Hi Jiaqing! How do you like your coffee?
I’m pretty much an espresso type of guy. I love my double shots with plenty of body and fruity notes.
Can you walk us through how Joe Curious was started? What pushed you and your partners to come up with the concept?
Joe Curious was born out of our passion for quality coffee at home. All of us at Joe Curious are coffee enthusiasts and home-baristas for a long time now and we really enjoy café-hopping when we’re travelling. We’d often bring home bags of coffee beans from various overseas roasters to try and what amazed us was how every roaster had their own style of roasting which would bring out very different flavours in each coffee. This sparked the idea of creating a coffee subscription that would provide coffee lovers a chance to try coffees from different roasters all over the world each month at an affordable price.
Care to give us a crash course on how the subscription service works?
It’s really easy! Our subscription plans are all billed monthly and we send out a coffee bundle once a month, consisting of a bag of freshly roasted coffee beans that’s been rested for a week with a coffee card that tells the story of the roaster, why we picked this coffee and very detailed brewing parameters that are calibrated to bring out the best of the featured coffee. Users can pick from single, double or triple bags of coffee beans to suit their consumption habits.
How do you go about sourcing for the roasters? What are the top criteria that need to be met?
We have dedicated teammates who are always on the lookout for great coffee roasters and we will sample a variety of coffees, both espresso and filter roasts, before deciding on what’s the best and most interesting to feature. There is no easy way around this – we personally brew each coffee sample with various methods and parameters until we bring out the best flavours from the coffee. We are very particular about the quality of the beans and the roast, having rejected many roasters because their coffees were underdeveloped, unevenly roasted or the coffee didn’t produce a clean cup or desirable flavours.
Which roaster is featured this month and what's special about their coffee? What brewing method would you suggest for this one?
We are actually very excited to introduce this month’s roaster to our subscribers as they use beans grown in their very own country. Brave Roasters from Bangkok, Thailand was founded by three young individuals, all passionate about coffee. They are dedicated to improve the Thai coffee scene, and want to introduce Thai beans to the rest of the world. We personally love their espresso blend pulled as a double shot in a cappuccino and their filter coffee on a pourover or AeroPress.
Say someone wants to start enjoying good coffee at home, but doesn't know where to start — what easy brewing method would you suggest and why? Any other tips for them to take note of?
I’d definitely recommend starting with an AeroPress. This is by far the easiest method with little mess to clean up after. It is also very forgiving and consistently produces a great cup with lots of body, flavour and aroma. We have a step-by-step guide on our website with recommended brew ratios and steeping times, as well as more in-depth brewing parameters provided in our coffee card each month. For beginners, the most important factor to watch out for is the grind size and consistency. Get a good burr grinder and grind your coffee on demand. I’d also highly recommend to be as specific as possible by weighing your coffee and amount of water used for consistent results.
What are the absolute coffee drinking/brewing "don'ts" for you?
A huge no-no is to use pre-ground coffee. If you visit any respectable café, the coffee is always ground on demand when the barista is making your drink. This is because the flavours from the beans are lost within 20 minutes from grinding. I’ve seen people who invest lots of money in good machines but scrimp on the grinder and instead, use pre-ground coffee which is such a pity.
What are some of your favourite cafes in Singapore that consistently serves good coffee? What about overseas?
My personal favourites currently include Paddy Hills (love the Topsy-turvy blend supplied by Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee) and Populus Coffee (their iced latte is amazing). I also tasted one of the best espressos, a single origin Ethiopian Guji, in Manchester Press from Melbourne. Another favourite of mine was a random pop-up café in Edinburgh called Obadiah Coffee, which served a very delicious Ethiopian Rocko Mountain that tasted like berries and cream.
What's next for Joe Curious? Any new features/services to watch out for in the near future?
Lots of exciting stuff coming up actually! Watch out for new partnerships with local businesses and more equipment options for budding home baristas, including popular espresso machines, brewers and grinders.