I’ve known about Toby’s Estate opening in Singapore a while back. I was highlighted to it by way of jimseven and then Deaton Pigot, who opened Toby’s Estate in New York. Blogging has its accolades. In fact, it was the 1st of only 2 coffee places I went to for job interviews.
Toby’s Estate Singapore opened its doors on 7th October to the public. The address is at 8 Rodyk Street #01-03/04, Singapore 238216. Toby’s Estate Singapore is fronted by Alvaro Sanchez as the head of operations (formerly from Boncafe and Society Group) and a relatively well-known coffee personality Suhaimie Sukiman, 2nd Runner Up, Singapore National Barista Championships 2010, 2011 (formerly from CuppaChoice) as the cafe manager. SNBC 2011,2010 #3 Suhaimie has brought along with him at Toby’s Estate quite a few other familiar faces as well. We have Terence Tan, Singapore National Barista Championships 2011 #4 (formerly from Joe & Dough), Nizam (from Black), and Andy (from Jewel and Starbucks).
As you enter the premises of Toby’s Estate, you are greeted by a huge wall mural depicting exactly what every Third Wave cafe is all about: nitpicking the coffee journey from the bean to the cup. A humungous Loring drum coffee roaster attached to a towering exhaust system lies on the right, and a much-humbled Probatino sample roaster is almost hidden alongside it. And almost akin to an army canteen, it’s space, space, space. And a very long bench. With a coffee tree growing out from the middle of the bench. On the left, there are nicely back-lit retail shelves with bags of roasted coffee, keepcups personalized with Toby’s Estate logo, Cafetto cleaning products for your coffee machines, Chemex brewers, entire lines of Hario products, Toby’s Estate tea and drinking chocolate. Despite the many jute bags of green coffee lying on the pallet by the side of the roaster, the air is very clean, for a sufferer of sinuses like me.
The espresso machine is a Kees Van Der Westen Mirage Triplette Classic. Alongside it, rests 1 of 2 Clover machines in Singapore. The 2 Clovers spent their history in Intelligentsia Coffee, and I’m quite sure along the way, Deaton had something to do with them being brought into Toby’s Estate Singapore. Toby’s Estate kept one of the Clovers, and sold the other to Loysel’s Toy. Good things are meant to be shared, it seems. Kudos to Toby’s Estate. There are 2 Mazzer Roburs here, along with a Mazzer Mini to grind decaf beans.
On espresso, Toby’s Estate Singapore is serving Rodyk Blend and Guatemala Antigua Los Volcanes. I had the Rodyk blend, but coming from the dentist, my mouth was numb and I tasted only brightness in the espresso. My 2nd cup was a Cafe De Colombia Cup of Excellence roasted by owner Toby Smith and made by Andy on a V60. I could taste distinct blackberries. The 3rd cup I had was a Brazil Fazenda Rainha made from a Clover by Nizam. Pecans came to mind as I sipped this very clean cup of Clover.
The CGSG core group was here today too, with the exception of Kai Seng. Steve, Adhe and Sam had espresso, cappuccino and a pour-over. Melvin and Diane had the Guatemala Las Volcanes from a clover and a Chemex. Floral, nutty, and sweet.
My take on Toby’s Estate is that their real gem lies in what Suhaimie calls The Slow Bar, thus named because coffee extraction on The Slow Bar would take longer than the 25 to 35 seconds it takes for an espresso-based drink. The Slow Bar looks like a science lab filled with Chemex flasks sitting atop digital weighing scales, Hario Syphons, a rare Clover machine, a Tiamo cold brewer, and a Vivreau water filtration system, with sparkling, still and hot water dispensers. The Vivreau system, as explained by Alvaro, supplies the entire line of coffee machines with filtered tap water. Customers can sit at The Slow Bar and marvel at the different processes coffee can be extracted to the eventual cup in front of you. There are power outlets every few meters and free wifi so customers can lounge with their devices. There is also alfresco tables outside should customers want to sit by the river.
My verdict: Clean. Comfort. Clover. Coffee. Coming back.