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Humans of Sip: Interview with Casey Blanche from Oriole Coffee + Bar

Even if you donai??i??t drink specialty coffee, the name Oriole Coffee + Bar might still sound familiar to you. Hailed by journalists and food bloggers as one of the best cafes in Singapore, Oriole Coffee + Bar has amassed a loyal following in the years since its inception in 2008.

(All images in this article are by Oriole Coffee + Bar) Spying app, Phone spy.

Initially called Oriole Cafe + Bar, the coffeehouse served as one of the pioneers of Singaporeai??i??s third wave coffee movement. Founded by coffee maestro Mr Keith Loh, who won the Singapore Barista Championship in 2010, it was a product of his fervent passion for coffee and vision in creating a unique cafe experience.

The cafe dedicates themselves to serving the best coffee - their roasters make personal visits to coffee farms, talk to coffee growers and hand-pick their beans, before bringing them back to roast. The next time you visit Oriole Coffee + Bar, do drop by their Tasting Bar, where you can taste coffee samples and learn more about their origins.

This week, weai??i??ll find out more about Mr Casey Thomas Blanche, the Master Roaster of Oriole Coffee + Bar.

Can you share your story behind how you got into coffee making?

When I was a private investigator, I received a case in a small Texas town. While there, I walked into a coffee shop and ordered a cup of Sumatra, and it changed my life. As I had tasted only stale canned coffee before that, it felt as if I was transitioning from boxed wine to fine wine. I was thus hooked -- I fell in love with the product and had to know more, and consequently I pursued a career in coffee. Over the last 13 years, I worked my way up from barista to Master Roaster. I suppose the lesson here is that life is too short to drink bad coffee, and itai??i??s never too late to switch your career and follow your dreams.

What are some of the challenges youai??i??ve faced while learning to roast coffee?

Roasting coffee is as difficult or as easy as you make it. There are many coffee roasters that treat coffee as a commodity, not as a craft product. I take a ai???Jiro Dreams of Sushiai??? approach to roasting coffee -- I believe that coffee is a craft product that deserves respect, and that it requires years of experience to produce quality coffee. Although Iai??i??ve gone through an apprenticeship and attended classes on how to roast, Iai??i??m still learning something new every day. Thatai??i??s because I constantly experiment with my roasts, trying to unlock the flavour potential of each bean.

The cafe roasts their own beans, which they also sell under the brand Oriole Coffee Roasters.

How and when did you start working with Oriole Coffee + Bar?

I knew the original owner. When I found out that Oriole Coffee + Bar was looking for a Master Roaster, I applied for the position, and started working in Singapore in 2015.

Can you describe your roasting style?

Coffee trees are fruit trees, and good coffee tastes like fruit. I try to unlock the potential of each coffee, but I canai??i??t get too specific here as our methods and profiles are a trade secret!

Of all the coffees youai??i??ve roasted, which is your favourite?

My favourite is the Ethiopia Kebena Forest, which won 3rd place in Taste of Harvest 2016, 2nd place in Americaai??i??s Best Espresso 2016 and is a Good Food Awards winner of 2017. This coffee is grown wild in the remote Kebena forest of Southwestern Ethiopia, and is hands down the best coffee Iai??i??ve ever tasted. We offered this selection in 2016, and I traveled to Ethiopia in this year to secure more of it for our customers -- weai??i??ll be offering it this October!

Kalita brewing method.

How do you select where you source your coffee from?

There are many considering factors such as customer requests, quality, relationships, logistics, seasonality, ethics, and sustainability. Many of our offerings are selected by me at origin. By purchasing coffee at the source, we are able to acquire the best coffees in the world before other importers or roasters get to them. We can then use our relationships to help coffee growers improve their coffee quality and livelihoods, while securing our supply of exclusive coffees, harvest after harvest. I have relationships with coffee growing communities in every major coffee growing region. Cheap lady era reviews

Are there any memorable interactions that youai??i??ve had with coffee growers?

Most coffee is grown in the third world countries, so there are many heartbreaking moments I could share, but I will spare you. One of my most positive and memorable interactions was an international coffee forum I attended in Honduras. Coffee leaf rust has devastated Central and South America, causing many farmers to lose their livelihoods. The forum was paramount in finding a solution to the epidemic -- farmers took the information and techniques taught in the forum, and used it to stop the spread of the fungus!

The Taisho White, one of Oriole Coffee + Bar's most popular drinks. Named after the Taisho era of Japan, wherein iced coffee was popularized.

Which coffee on your menu would you recommend to someone who is a) feeling great, b) adventurous, and c) having a bad day?

For someone feeling great, I would recommend our Taisho White as itai??i??s easy to drink. For someone feeling adventurous, Iai??i??d recommend our hand-pour for them to explore new flavours! Lastly, for someone having a bad day, Iai??i??d recommend our double espresso to help them get motivated.

Youai??i??ve received training from some of the foremost experts in the coffee industry. Who has inspired you the most?

That would be Robert Hensley, from the Specialty Coffee Training Institute.

Yellow coffee cups. Did you know that the name ai???Orioleai??i?? was inspired by the yellow bird of the same name?

What is a day in your life like?

I wake up at 5am because my baby is crying, then I try to go back to sleep but am unable to. Hence, I browse the internet looking at tech news, coffee websites and luxury watches, and monitoring currency, gold, bitcoin or the stock market. Then, I eat breakfast at 7am, prepare for work, jump on the bus and roast from 8am to 5pm. After heading home from work, I shower, eat, and spend time with my family by watching our favourite shows: Impractical Jokers, Project Runway, Amazing Race and Face-Off. Before my son was born, I spent a lot of time trolling as Torbjorn on Overwatch. What plans do you have in the future for Oriole Coffee + Bar?

I see a lot of people drinking poor quality coffee in Asia and I would like to change that. I want to expand our outlets and wholesale offerings outside of Singapore, and introduce more people to the joy of specialty coffee.

Oriole Coffee + Bar @ Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Orchard
96 Somerset Road
#01-01 Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Orchard
Singapore 238163

Opening hours: 8am - 11pm (Sunday to Thursday, & PH), 8am - 12am (Friday, Saturday & Eve of PH)

Oriole Coffee + Bar @ Capitol Piazza
13 Stamford Rd
02-20/21 Capitol Piazza Neue
Singapore 178905

Opening hours: 10.30am - 9pm (Monday to Sunday)

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