham and cheese sandwich, mix of fried chicken and pork, plus guava and pineapple. Oh, not forgetting the fresh orange juice!!! You could get the fresh pressed orange juice in Bangkok easily!!! Sometimes it tasted so sweet until I doubted if they did not add any sugar in it :D

The map for the boat ride - from Sathorn Pier in Bangkok, Thailand

For today we are going to explore Bangkok city through the water, which means we are taking boat as our transport to various places. From Saphan Taksin BTS the Sathorn Pier (Central) is within five minutes walking distance. Once comes out, just follow the signage towards the pier. The "Hop On Hop Off Boat" map above is posted for your info only so that you know at which pier you should stop for the places that you intend to go. But I don't take that tourist boat and pay as mentioned there. Instead, I took the boat that local usually took in their everyday's life. Each ride cost your around THB 15-20 per pax depending on your destination.

Boat ride through Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand

Here let me bring you to Chinatown. It cost THB 20 per ride from Sathorn Pier and stop at Ratchawongse (no. 5). When purchasing your ticket, tell them you want to ride the local boat, not the one for tourist. The ticket should be sold just next to it by different seller.

Our first stop - Ratchawongse - No. 5

When you want to take the boat, just show your ticket to the staff and they will let you know if the upcoming boat is for you to take or not because there are few different boats available. And hold into your ticket (it is small so easy to fly away accidentally) until the staff who works on the boat checking for it.

Chinatown map - Bangkok, Thailand (Pic source: Google.com)

The hustle and bustle Chinatown in Bangkok, Thailand

From the pier, just walk straight along Ratchawong Rd. towards the Chinatown area. You will see lots of wholesale shops there. Usually you have to buy at least 3 pcs to get the better price, and also you can find lots of stuffs sold in your country coming from this place :D Upon reaching towards Yaowarat Rd. you will find many gold shops and it is usually crowded with buyers. So if you want to buy some gold, you can find it here :)

Chinatown in Bangkok - Lots of food and snacks :)

There are many local snack and food seller there. Chinese almanac or calendar, Qi Bao (Chinese traditional dress) for both men and women can also be found there. As for Singaporean, many travel to this area to have Chinese delicacies like shark fin and fish maw soup, abalone soup, etc.

Tried Chinese food at Tang Jai Yoo - Chinatown in Bangkok, Thailand

Before going there, I read reviews from internet on which Chinese restaurant I should visit and try. And I decided to go to Tang Jai Yoo where they sell a nice oyster omelette, prawn roll (with big chunk of prawn in it), and prawn tang hoon (vermicelli). We did not order shark fin and all as we felt that this was good enough and we really found that the food was fresh and delicious, worth the money. We spent THB 920 for the dishes we ordered above. Not forgetting the delicious appetizer - sweet and sour veg pickles - given before our order came :)

The Grand Palace and Wat Pho map from Tha Chang Pier stop no 9 (Pic source: Google.com)

After lunch we continued our journey. We went back to the Ratchawongse pier and took the boat again, this time was to visit Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha).

Visited the Grand Palace 10 years ago :D

Ten years ago I visited the Grand Palace in Bangkok. So this time I did not visit the place anymore. The entry cost THB 500 per pax. If this is your first time to Bangkok, it is a must visit place for you!!! To reach there you can take the boat and stop at Tha Chang Pier (no. 9).

The Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho - Bangkok, Thailand

To reach Wat Pho, you also drop at the same pier. But you need to walk to your right for about 1 km to reach the temple. The ticket cost THB 100 including free a bottle of water. Wat Pho is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Bangkok.

The majestic reclining Buddha statue - Wat Pho - Bangkok, Thailand

The reclining Buddha is 46 m length. Surrounding this, there are many chedis (stupas), including 4 great ones (see the photo below - right bottom).

Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha) - Bangkok, Thailand

"Inside the Ubosot is a gold and crystal three-tiered pedestal topped with a gilded Buddha made of a gold-copper alloy, and over the statue is a nine-tiered umbrella representing the authority of Thailand. The Buddha image, known as Phra Buddha Theva Patimakorn and thought to be from the Ayutthaya period, was moved here by Rama I from Wat Sala Si Na (now called Wat Khuhasawan) in Thonburi. Rama IV later placed some ashes of Rama I under the pedestal of the Buddha image so that the public may pay homage to both Rama I and the Buddha at the same time."  - Source: Wikipedia.org

Phra Ubosot is the main ordination hall used for performing Buddhist rituals and the most sacred building in the complex (the above photo on top left is the Buddha statue inside this hall). Overall, it was such a beautiful place to visit and I was glad that I made it. I wanted to visit this place too ten years ago, but we were cheated by the Tuk Tuk driver after coming out from the Grand Palace and we ended up not having chance to visit. Thank you SB for the good karma :) Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!! :)

Khao San Rd map (Pic source: Google map)
Next I take you to Khao San Rd. It is the center of backpacking in Bangkok, so you can find lots of budget hotel or hostel to stay, western food restaurant to cater the angmoh or farang, roadside sellers selling food, beverage or stuffs, massage place, and so on. To reach the place, take the boat and stop at Phra Arthit (no. 13). You have to walk towards the Rambuttri Alley to find the center area of Khao San Rd.

Khao San Rd - Bangkok, Thailand

I remembered visiting this place 10 years ago just to have a good and cheap Thai massage and facial there. Although the price was not that cheap anymore, they did have quality and experienced masseuse though. If you have enough time, after having such a long day, you can take another massage in this Shewa Spa (again, I read the review before going in and found the massage was good).

Varieties of food from Kao Shan Rd night market - Bangkok, Thailand

By the time massage has over, the sky would have turned dark and the roadside food sellers would have started operating. It's time to eat!!! :) Just the street outside Swensen's you can find lots of food stalls with table and chairs for you to sit. We had Pad Thai, papaya salad, spicy Mama, and tried the glutinous rice sausage. After that I bought my favorite Banana Roti as a dessert plus Thai milk tea to quench our thirst.

Ram Buttri alley at night - Bangkok, Thailand

After having your stomach full, walk along the Ram Buttri alley. There are many stalls selling things and restaurants on both sides of the road. You can have a good walk there before going back to hotel. Fyi, the Phra Arthit pier only opened until 7 pm. It is good to visit this area at night. So you can take taxi back to your hotel or get Grab or Uber instead.

Selfie with Tuk Tuk or three wheel taxi in Bangkok, Thailand :)

So, that will be the itinerary for day 3 of your visit. This way, you can taste another type of Bangkok main transport and visited few places in one day. In next post I will suggest you what other places you can visit during your stay there. Stay tune!!! :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bangkok D2 - Pratunam area and Talad Neon Night Market

Still in my sleeping clothes, buying the Thai Ice Tea for breakfast :D - Soi Silom 5, Bangkok

One thing why I love staying at the Heritage Hotel at Silom is because there are local market, food and beverage stalls, and 7-eleven convenient store at nearby area. Since it is located at CBD area, they sell lots of breakfast items in the morning.

The Heritage Bangkok Hotel location (Pic source: Google map)

It was just few minutes walk and you could reach a small alley where you could buy your variety of breakfast items.

Our breakfast for the day :)

Omelette with minced pork and rice was one of my favorites plus the mixture of fried chicken and pork cutlet / skin. They fried it freshly every morning. Cut fruits were cheap and they had lots of varieties. It was good vitamin booster for the day!!! They also had many shops selling hot and cold beverages. In any case, you were really pampered with so many choices and the best thing was the stalls were different every day. They seemed like moving from one place to another everyday (not all stalls though).

SuperRich (green color one) near Chit Lom BTS - Bangkok, Thailand

When you have filled your tummy with food, you are ready to leave the hotel and explore!!! If you don't bring enough Thai Baht with you, worry not!!! There is a place that I can recommend you to go to exchange your currency.

