Entrepreneurship in the Art of Coffeemaking

The air was rich with the smell of coffee. Grinders hummed and glass tinkled. From the windows, sunlight streamed through, and all at once everything inside was white, chocolate and gold.

The scene would have been complete if jazz music played overhead, but in the place of saxophones were the clear voices of instructors as they spoke to three groups of eager listeners. This was how 50 people spent their bright Sunday morning on the 1st of October.

IEEE USM Student Branch along with 50 eager coffee learners invaded Frank Laurent Coffee Roasters for the first time in Udini Square on the 1st October 2017.

Initiated by Simeon Yeoh, Founder of IEEE USM Student Branch and lead by Project Director Liew Shu Yan, IEEE USM Student Branch had successfully conducted Malaysia’s first ever Coffeepreneur (coffee + entrepreneur) event. The event was held in Frank Laurent Coffee Roasters in Udini Square, aptly on the same day as International Coffee Day.

Participants began arriving from 10 o’clock in the morning, instantly greeted by the warm smiles and handshakes from the organising committee. As soon as everyone was settled, the participants were divided into three groups to facilitate smoother learning across the three planned stations.

One of the participants is trying to learn the art of smelling based on the coffee’s source and variety.

On the first station, participants were exposed to different types of coffee beans. Stored in see-through jars, the beans were labelled accordingly based on source and variety. With names like El Salvador El Brasil Bourbon, India Thalanar and Ethiopio Shakiso, the participants were transported to the various regions of the world where renown coffee producers are located.
At this same station, two instructors also demonstrated coffeemaking technique: how to measure the beans and water for a perfect balanced cup, how to stir the coffee, and how to remove the residue from the surface of the coffee. With each step, it is emphasised how a different approach and method would not produce a cup of coffee that tasted the same, thus precision is of the essence.

One of the fun things about this Coffeepreneur is all the participants get to experience a hands-on journey on coffee brewing.

At the second station, participants are explained the various brewing methods involved in coffeemaking, from brewing using pressure to steeping to dripping and boiling. A demonstration of making a cup of coffee using a technique called the “pour over” was then shown, followed by a tasting session.

A “pour over” technique is also introduced and explained by the baristas of Frank Laurent Coffee Roasters.

The third and final station was arguably the favourite among the participants. More than 10 people craned their necks excitedly to get a peek at the shiny espresso machine humming as it brewed using pressure. One by one, the participants got the chance to step out of the group and hold the cup of freshly brewed coffee. The next step? Latte art.

Guided by the patient instructor, each enthusiastic participant learned to pour steamed milk into the shots of espresso, trying their best to replicate the shape of a heart they have so often seen in pretty Instagram photos. Smiling faces were all around as everyone successfully managed to achieve their goal, and phones were out as the social media-savvy participants snapped their own pretty photos. Everyone then happily guzzled down their hard work.

The barista from Frank Laurent Coffee Roasters showed the participants on the skills to make a perfect Latte art.

Detailed explanation accompanied by gestures gave our participants a deeper understanding about the nature and essence of Latte art.

In this way all three groups rotated around the three stations, and everyone got to try, learn and taste everything coffee.

At 1 o’clock in the afternoon, all groups had completed their rounds, and everyone gathered together with their stomachs content with rich coffee. A sharing session and Q & A session was then simultaneously conducted, with founder of the venue, Frank Laurent Coffee Roasters, Wen Zhe Ee, standing centre stage, sharing his story as an entrepreneur, such as building business branding and identity and facilitating a positive work environment.

After the excitement of trying their own Latte art, they can sip and taste their own hard work.

All in all, Malaysia’s first ever Coffeepreneur event conducted by IEEE USM Student Branch satisfied both the organising team and participants. In one bright day, 50 people were at once exposed to the splendid world of coffeemaking as well as the realities of having a humble dream come true. It was truly a well-spent Sunday morning.

The baristas of Frank Laurent Coffee Roasters are more than happy to show our participants the essential steps of coffee brewing.

Photo credits to Wilfred Tan.

About the Author

Valarie John is a Journalism major who prefers pencil over pen and paper over screen. Passionate in all things thought-provoking and unproductive, she hopes one day to become either a self-sufficient author or a dictator. Or both.

Email: valariejohn_95@hotmail.com

Tan Kwang Shean, or just Wilfred Tan, is an unprententious writer who loves to record his daily life in words. With some luck, he is now a Journalism major learning the art of writing and hoping to inspire someone someday.

Email: KwangShean@hotmail.com