THE aromatic scent of coffee, with its floral and nutty notes, wafts through the bustling atrium of 1 Utama Shopping Centre in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Its irresistible fragrance lures coffee enthusiasts like bee to honey to the many booths that are spread out around the 929 square metres of event floor space. Skilled baristas tempt those who pass with a free cup of java, much to their delight. And if you happen to like what you taste, you can easily purchase a pack to bring home.
This is the second year running for the Malaysia Coffee Fest, organised by CEMS Conference & Exhibition (Malaysia), the very same people behind the popular Cafe Asia exhibition that caters strictly to businesses and those in the caffeine industry.
“I believe that people, especially consumers, are more aware of what constitutes quality coffee and they appreciate higher quality products more nowadays. Many also seem to be slowly shunning the 3-in-1 soluble coffee and are going for specialty coffee beans instead,” shares Steven Tan, general manager of CEMS Conference & Exhibition when I finally get the chance to corner him for some insights.
In addition, he explains that consumers now have higher purchasing power and are more inclined to spend it on specialty and exotic coffee beans. “So, to have them interact directly with the coffee roasters and exhibitors I hope will somewhat help elevate the coffee industry in this country,” he says.
CAPTURING THE AUDIENCE
The consumer-based coffee event featured 96 coffee brands. Besides showcasing the best coffee in the country from established and up-and-coming roasters and cafes, in addition to a handful of tea brands, coffee fans were also treated to a rare showcase of creativity and skill in a cup from the Malaysia Open Latte Art Championship 2018 and the Malaysia Open Barista Championship 2018.
The inaugural Roastedly Open Drip Bag Coffee Championship saw the winner, Hong Kok Yin, walking away with RM15,000 in cash.