SuperRich (green building) Thailand best rate at Pratunam area - Bangkok, Thailand

Stop at Chit Lom BTS, walk through the connection bridge towards Big C Supercenter. You can go down the bridge after passing the green Big C building. As shown at the map above, follow the road and find the SuperRich money changer. There are two SuperRich though - the orange and green color one. I checked both places and found that the green one offered the best rate. You can also check the rate online here to decide if the rate is good enough or not. So far I found it better to change there than in Singapore or other money changer in Bangkok.

Go Ang Kaomunkai chicken rice (pink color) at Pratunam - Bangkok, Thailand

Once done, you can try famous Hainanese chicken rice from the nearby area. There are two well-known shops selling chicken rice - Go Ang Kaomunkai (pink color one) and Kuang Heng (green color one). If you read the review, the pink color one is more famous and have longer queue.

Kuang Heng chicken rice (green color) - Bangkok, Thailand

I tried both places. Both places sell the rice with steamed chicken. However, at Kuang Heng, they also sell the deep fried chicken cutlet and you can order both at one plate. The taste was similar with what we had in Singapore except that they came with additional sauce that made the overall taste different (if you added them in). Although many would prefer eat at Go Ang Kaomunkai, I personally preferred eating at Kuang Heng. It's subjective though. Can't make up your mind??? Try both places lah!!! :)

Chit Lom BTS surrounding area (Pic source: Google map)

So, change money done, lunch done. Next, time to exercise and shopping!!! :D If you see the map above, you can see many places to go around that area. If you like to shop clothing, you have to visit the Platinum Fashion Mall. It is within walking distance from where you have the chicken rice.

Platinum Fashion Mall - Bangkok, Thailand

Platinum Fashion Mall specializes in wholesale fashion clothing and accessories. It is a six-storey building with over thousand shops inside. When you buy more, you can ask for a much better price!!! (at least try to ask how much if you want to buy 2 or 3 pcs so that roughly you know how much it should cost). You can find lots of things there including goods imported from other countries like China, Korea, Japan, etc. Personally, I prefer to shop here compare with at MBK (Ma Boon Khrong) Center. You won't have any difficulty in communicating with Thai there when bargaining as most know basic English.

Yum Saap at Platinum Fashion Mall Level 6 :)

Btw, there are 3 different zones inside the mall and connected to each other. One with lower level (Zone 3), another one with higher level (Zone 1 and 2) where you can find the food court and my favorite Moshi Moshi shop. Don't just browse around 1 building whole day as you can find many more shops at the building next to it. You can find varieties of local and International food at the Platinum Food Center or food court style  (you need to use card when purchasing food/ beverage and get the refund for the unused amount of money), and if not satisfied, they also have few restaurants there. I tried Yum Saap - Thai restaurant - after tired shopping and walking around. We chose light food (som tum zua - papaya salad with crispy pork skin, Mama noodle spicy salad, and delicious crispy morning glory spicy salad). Hmmm... yummyyy!!!!

Big C Supercenter - Bangkok, Thailand

Well, some people can browse this mall for a whole day. But if you still have time and energy, you can continue shopping, but this time, shop for local snack (Pocky exotic flavor coated stick biscuit), Koala's March mango/ banana biscuits - exclusively sold in Thailand, various Tao Kae Noi flavor seaweed, Mama instant noodles, Koh Kae flavor nuts, Thai tea instant or canned, and so on) and you can get it all at the Big C Supercenter!!!

Colorful rows of tent at Talad Neon Night Market - Bangkok, Thailand

Or otherwise, you can continue your walk and experience Talad Neon night market!!! Please take note that it opens only from Thursday to Sunday from 5 pm to 12 am. I was lucky that it opened on the day I visited the place because I did not pay attention to the opening day's and time's information. This place is famous because of its colorful rows of tents (it is very beautiful if you see it from far above the area).

Container alfresco dining - not for rainy day :D Talad Neon - Bangkok, Thailand

You can browse the place row by row. There are many young hipster and entrepreneur selling their trendy design clothes, apparels, even food and beverage over here. Accompanied with music, you can chill yourself with few glasses of beer and some snack at one of the container alfresco dining style restaurant, feel the night breeze, smoke your cigarette, or even have Thai massage. You can even have a nice haircut over there (especially for men) at THB 250 per head.

