Keith Loh: Coffee break with the best barista in Singapore

Keith Loh: Coffee break with the best barista in Singapore

CNNGo takes five with the winner of the Singapore National Barista Championship to find out the secret to his brewing, and business, success
Keith Loh (left) and John Ting of Oriole Café & Bar
Keith Loh (left) and John Ting of Oriole Café & Bar with their trophies from the SNBC.

Keith Loh, the publisher turned food entrepreneur, has been credited for creating the modish Whitebait & Kale at Camden (it closed in 2009) and, subsequently, Aerin at Raffles City as well as Bedrock Bar & Grill and Oriole Café & Bar at Pan Pacific Serviced Suites. At 36 years old, Keith recently topped the Singapore National Barista Championship and is on his way to participating in the World Barista Championship in London this April.

Before Keith packs off again, CNNGo gets the hunky barista to spill his secrets on making a perfect cuppa. 

Citrus Sin by Keith LohCitrus Sin, Keith's winning entry at the Pura Latte Art competition.CNNGo: You were a publisher before, why did you get your hands dirty in the highly competitive restaurant scene? 

Keith Loh: Yes I did start out in publishing years back, but as the saying goes, ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire!' Seriously, I've always wanted to learn how to wash dishes, to taste twenty dishes all at once, to put out kitchen fires, unclog grease traps, handle demanding customers, for example. Looking back eight years on, I just didn't have the time to ask 'why' but now that you made me think, it might be just the simple pleasure of making an honest living of providing a decent meal and drinks that makes me smile deep inside. In our group of restaurants, we serve an average of 1,000 customers a day. Being relevant to my customers and serving them what they want -- consistently and at the right value -- is what gives me the drive to keep going.

getting there

Oriole Café & Bar
96 Somerset Road, #01-01, Pan Pacific Serviced Suites, Singapore
tel +65 6238 8348
11.30am to 11pm daily. Last food order at 9.30pm.

Evelyn Chen traded her frequent flyer miles from her jet-setting corporate days for a critic's pen, and has been eating and drinking on the job ever since. She is a former Time Out food critic and current editor of Zagat Guide; her food and travel features have published in Destin Asian, Travel + Leisure SEA and Conde Nast Traveller. For a collection of her gourmet jaunts, visit

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