He has an enormous capacity for both his passion for coffee, and an even bigger heart in supporting social causes. And those are the main reasons he started his own cafe at Changi Road, just opposite Eunos MRT Station.
As the name suggests, the cafe has a distinctively black feel about it. Using furniture that has an old school kopitiam aura, Big Roy has cleverly spruced it up to make it more modernistic and cosy at the same time.
The space is limited, but you will never feel cramped when you are here. The selling point is his coffee, and Roy uses beans from a local micro-roaster. For now, there is only one house blend of Ethiopian and Columbian extract.
Over time, he intends to introduce more items, including a v60 filter coffee option that may appeal to serious coffee drinkers. Other than that, Black and Ink also carries a small selection of cakes and pastries sourced from micro-bakeries.
The first thing you will notice when you get your caffeine fix here is the striking glass cups that are used to hold the coffee. It is actually the Bodum Provina Double Wall Glass, which is more unique in its shape and in its function. Despite using glass cups, the twin layers of glass will ensure that it will not be hot when you pick up the glass of coffee. Classy and I love this attention to detail.
As for the coffee itself, it has a nice smooth and robust body that possesses just enough of an edge of acidity to balance the coffee aromatics. It is a coffee suitable for both heavy and light caffeine drinkers. As for the art, it is more than serviceable.
What may be more impressive is that Roy, the in-house barrister himself, only learnt how to pour coffee only in the beginning of the year. So, in a space of a couple of weeks, his latte art pouring skills is way beyond most cafe baristas that I have seen. Truly amazing and a talent.
|Green Tea and Carrot Cakes|
The cakes are reasonably priced, and though smaller in size, they do have their own signature look and taste about them. The carrot cake has been infused with some fresh cranberries which gives it a more fruity punch than the usual sugary rush that you will associate it with most carrot cakes.
The green tea slice is even better. There is a very calming tone from the familiar flavours of the green tea fragrance, which not only helps to cut through the sweetness, but eventually gives it a very grounded balance for a lovely finish.
|A Big Hearted Roy|
Big Roy will tower over almost anyone I know in Singapore, but he has a very calming presence when you get to sit and talk to him at length. He is very enthusiastic about his work, and his support for coffee plantations that have a social enterprise element can be both enlightening and educational.
In future, he hopes to get in social enterprise related staff to give more opportunities to the less fortunate. That alone will make me a most ardent supporter. As Roy himself admits, he is not doing this for the money, but for the passion and the opportunities that he hopes to generate for others.
Black and Ink may look small now, but like his physical stature, I think Big Roy with that big heart of his is destined for bigger things.
Black & Ink
168 Changi Road
Opposite Eunos MRT Station