Enjoyed the local Thai food at Talad Neon Night Market - Bangkok, Thailand

As for me, after such a long day, I just wanted to have a good local Thai food accompanied with Thai local beer. If you go to Thailand for the first time, you may want to try the charcoal grilled fish coated with salt, which is served with chili dip/ sauce. Two of us ordered that with a big pot of Tom Yum soup and medium size of Pad Thai (stir fried Thai rice noodle with vegetable and prawn/ chicken/ tofu) plus a big bottle of Singha beer and paid THB 700 (SGD $29). Oh man!!! We were simply full and satisfied!!! :)

The Erawan Shrine - four face of Brahma God with night parade - Bangkok, Thailand

Since my stomach was full, I decided to walk back all the way to Chit Lom BTS station. I had to take the Skytrain back to hotel anyway. On the way there, we passed by the Erawan Shrine - the four face of Brahma God. There was parade was going on that night, which I could enjoy from the connecting bridge nearby that area.

The crowd in Erawan Shrine during afternoon - Bangkok, Thailand

Actually in the morning, on your way to the SuperRich, you can also stop there to offer flowers, light the candles, and pray using the incensed sticks. Each face of the Brahma God represents different meaning. Front face - career; left face - romance; back face - money, and right face - health. Well, actually each face signifies different virtues, which are kindness, mercy, sympathy, and impartiality. Many believe that whatever wish that you pray to the shrine there will come true. Many Singaporean go there and pray so that they can win 4D or TOTO back home hahaha... :D

Drink more and eat more fruits :)

Well, that is what you can do on your day 2 visit in Bangkok. Since the weather is tropical (only hot and rain), make sure you drink enough water to avoid dehydration, plus buy and eat some fruits from the road side to make sure you have enough vitamin and do not fall sick. Most importantly, have enough rest or sleep at night. 'Til next post!!! :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Bangkok D1 - Airport - Hotel - Silom Complex

Don Mueang International Airport - Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is one of the most favorite destinations for Singaporean. It takes around 2 hours 20 minutes to reach from Singapore and there are few budget airlines available such as: Thai Lion Mentari, Thai AirAsia, Scoots, Jetstar, etc. so that you can travel economically and go for a short visit like 4 days 3 nights. I love traveling in budget so I chose AirAsia for my past visits. It departed from the new Changi Terminal 4 Airport and it landed at DMK (Don Mueang) Airport. Read here for transport from Airport to Bangkok city.

Train journey from DMK Airport to Hua Lamphong Station - Bangkok, Thailand

I was more adventure type and loved trying different methods of local transport. And anyway, I did not bring much luggage from Singapore. So from DMK Airport, I took the local train to reach Hua Lamphong train station that connected me to the MRT station and later on to BTS station. This way, you can save lots of transport money too as the train ticket only cost you THB 5 to 20 only per pax!!! For first timer, don't worry!!! This website gives you the details on how to go. I used it as my guide and went through it successfully!!! :)

MRT and BTS Map - Bangkok, Thailand (Pic source: Google.com)

From Hua Lamphong station, you can take MRT and later on BTS to the nearest station of your destination. Fyi, MRT and BTS are not connected to each other and you have to buy the ticket separately. The machine accepts coins mostly so please prepare coins on your wallet or otherwise you can change it at the station (but sometimes you have to queue and spend some time on it during peak hours).

Hua Lamphong Train Station - Bangkok, Thailand

If you want to have coins, my advise is, when you reach Hua Lamphong train station, go to their toilet. You have to pay THB 3 each and give them your big note so that you can get coins in return :)

The Heritage Hotel at Silom - Bangkok, Thailand (Pic source: Google.com)

There are numerous hotels available and it varies from low to high category. For my recent trips, I stayed at the The Heritage - a three-star hotel located near Chong Nonsi BTS (Bangkok Mass Transit System) or so called Skytrain station. It cost me around SGD $50 per night for 2 pax and I found that the room was big enough to store our luggage and roam around, with bathroom inside, free WiFi and necessary equipment (safety box, hair dryer, toilet amenities, towels, TV, kettle, and so on). The staffs are friendly too. While many have their own favorite hotels though, with better standard and much higher rate at city center area.

