Sip Blog

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Humans of Sip: Interview with Ong Shi Chun from Candour Coffee

In the heart of Singaporeai??i??s Civic District lies Candour Coffee, a young independent cafe started by two long-time friends, Jet Goh and Ong Shi Chun. At first glance, Candour Coffee fits in perfectly with the lovely shophouses located along Beach Road, with its minimalistic and white interior.




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While it could be the cafeai??i??s appearance that draws you in, itai??i??s the lovingly handcrafted coffee and scrumptious food that will make you stay for more. In this instalment of Humans of Sip, we interview co-founder Shi Chun (also known as 'Scong' to his friends).




Why did you start Candour Coffee?

We started Candour Coffee to bring in beans from well known roasters in countries such as Australia and the UK and serve them in Singapore. We want to provide our customers with a selection of coffee not usually found locally, so they can try famous coffee roasters without having to fly there!


Whatai??i??s the story behind how you got into making coffee?

Back when I was getting my degree three years ago, I took up a part-time job at a cafe after a friendai??i??s recommendation. I was immediately trained to work as a barista, and that piqued my interest in specialty coffee. After graduation, I got a job in the IT sector but continued to help out at the cafe during the weekends. I came to realise my passion for coffee, and eventually decided to pursue it full-time.. No regrets so far!


http://efectividadhumana.com.co/?p=7506 Did you have other aspirations initially?

Well, Iai??i??ve been playing the trumpet since I was 7, so initially my dream was to be a professional musician! Iai??i??m fortunate to have the opportunity to play with a few jazz and indie bands occasionally.



A pour of hand brew.

Whatai??i??s the concept behind your cafe?

As we are both coffee aficionados, Jet (the co-founder) and I wanted to delight our customers with simple and unpretentious coffee. This refers to specialty coffee in its truest form, with no gimmicks involved. That is why we focus so much on hand brews. Our vision aligns with the name of our cafe too, as ai???candourai??i?? stands for being frank and honest.

We started out initially as a coffee and desserts cafe, however, one thing led to another and now we serve mains as well. In regards to the cafe interior, we went with a more sophisticated branding because we are located right in front of a nail salon.

(Fun fact: Shi Chun has received questions on whether his cafeai??i??s name was inspired by the movie ai???Divergentai??i??, the plot of which includes a faction named ai???Candorai??i??.)


How would you describe your regulars?

Sale colospa Our weekday clientele consist mostly of working professionals in the vicinity, travelers, and sometimes professionals or students who like to do their work at cafes (there are charging points at most of our seats)! There is also a surprising number of coffee enthusiasts and people from the coffee industry who visit us to try the coffees sourced from distant lands, or just to talk coffee. We are always super excited to share new coffees from different roasters!



Coffee bean packages from Square Mile Coffee Roasters in London.

Could you name some of the roasters where you source your coffee from?

For espressos, we regularly import them from Melbourne cafes, such as Market Lane Coffee, Dukes Coffee Roasters and Code Black Coffee Roasters.

Some of our current hand brews are given to us from friends. As our sources vary, we have a seasonal menu that changes all the time. We have such a large selection of beans to choose from and we want to recommend all of them!



A souvenir from Market Lane Coffee in Australia, including a handwritten note! (Image by Chen KS, www.kopiaddict.com)

Have you met any owners of the cafes you import from? How do they inspire you?

I met with a few cafe owners when I was in Melbourne last March. One of them who inspired me greatly was Jason Scheltus from Market Lane Coffee. I was impressed with his attention to details; from the quality of coffee to the people involved in the coffee process, which includes the farmers and his own customers.


Whatai??i??s on your current menu, and which drinks would you recommend?

We are currently using the Sweet Shop blend from Square Mile Coffee in London, which feature soft and juicy sweetness, even in the espresso. We want to dispel the misconception that coffee is mostly bitter, as some coffees can be sweet as long as they are brewed to their best potential.

Our flat white is highly recommended because it comes in a smaller cup, which provides a good balance of both coffee and milk. If you prefer having more milk, Iai??i??ll recommend getting a latte.



The flat white at Candour Coffee comes highly recommended! (Image by Candour Coffee)

How has running the cafe been like so far?

This is our first business venture, and hence weai??i??ve had a lot of hard lessons to learn from. Iai??i??d say that weai??i??ve been very fortunate, as weai??i??ve made a lot of friends in the industry who has helped us throughout our cafe journey, and even helped us to overcome some challenges. It makes me believe in the quote ai???Your network is your net worthai???.


Your co-founder, Jet, was your secondary schoolmate. How is working with a good friend like?

Working with a good friend definitely has its perks! There are lesser barriers between us when we communicate, and there is a sense of kinship when I work with good friends. This brings out the joy in work!

What plans do you have in the future for Candour Coffee?

We will continue to be active in the local coffee scene, and hopefully expand overseas as weai??i??d like to interact with the coffee industry there.

We are also looking to introduce different items to our menu. Keeping in theme as a coffee bar, we are currently experimenting with products like coffee cocktails, and food items that pair perfectly with the coffees we serve.




Candour Coffee
41 Beach Road
Singapore

Opening hours: 8am - 9pm (Monday to Friday), 10.30am - 7pm (Saturday and Sunday)


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