THE GLOBE CAFE TRAVELLER
Savoring variant coffees of disparate roots. Promenading down the streets of different airs.. Globe-trotting to discover eccentric cafes she has craved so much for
By: Trina Tan
Most tourists travel for shopping, trekking, relaxing and sightseeing. Finding places brimming with crowds or food hunting in the capitals of designated countries are commonplace. Yet when it comes to Jovy Ng, these are the least of her concerns.
Cafe hopping in singapore can never contain the wild obsessions that has engulfed Jovy’s lifestyle. Seeking to satisfy her needs and wants, Jovy extended her hobby to global cafe hopping. At the age of 23, Jovy has started working and saving to support her addiction for coffees and cafes. Knowing how unique her travel experiences and interests are, Catch sat down with her to discover more.
Catch Online: Let’s start with the obvious question. You do love travelling, yes
Jovy: * laughs * I am enchanted by it. The only two things I am certain in life of is travelling and cafe coffee. Ask me to do anything else for the rest of my life, and I will be doomed.
Catch Online: Why and what is it about travelling that enchants you?
Jovy: Because Singapore is small. * laughs * Well, to me, the reason I travel is because of the exposure to different cultures. Being submerged into the delicate diversities of various cultures helps broaden my outlook on the world in an uncommon way. That is what revitalizes me each time I make trips to different countries.
Travelling freshens up your mind. It allows us to reboot and restore the energy we all have wasted on our aggravating lifestyles. But to me, it is more than just that. I feel that only through globe-trotting, can we then be able to perceive life with an openness. One of the common realisations I’ve noticed about most Singaporeans is the appreciation of the first-rate style of living we have. It really breaks my heart to see children and elderly living a meagre lifestyle, when we, Singaporeans, have overwhelming needs and wants of things we can choose to live independently from.
Catch Online : That is quite a perspective. Thanks for that. Is it true that you only look for cafes and coffees when travelling to different countries?
Jovy : (enough laughing) Yeah, I usually book my hotels near cafes. I always do my research on the popular or renowned cafes the designated countries has to offer. I can save on transport costs. There have been times when I travelled to a particular country just for the cafes that are situated there.
Catch Online: You don’t go shopping or check out the tourists spots famously known in the particular country?
Jovy: I don’t shop at all when I travel. * chuckles * I know it sounds ridiculous but I always find myself indulging in food, coffee and cafes. Jam packed areas are not my thing. I cannot walk in crowds. I think i am more of the kind of person who likes to take a stroll in different countries.
Catch Online : What is it about cafes that intrigues you so much?
Jovy: I guess it is because I was positively influenced by my workplace. I work as a barista at Sarnies Café. I wasn’t crazy about coffee back then before I joined. I guess, after having to survive on coffee for late night work and wee morning shifts, I have learnt to appreciate the coffee culture. Making trips around the world to unearth new cafes is probably the most satisfying pastime or experience I could ever give myself.
I am very captivated by the planning process, the manual process (what is this?) and the whole procedure of their coffee making. Also, the interior designs… How they brew or roast their beans… The type of coffee beans they purchase… This is the constant curiosity that I carry around with me wherever I travel.
Catch Online: Which countries have you been to for cafe hopping?
Jovy: I have been to Bali, Bangkok, Vietnam, Nepal and Australia. I am certain there are more but I just can’t think of it on the spot now. Well to be accurate, these are the countries with cafes that have made an impression on me. A majority of the cafes around the world are mostly laid back, they have this rustic feeling going on. The only differences between the cafes around the world are the interesting cultures they embed into their own coffee. Bali has these primitive themes for nearly all the cafes while Vietnam is home to a few cafes that possess rustic ambiences too with some other cafes maintaining their Vietnam-Chinese theme.
Balinese and Vietnamese cafes have these really eccentric coffee inventions that have confused my feelings towards their coffee. You can taste the essence of their culture in their coffee. For instance, in Vietnam, they have this egg coffee? I don’t know whether I liked it or not. But you can definitely tell it is a Vietnamese coffee if you have been exposed to their cuisines.
Bangkok and Australia both have unbelievably good coffees. Bangkok cafes are remarkable. They take great pride in the coffees they brew and serve. It may sound unusual but it is true. Coffee lovers like us are able to sense the pride the baristas have in their coffee from the taste of the coffee they serve. Australia is literally the heaven of coffee cafes to me. They have already etched a spot deep in my heart.
Back then when I headed down to Melbourne, I spotted streets lined with small cafes, the variety of cafes was inconceivable to me. Everyone was friendly and always down to elaborate the beans they roast, providing advice on the sort of coffee brew that suits your taste buds and where you can find them. The rustic ambience fusing with incredible service and brilliant food served are the main charms of Australia’s cafes. Till this day, I am love sick with Melbourne’s coffee.
Catch Online : What do you think of the cafes in Singapore?
Jovy : There are pretty good cafes in Singapore and already a spike in the growth of new cafes. But sad to say, it has become a trend for some new cafes in Singapore to put more focus on their interior design rather than the food and coffee they’re serving, which in fact defeats the purpose of a cafe. They try really hard to have their cafe be Instagram-worthy. Almost everything revolves around social media platforms now. Singaporean cafe food is actually overpriced compared to the cafes I hop to while travelling. There is still good coffee at cafes like Sarnies cafe and Strangers’ Reunion, but it would be great if more cafes put their focus on quality service and food, instead of their appearance.
Catch Online : If you were to choose one, coffee or travelling. Which would you choose?
Jovy : * laughs * Please don’t make me choose. I can’t live without either one of them. Erm… I think after all, I will choose travelling. I live to travel. I could never foresee myself being stuck in a country for a long period of time without a getaway. It is important to travel. Our Singaporean lifestyle really does require us to take a breather overseas from time to time.