Must try dessert - After You at Silom Complex - Bangkok, Thailand

Since I stayed near Silom, I spent the rest of my day surrounding Silom Complex Building area (nearest BTS - Sala Daeng). There, I visited After You Dessert Cafe, a must visit place for dessert lover. We were lucky that they had the special menu - Mango Sticky Rice Kakigori - which tasted very nice. Inside they put the fresh mango and sticky rice. On my second visit - two months later - it was no longer there. So I tried the Thai Tea Kakigori. Inside they put the old school bread and grass jelly, which also blended really well with the Thai tea shaved ice and the cream on top. Hhhhmmm... nyummy!!! It did not come cheap though. It cost about THB 260 per portion (SGD $11). However, worth trying!! :)

Thai Thai Massage - Silom 

After a little break on tummy, we decided to have a Thai massage :D There were many massage places near there. Some put the massage menu with pricing outside to make people easier to decide where to enter. So it depended on your luck though if you could get a good and comfortable massage or not since each masseuse had different skill and strength of massaging. I recommended you to have a two-hour massage since the one-hour massage would seem too rush and not long enough to enjoy :D The two-hour Thai massage cost THB 450 plus THB 50 tips (optional). By the time we finished, the sky had turned dark and our stomach started to growl.

Street food at Silom

Within a ten-minute walking distance, you can find food street sellers (along Saladaeng Rd). Go through each stalls before decide what to buy. On the first left stall they had Wanton noodle (dry and soup). It tasted better if you ate it there (not for takeaway). Since we were hungry, we ordered a bowl each. It was not a big portion so we decided to try other food but take it away and consume it at the hotel :)

Variety of local Thai food from Silom night food seller

Dadaaaa..... For the above photo, the most recommended food to try was everything!!! Hahahaha.... Well, the bowl on right below, it was called Spicy Mama Salad. That was my favorite!!! You can see the seller on the photo before this. Fyi, Mama is the Thai brand instant noodle with Tom Yum flavour. In the salad, they added veg, fish cake, cuttlefish, etc. It tasted sweet, spicy, salty and sour. All mix together :)

Mango salad or papaya salad was another famous appetizer in Thailand. The omelette with rice was a simple yet filling dish. cheap and tasty, a favorite of most Thai people. You have to try the BBQ pork skewers. It tasted sweet and delicious!!! They usually added glutinous rice to be eaten with.

From second visit - food from the same places :)

The above was taken from another visit. Spicy Mama salad was there but we ordered papaya salad this time instead of mango salad. We ordered a bowl of Kway Chap (pork organ soup with rice paper noodle and tofu). There were fried stuffs we ordered too plus deep fried chicken. Oh my!! That was for two persons btw. Hahahaha.... :P The last but not least was Chang Beer - the local Thai beer to accompany this wonderful dinner :) All the food price was quite reasonable and worth it to try!!!

So that was what I had on my first day visit to Bangkok. More will come. So stay tune!!! :)

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Specialty coffee journey :)

Chye Seng Huat Hardware (CSHH)

Well, it is never too old to learn something new in life! In fact lifelong learning is applicable to everyone and what you learn can be anything that interest you. As for me, I found the specialty coffee interest in less than 2 months ago when my cousin brought her parents and myself to experience another level of coffee brewed products at Chye Seng Huat Hardware (CSHH).

The Roastery at CSHH (Pic source: CSHH website)

C-Platform Island Bar at CSHH (Pic source: CSHH website)

The Annex retail shop - CSHH Singapore

There, I experienced visiting the cafe that houses the Roastery, Coffee Bar, and C-platform, giving a unique experience to see how coffee was being roasted and prepared, plus the Annex coffee retail therapy shop where you could find different types of coffee products, accessories, and equipment.

"My mother told me to choose my coffee wisely" - CSHH

As per advised above, we tried 3 different types of specialty coffee there.

