Yong Seng Coffee was founded by Mr Tay Yiong Theng (bottom right) who started his career in the coffee industry when he was 13, as a coffee stall assistant.
Though he was only in charge of taking orders and delivering drinks to customers, Mr Tay displayed a keen interest in how coffee was roasted and brewed. Recognising this, the stall owner gave him the opportunity to learn the art of Nanyang coffee roasting after a few years working at the coffee stall.
With the blessings of his former employer, Mr Tay started roasting and selling his own coffee in 1960. He would sell coffee in the morning, then hand roast his coffee in the afternoon. Back then, coffee was roasted in a wok over wood fire and extra care must be taken to control the fire.
Through trying times, rain and shine, Mr Tay persevered, determined to provide his customers with affordable, quality coffee. He eventually formally incorporated his business in 1974.
Fast forward to present times, though Mr Tay has left the operations of the business to the next generation, he still makes it a point to go down to the Tiong Bahru Market stall to say hello to old and new customers alike, while his brother runs the stall full-time.
Inspired by his entrepreneurial spirit, his son and grandson strive to carry on the legacy of Mr Tay, and take it to greater heights.
- Photo and video courtesy of RSM Singapore