Latte - CSHH

1. Latte - the common drink that people usually order (or otherwise Cappuccino) - at SGD $5.50 per cup. The taste, foam texture and decoration was very good although it did not offer much significant thing compare with other types of coffee we ordered.

Cold Brew Black - CSHH

2. The Cold Brew (bottled) - Black at SGD $7 per bottle. Looked more like bottled cough syrup, I found this rather unique as they prepared and sold it readily over the counter and brewed it daily. And the taste was so much fruity and nice. It was not like the bitter coffee that you would usually have in your mind when it regarded to coffee.

Nitro coffee on tap from CSHH - Anyone??? ;)

3. Cold Brew Nitro Black Matter (coffee on tap) at SGD $7 per glass.

Cold Brew Nitro on Tap from CSHH

And this was how it looked like. Does it "WOW" you by its look??? And with the way how it was being produced (by using Nitrogen), it looked very much like beer on tap, wasn't it??

I was feeling overwhelmingly impressive when tried the last two items that we ordered that day. Like I mentioned earlier, the bottled cold brew tasted so fruity. I could not believe that it was coffee. It was resembling very much like fruity tea.

I found the price they charged was fine as it offered good coffee plus the unique taste and experience. Only that the location was a little bit hard to reach (we came by taxi that day), but the visit was definitely worth it.

Ombe Kofie in Pluit - Jakarta, Indonesia (Pic source: Manual Jakarta)

Then, about two weeks ago when I went back to my hometown in Jakarta, I finally visited Ombe Kofie - a small cafe located not too far away from where I stayed, very cosy, tidy, clean, and I felt very homey.

Jason Leo - the man behind the Ombe Kofie (Pic source: Ombe Kofie Instagram)

I'd seen the photos taken by my high school friends who visited this place very often, and heard a lot about it. It was just that in the beginning I was not really understand why people loved going there.

Regular White with complimentary Kue Rintak (Bangka's specialty) and nuts from Ombe Kofie

My knowledge about specialty coffee on my first visit there was totally zero. So I found that a cup of Regular White coffee cost at SGD $4.5 was pretty expensive for a living standard of average Indonesian. But to be honest, I fell in love with the cosy feeling the place had.

Homey feeling blended nicely with my sleeping clothes :P - Ombe Kofie Pluit, Jakarta

At that point of time I was enjoying the decor very much. And it made me thinking, why wouldn't I create one place like this? You did not have to spend much to have such decor - just wooden furniture, peranakan style tiles, indoor plants, comfy pillows and some sofa. But you need good and workable coffee machine and its accessories (which does not come cheap), plus someone who knew how to make a good coffee. Hahaha... So after visiting the two places above, I was thinking of learning how to prepare the specialty coffee when I came back to Singapore.

Main waiting area at Bettr Barista Coffee Academy

I searched online the WSQ (Workforce Skill Qualification) course related to coffee and I found one called WSQ Specialty Coffee Course from Bettr Barista. I chose the WSQ course because I'd received a letter earlier on from the Workfare Singapore that I was eligible for 95% subsidy for any WTS-eligible training courses, which valid only until 31 Dec 2017. And as Singaporean above 25 years old, I was given SGD $500 training grant yearly from the Skill Future Credit. The grant had be given since January 2016 to encourage individual ownership of skill development and lifelong learning. For this course, after the 95% subsidy and $500 grant, basically I paid nothing. And I was available for the training period given for that course. So, why not???

Nice coffee and banana cake for the morning break - Bettr Barista Coffee Academy

So I finally attended the 2-day classes plus one hour practical exam held on the third day. Oh my!!! I felt very grateful attending this course because I have learned so much about the specialty coffee. Although I learned hospitality industry for my diploma, the lesson regarding the specialty coffee was not exist during that period of time. What we learned was more on the commercial coffee (those regular coffee served in restaurant after having meals, where we only had to press the preset buttons on the coffee machine - no calibration required, no coffee bean grinding - only coffee powder was used, and so on).

Part of the notes content - Bettr Barista Coffee Academy

In Bettr Barista Coffee Academy I learned many basic things about coffee. On day 1 we learned more about theory starting from the history of coffee, coffee cherry, harvesting, processing, roast profile, brewing, coffee characteristics, elements of brewing, how to brew coffee with different coffee methods, how to store coffee, and so on.

Steeping / Full Immersion brewing method using Clever - Bettr Barista Coffee Academy

How training was conducted inside the class - Bettr Barista Coffee Academy

Other coffee brewing devices - Bettr Barista Coffee Academy

We also had practical hands-on experience using different brewing equipment such as:  Clever and French Press. The teacher showed us how to brew using the Aeropress as well. Coffee-to-water ratio, grind size, brewing method, brewing equipment, water, and filter medium were the brewing elements required to produce a good, consistent cup of coffee.

Espresso station set up - Equipment and tools the Barista used everyday - Bettr Barista Coffee Academy

On day 2 I learned more on practical such as: setting up the station, preparing Espresso (knowing its parameters, understanding extraction, etc.), preparing Cappuccino and Latte including how to steam the milk and build the right type and level of foam for both beverages. There, I overcame my fear of using the steam wand and holding the milk jug when heating the milk.

With my training mate - Bettr Barista Coffee Academy

I also gained knowledge about the different name of equipment and tools in the Espresso station setup, parts in the coffee machine and doser grinder. We were taught how to calibrate, adjusting the  grind size of coffee bean so it could fall at the right Espresso parameter required (within 20-30 secs to yield 25-35 ml per shot). It was quite challenging though and wasted lots of coffee while calibrating. That's why each cup of specialty coffee was charged exorbitantly!!!

Standard Espresso drinks - Bettr Barista Coffee Academy

From the class I also had a better understanding the difference between Americano and Long Black; Espresso and Ristretto; and the difference among Cappuccino, Cafe Latte, Piccolo Latte, and Flat White, and so on. So from then onward I would be able to know what I order when I visit a specialty coffee cafe. And I would try many other espresso beverages other than Cappuccino :)

Beautiful Latte art - Bettr Barista Coffee Academy

Well, within 2 days don't expect me to produce such a beautiful latte art as per above picture. Hahaha... I even encountered problem during exam today when pouring the steamed milk into my Espresso cup :D Latte art was not included inside the course content. If you are interested to learn that, you may apply the 2-hour Barista lab course to hone that skill. There are many more other courses available and you can check their website if you are interested to know more about it.

For me this was a good skill and knowledge to learn and applicable to daily basis use. The next time I visit specialty coffee cafe, I would have higher expectation from the coffee that I paid and other extraordinary experience from the coffee.

The world largest Starbucks opened on 6 December in Shanghai, China (Pic source: Qz.com)

Yesterday China just opened the world largest Starbucks in Shanghai.

"Located in Shanghai, the new outlet measures 30,000 square feet (2,787 square meters) and is called the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Shanghai. It’s the company’s second such Roastery, with the first launching in Seattle in 2014. The Roastery stores mark the company’s attempt to move upscale and add variety to its existing chain.

The Shanghai store, which is twice the size of the Seattle Roastery, will offer coffee beans from over 30 countries that can be roasted on premise and then enjoyed by customers. Some of the beans are from China, like the Yunnan Reserve blend, which will be available only at the store. It will also include three bars where baristas prepare coffee in a variety of different ways (pour over, Chemex, Siphon, Clover), and pastries from Princi, a bakery with outlets in Milan and London." - Source: Qz.com

China, which used to have more traditional old generation tea drinkers, has attracted the younger (more wealthy) generation to change the habit into drinking the upscale specialty coffee like what Starbucks offered. Time has changed. Clocks keep ticking. We have to move on with the new trend and adapt to it. 

Live the life of your dream :) (Pic source: Google.com)

This new interest (visiting specialty coffee cafe) would be the add on to-do-list the next time I visit other countries - to see how far they have developed their interest in offering the specialty coffee cafe experience and to feel their unique difference. And who knows one day I can make my dream into the reality?? :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...